Friday, July 28, 2023

2023.07.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Leviticus 2

Read Leviticus 2

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Leviticus 2:1 begin regulating? What should this “tribute” (more literal than NKJ’s “grain”) begin with? What shall he pour on it and put on it? To whom shall he bring it (Leviticus 2:2)? What is the priest to do? What is the result of burning it? Who gets the part that isn’t burned (Leviticus 2:3)? What is the degree of its specialness? How else might this tribute offering be brought (Leviticus 2:4)? What sort of cakes? How else (Leviticus 2:5)? What sort of pan bread? How should it be presented (Leviticus 2:6)? How else might the tribute offering be brought (Leviticus 2:7)? What must they make sure about it? To Whom are they to bring such offerings (Leviticus 2:8)? To whom must it be presented that he should bring it where? What should the priest take (Leviticus 2:9)? What should they do with it? What does it become? How does YHWH receive it? What do they do of what is left (Leviticus 2:10)? What is the degree of its specialness? What two things must not be included in any of these tribute offerings (Leviticus 2:11)? What is different about the requirements if the tribute is of the first fruits (Leviticus 2:12)? What must be included in every tribute offering (Leviticus 2:13)? What else must be done if the tribute offering is the first-fruits (Leviticus 2:14)? What are they to do with it (Leviticus 2:15)? What must the e priest do with it (Leviticus 2:16)? What does it become?

What should a worshiper bring to the King as he ascends to Him? Leviticus 2 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these sixteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that as a worshiper ascends to the LORD, he must bring with him the commanded tribute as an indication of being His subject. 

After the ascension (Leviticus 1:3–17), the next offering made by fire is the “tribute.” That is a more literal translation of the word behind NKJ’s “grain offering” (Leviticus 2:1Leviticus 2:3Leviticus 2:4Leviticus 2:6Leviticus 2:7Leviticus 2:8Leviticus 2:9Leviticus 2:10Leviticus 2:11Leviticus 2:13Leviticus 2:14Leviticus 2:15). A tribute, or gift, is brought by the lesser one to the greater one. It is an acknowledgement that it is a mercy and honor just to be permitted into the other’s presence. Obviously, the greater one does not need anything from the lesser one. Much less does the living God need bread!

Everything in Leviticus 2:2 aims at making the offering by fire into a sweet aroma. The finest flour is used. Oil has recently been used to set things apart as holy (cf. Exodus 30:25–28). Frankincense is (as the name implies) an incense, a substance whose purpose is to produce a pleasing aroma by way of fire.

There’s a handful that gets burned (Leviticus 2:2), and the rest is (literally) “the Holy of holies” (Leviticus 2:3). Only Aaron’s house is permitted into the holy place, and only Aaron himself into the holy of holies. The tribute goes to the holy household; it cannot be shared with those who are not consecrated for it.

In addition to this uncooked tribute, the tribute can come cooked in one of several ways: oven (Leviticus 2:4), griddle (Leviticus 2:5), or pan (Leviticus 2:7). What cannot be done in the cooking is the addition of yeast or honey (Leviticus 2:11). And first-fruits are not to be cooked at all (Leviticus 2:12). 

But all must be offered with salt (Leviticus 2:13), which has the opposite effect of the yeast or the honey. It slows down fermentation or putrefaction. The salt is specifically called “the salt of the covenant” because it is the covenant that keeps the people holy; God keeps His people holy, consecrated to Him, separated from the world. 

Leviticus 2:14-16 pick up where Leviticus 2:12 left off, with the offering of the first-fruits. The fresh heads of grain are not ground into flour and cooked but roasted in the full heads (Leviticus 2:15). These, too, the priest burns a memorial portion that goes up to the Lord. 

YHWH sets the terms of the tribute because He is the greater One. They belong to Him. He has given them all that they have. Now, when they ascend to Him with the ascension (Leviticus 1:3–17), they must bring with them also tribute that will become smoke (“offering made by fire” in Leviticus 2:3Leviticus 2:9Leviticus 2:10Leviticus 2:11Leviticus 2:16) and go up. Not all of it goes up; much of it, indeed, actually stays with the priesthood whom the Lord employs in bringing the people near. But the focus is on what goes up.

Today, our Lord Jesus has gone on our behalf into the Holy of Holies in glory. He is our great tribute. It is He Whom we bring, in the hand of faith, as we ascend to the Lord in Him (Who is also our ascension, cf. Leviticus 1:3–17). There is still a principle of taking care of the material needs of those through whom He ministers to us on earth. But He is our great tribute. There is nothing else that will please God as He does; we must never come to God without Him. And if we are coming to God with Him, let us see to it that we bring no leaven of sin, but always bring the salt of the covenant that is righteousness.

To Whom do you belong? From Whom have you received all that you have? What can you bring Him as tribute that will actually reach Him and actually please Him?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for taking us to be Your very own and giving to us all that we have. Thank You especially for giving Your Son, our Lord Jesus, to be the Bread of Life, Who has come down from heaven for us. And Who now has ascended in our behalf as well. Grant that Your Spirit would always remind our hearts that we cannot appear before You without Him. And grant that we would only ever appear with Him “in-hand” by faith, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly I Am with You” or TPH73C “In Sweet Communion, Lord, with Thee”

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