“Worship is more than singing on Sunday. It’s the life we live the rest of the week.” As 20th Century Christians in the Western world, offering sacrifices on an altar is not exactly on our daily to-do list. The thought of preparing for the grain offering by spending hours a day stone-grinding grain is completely foreign to me. However, the Levitical law gives us a visual representation of how our lives are to be living sacrifices. As it says in Romans 12, our lives are to be holy and pleasing to God – this is our true spiritual act of worship.
In addition to seeing God as our Provider, the grain offering illustrates how we should worship Him. Even as New Testament believers, God is particular about how we approach Him. In the time of Moses, the Israelites “accessed” God through the tabernacles, sacrifices and the priests.
Since then, the veil in the Holy of Holies has been torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). Upon knowing Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts for eternity. Not only is there no more separation between us and the Father, but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob actually lives within us! The mere thought of God actually residing in the hearts of His people would have blown the mind of any Israelite in Moses’ day.
Unlike the Israelites, we are under the New Covenant, however, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Although the Levitical offerings are obsolete, He is still the object of our worship. Today, worship is using our God-given gifts to honor Him and to serve others on a daily basis, not just Sundays, because our lives are a living sacrifice unto God. The grain offering gives us several clues as to what our worship should look like.
Consistency in Worship
The grain offering was given after every burnt offering, which would have been every morning, every evening and three times on the Sabbath. As He did with the Israelites, God wants our worship to be consistent, a regular part of our lives. Going to church on Sunday is great but we should spend time each day in the Word in order to know Him better. Jen Wilkin said, “The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.” In studying His Word, we have a greater glimpse into the character and greatness of our God, who is so worthy of our praise.
In John 6:48, Jesus declared He was the bread (grain) of life. Just like we need daily physical nourishment, we need daily spiritual nourishment as well. We get that nourishment by spending time in His Word.
Imagine owning a car that requires gas every day. When we don’t fill up our tanks daily, we are simply running on fumes. I learned the hard way that I cannot worship God effectively if I am not spending consistent time in His Word and in prayer. Consistent worship requires a consistent relationship.
The grain offering differed from the burnt offering in that the Israelite making the sacrifice could actually play a role in offering the grain on the altar. (With the burnt offering, only the priests were allowed to place the animal on the altar.) The sacrificer could not add to the grain offering but was encouraged to participate in it. In other words, God never saw the efforts of the offerer as part of the actual sacrifice. The offering was the grain itself and that was a pleasing aroma to God. However, God wanted the individual to participate in the offering.
God reminds us in this special distinction that although we have nothing to give God of ourselves, He wants us to participate in worship. He gave the sacrificer freedom to offer the grain cooked, uncooked, in flour with oil, plain, etc. In today’s terms, you could offer the grain in the form of donuts, cookies, cinnamon rolls, etc.
God gave us freedom in worship, as we don’t all worship the same way or possess the same gifts. God takes joy in seeing us use our particular gifts and resources to praise Him.
As 1 Corinthians 10:31 states, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of the Lord.” Worship can be anything we do to bring honor to Him. I love painting furniture and writing and experience joy when I do these things for His glory.
My husband is a civil engineer and loves what he does. He actually enjoys listening to podcasts about new developments within his field. God wired Jeremy to enjoy His work and God takes pleasure in seeing that. How amazing is it that God takes joy in watching His children do the things He was created us to enjoy.
A Loose Grip
The Israelites knew that once they reached the hot, dry climate of Canaan, any crops would have been a result of God’s blessings, not the Israelites farming ability (or lack thereof). He was teaching them that there was nothing they could give God that didn’t first come from His Hand. Isn’t that the case with every blessing in life?
Everything that we own is ultimately from the Father and as it says in James 1:17 that “Every good and perfect gift comes from above.” Knowing that our every blessing comes from above, we have to hold our hands loosely, not clutching our talents, time and resources as to save for ourselves. Instead, we must willingly offer them to the Lord as an offering to Him.
In realizing our resources are ultimately God’s, we should give Him our best. Often we give our worn out old things to God while keeping the best for ourselves. True disciples are willing to sacrifice in order to follow Christ by becoming a living sacrifice.
Sacrificial worship is costly as represented by the expensive frankincense added to the grain offering. It’s true that while most Christians give, not all Christians give sacrificially, in such a way that we rely daily on Him to provide for our needs – for our “daily bread.”
As 20th Century Americans, this is not a familiar concept to us as we are surrounded by contingency plans. The Israelite farmers had to look to God for protection from drought, pests and so forth. From insurance policies to apps to find your phone, we are confined by margins of safety. There is nothing wrong with this lifestyle, but I believe we don’t trust in God, because often we don’t see our real need.
Being a woman God uses means worshiping in a way that honors Him. We learn most about sacrificial worship by the woman who cheerfully gave her last coins (Mk 12:42) and the woman who broke her alabaster jar of expensive perfume at the feet of Jesus. They saw the big picture – not only that the sacrifice they paid was well worth the price, but that God faithfully provides for His own.
I’d love any comments or feedback on today’s post about worship! Don’t miss the other two posts on Leviticus 1 and 2:
Next week will be quite a departure from Leviticus! I will show you how I made DIY curtain rods for every room in our home. 🙂
‘Til Next Time,