When anyone brings a grain offering as an offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it and bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests. And he shall take from it a handful of the fine flour and oil, with all of its frankincense, and the priest shall burn this as its memorial portion on the altar, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. But the rest of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the Lord’s food offerings. Leviticus 2:1-3 ESV
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?” Psalm 50:10-13 ESV
Through history and around the world, many people have worshipped false gods and goddesses. One thing they often do is offer food to them. Long ago a Roman man named Cato wrote a book about farming, and in this book he explained about all the gods who needed to receive offerings of food or wine. Some of the gods that had to be fed were Janus, Jupiter, Mars, and whatever god or goddess owned the grove of trees a farmer wanted to use. For example, if a farmer wanted to cut down some trees so he could use the land, he was supposed to sacrifice a pig to the god of the grove.
The true God is different, even though things might seem similar when we read about the food sacrifices he taught his people to offer him. God doesn’t get hungry, and he doesn’t need us to bring him any food. In fact, all the food in the world belongs to him, and he’s the one who gives it to us! So why did God ask his people to bring him the kind of sacrifice called the grain offering? The grain offering was meant to be food for the priests. God’s people would settle in the promised land and become farmers, but the priests would be busy leading worship in the tabernacle. So God, who would provide food for all his people on their farms, also provided food for his priests through the grain offerings. By sharing the food offered to him with his priests, God set them apart to do their work of serving him in a special way.
God also provides us with our food and all the things we need every day. The biggest need we have is for a Savior to forgive our sins, and God provided us with our Savior when he sent us Jesus. Jesus died so that we could be brought back to God. He also shares a special meal with his people, Holy Communion. In this meal Jesus gives his people himself in his Body and Blood. Jesus’ death on the cross and the meal he gives sets us apart to do whatever work God has for us to do.
Dear Jesus, thank you for giving us yourself to be our Savior, and for setting us apart to serve you. Amen.