A Token of My Love
We have been looking at the different Levitical sacrifices these past months, and we have seen that though there is no temple today, these sacrifices are still being offered, or should be offered, in the lives of believers. We have looked at the peace offering, the grain offering, the guilt offering, and this month we are going to look at the burnt offering. You could say that this is the love offering. We celebrate Valentine's Day and we give valentines as tokens of our love for each other. Well, the burnt offering is just like that Valentine. Let's take a closer look.
The Burnt Offering
The burnt offering was called the korban olah, which means "the sacrifice that rises." As we know, a sacrifice was for the purpose of drawing near to God, and the burnt offering was for the sole purpose of just that. Like every sacrifice, the animal was to be without defect or blemish. It had to be the best of the flock. This is why it was an outward sign of one's love and devotion to God because when a person offered a burnt offering, he offered it as an act of surrender to God. Unlike the other offerings, this offering was totally burnt up and there was nothing for the offerer like there was with the peace offering or grain offering, which allowed the offerer to partake of the offering. So because of this, the smoke from the sacrifice went straight up, as to heaven, as a sweet sacrifice to the Lord. We give gifts to those we love and we don't mind what we spend for those gifts because we love them and we give to them with great joy, and we wait to see their faces when they receive them. So too the Jewish people came with songs of praise unto the house of the Lord. It was a time of communion, a time of worship, a time for one to not only give thanks but to act out his faith and trust in God that not only will his sacrifice be accepted, but that God would meet his needs; after all, he was giving God the best of his herd for no other reason than the fact that he loved God.
This Can't Be for Me
It was known that God-fearing Gentiles also offered such offerings to the God of Israel. So that leads us to today and to believers in the One true living God of Israel. How much do we love God? How do we show it? Well, Romans 12:1-2, for one, tells us, "I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your service of worship and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." 1 Peter 2:5 tells us, "You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Messiah Yeshua (Jesus)." Hebrews 13:16 tells us, "And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Yeshua tells us, "If you love me, then keep My commandments" (John 14:15, 21, 23, 1 John 5:3).
These are just a few; so now ask yourself, "How much do I love God?" Is it enough to forsake all and follow him? Valentines will become old and someday thrown away, but how about your love? Is it still fresh and new? Is it still binding and true? Maybe you need to bring the Lord a new burnt offering, renewing your commitment, love, and devotion. Maybe you need to get back on the altar and continue being that living sacrifice for the one you truly love.