The Hebrew title for the book of Leviticus is wayyiqra’, meaning “And He called” — these are the first words of Leviticus 1: “The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting”. The book of Leviticus details God’s calling to Moses regarding instructions for worshiping and living in a holy manner. Without the reparations and cleansing described in the early chapters of Leviticus, God’s presence would be driven out from among his people due to His perfect nature that is completely incompatible with the presence of sin.
In this context, the sacrificial offerings are especially striking when considered as foreshadowing pointing ahead to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross; as the blood of perfect bulls, rams, and birds cleansed the Tabernacle and allowed for God’s continued presence within it, so the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice allows for God’s holy presence within us today (His modern dwelling place among His people).
Five main offerings are described at the beginning of Leviticus including the burnt offering, grain offering, fellowship offering, sin offering, and guilt offering. The fellowship offering described in Chapter 3, sometimes translated as the “peace offering”, serves to illustrate peace between God and man. God called his people to voluntarily ‘let go’ of an animal in their care without defect (undoubtedly prized possessions in this early agricultural society) in return for fellowship with God resulting in an inner peace unattainable through worldly possessions. What types of things are we chasing or anticipating to give us inner peace and ‘wholeness’ apart from that which comes from fellowship with God? What may God be calling us to ‘let go’ of?
Thank you for Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross, the blood of which cleanses us so that we can experience your holy presence. Please remind us that you alone will ‘keep us in perfect peace’ (Isaiah 26:3) through fellowship with you. Search our hearts and help us to recognize those things that may hinder peace between us and give us the strength to let go.