Leviticus is a book of instructions: for the priests who would be leading the sons of Israel and offering sacrifices to the LORD; for Moses as he would be leading the people in the way they should go; and for the people as they would be following the leadership of the priests, of Moses, and most importantly, of God. The first several chapters deal with the types of offerings presented to the LORD.
First was the burnt offering. An animal was killed and given as a sacrifice, representing payment for the sins of the person bringing the animal. “‘And he shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf.'” ~ Leviticus 1:4. This was personal. The animal was giving its life in your place, for your sins. There were several acceptable kinds of animals, depending on what each family was able to give. When the family was extremely poor, a turtledove or young pigeon could be offered. (Luke 2:24 tells us this is what Joseph and Mary could afford- Jesus was not born into wealth.)
Jesus came as our Passover Lamb, but also to make atonement for us. “And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” ~ Romans 5:11 (KJV) We can stand before God, forgiven and redeemed by the blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, Who offered Himself in our place.
The next offering was the grain offering, a remembrance that God gave them their food and was worthy of their tribute. There were several acceptable variations- “‘of fine flour, and he shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it.'” ~ Leviticus 2:1b. It could also be “‘baked in an oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers spread with oil. And if your offering is a grain offering made on the griddle, it shall be of fine flour, unleavened, mixed with oil; you shall break it into bits, and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering. Now if your offering is a grain offering made in a pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.'” ~ Leviticus 2:4-7. “‘Also if you bring a grain offering of early ripened things to the LORD, you shall bring fresh heads of grain roasted in the fire, grits of new growth, for the grain offering of your early ripened things. You shall then put oil on it and lay incense on it; it is a grain offering.'” ~ Leviticus 2:14-15. Again, God gave them options, perhaps dependent upon available ingredients and even cooking skills.
No leaven was allowed in the grain offering, nor any honey (Leviticus 2:11). However, “‘Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.'” ~ Leviticus 2:13.
Salt. It preserves, and it flavors. It was also expensive. Charles Spurgeon said this about this passage: “By which was meant that it was an unchangeable, incorruptible covenant, which would endure as salt makes a thing to endure, so that it is not liable to putrefy or corrupt.”
God wanted them to remember that He made a lasting, pure, incorruptible covenant with them. He doesn’t change or go back on His word. Ever. He is faithful. Always.
We are called to be salt in this world (Mark 9:49-50, Matthew 5:13) and to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.” ~ Romans 12:1 (KJV)
Let’s live salty, sacrificial lives! 🙂 And remember God’s faithfulness. Always.