Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Meat Offering

Leviticus 2:1-16

“And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon: And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.” (Leviticus 2:1-3) 

The words ‘meat offering’ simply means a food offering.   It was to be of finely ground flour as compared to coarsely ground meal and have fresh olive oil poured on it, and frankincense placed on it.  Finely ground flour takes far more effort to produce than just  crushing the grain for meal, and was usually reserved for the most important people.  It was a mark of respect to use the fine flour.

When we first moved to the reservation, most Navajos were very poor, eating only one meal a day, often nothing more than a piece of fry bread and a cup of coffee.  When they had the money, they cooked the fry bread in grease, greatly increasing the nutritional value of the bread.  If they lacked the money, they cooked it as a tortilla, with far less energy value.   The olive oil served the same purpose, greatly enhancing the food value of the flour.

Frankinscense was dreid sap from certain trees.  When heated, it gives of a pleasant odor, and when used in food imparts a pleasant taste.  It  was and still is used for treatment of various illnesses by Chinese and other traditional medicines, and has always been quite expensive.  It was the kind of thing a person would set before an important or highly respected guest, of the best one had.  Once again this is an offering of thanks giving.

“And if thou bring an oblation of a meat offering baken in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil. 

And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in a pan, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil.  Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon: it is a meat offering. 

And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in the fryingpan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.” (Leviticus 2:4-7) 

The offering could be given in what ever form the giver chose to give it.  It could take the form of unleavened cakes with the oil mixed in or like crackers with oil poured over them.  It could be baked in and oven or cooked like a tortilla, or even brought as raw flour ready to be used.  It was up to the person how they wanted to present it to God.

“And thou shalt bring the meat offering that is made of these things unto the LORD: and when it is presented unto the priest, he shall bring it unto the altar.  And the priest shall take from the meat offering a memorial thereof, and shall burn it upon the altar: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.  And that which is left of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.” (Leviticus 2:8-10)

The offering was to be brought to the priest to offer to the Lord.  He was to take a portion of the offering and burn it on the altar for a sweet smell to God.  The rest was to be given to the priests for their food.  It was considered holy and was not to be consumed by any but the priests.

"No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the LORD, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the LORD made by fire.” (Leviticus 2:11) 

Leaven, whether yeast, sour dough, or baking powder is an impurity added to the dough to cause the development of gases that cause the bread to rise.  What was presented to God could have no impurities.

Traditionally, leaven is viewed as a picture or representative for sin.  The flour traditionally represents the human being, while the olive oil traditionally represents the Holy Spirit.  The frankincense which went with it traditionally represents prayer.  Thus the meat offering represents a person who is anointed with the Holy Spirit voluntarily and prayerfully presenting himself to God to be used for God’s work  

“As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the LORD: but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour.” ( Leviticus 2:12)

While the offering of the first fruits was an offering of food as well, it was a required offering.  As such it was not indicative of love, and was not to be burned as a sweet smell to God.  It will be dealt with later in the book.

“And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” (Leviticus 2:13)

Every meat offering was to be seasoned with salt.  No meat offering was acceptable without it.  It is vital to human life for the regulation of several functions including the proper production of stomach acid.  Doctors are becoming concerned that the emphasis on low salt diets to limit sodium intake to reduce blood pressure may be having serious side effects because people don’t get enough salt, while excess sodium comes from various food additives.   Salt also serves as a food preservative, absorbing water and preventing the growth of pathogens.

“And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto the LORD, thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.  And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon: it is a meat offering.  And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.” (Leviticus 2:14-16)

The food offering could also consist of whole parched grain, whether in the head or after it had been threshed.  It still was to have oil put on it and be offered with incense avter threshing if needed, and still served as a demonstration of love.

1 comment:

  1. In this world where good is labeled as evil and vice versa, it's not surprising that salt is now considered bad, when in fact (in moderation) it is necessary for life. We should continue to be the salt of the earth, regardless of the "political correctness." Thanks for the great post & God bless,