Set Before God - Leviticus 1:1-3:17

1.      How would you describe the attitudes and actions of a person who is devoted to a particular entity, that is; a person, group or goal? (A person’s devotion is evident through their actions and level of commitment to the entity they worship. For example, I know people who are “committed” to sports and nothing gets in their way of attending or watching sporting events! Would that professing Christians were as committed to God!)

2.      Where is the focus of true worship of God? (True worship of God is not centered on the worshiper; it is focused on God, His holiness, His grace, His mercy, His provision, etc.)

God designed and put the tabernacle in place to create a space to be near His people and for them to be Him and sense His presence! Through their sacrificial offerings for their sin the people would be reconciled to God and have fellowship with Him.

 

Last week we saw the completion of the tabernacle. Now God gave Moses specifics about the sacrifices that were to be offered. While Exodus describes how God set His people free, Leviticus describes how His redeemed people are to live. Both books remind us that our great God is not only interested in our freedom (Exodus), but He is also interested in how we live once set free (Leviticus). What was true for the Israelites then is also true for us today. Once we are set free from the power of sin, God is interested in how we live!

 

Chapters 1-7 of Leviticus provided the manual of instructions for the five main offerings the Israelites were to bring to approach God, to have their sins covered, and to be at one with God and others.

They are: The Burnt Offering; The Grain Offering; The Fellowship Offering; The Sin Offering; and The Guilt Offering! We need to emphasize the fact that these sacrifices only “covered” their sin; only the blood of Jesus can wash away our sin!

 

The Burnt Offering! Read Leviticus 1:1-9

 

Notice that God is speaking to Moses at the Tabernacle now not on the mountain!

1.      What does the quality of the offering reveal about the one offering it?

2.      Why must the person bringing the sacrifice place their hands on the head of the animal before making the sacrifice? (Their sins were symbolically laid on the animal therefore the animal would die in his place.)

3.      How would you define the word “atonement”? (In the Old Testament, atonement refers to the process God established whereby humans could make an offering to God to restore fellowship with God. When a person knowingly or unknowingly sinned they were required to bring a sacrifice to God to restore their fellowship. One day each year the High Priest sacrificed an animal for his sin and the sins of the people. This was on the Day of Atonement [see Lev. 16]. He entered the Holy of Holies and sprinkled the blood on the Ark of the Covenant!)

There are two other words closely associated with “atonement”. They are “expiation” and “propitiation”.

Propitiation is appeasing an angry God because we have sinned.  (1 John 2:1-2)

Expiation is removing the barrier that sin creates.

Atonement, propitiation and expiation are all related to reconciliation.

Jesus atoned for our sin! He is the propitiation for our sin! Through His sacrifice on the cross expiation for our sin was accomplished and those who believe in Jesus have been reconciled back to God!

4.      Read Leviticus 16:30. What words describe any emotions this verse brings to you?

5.       How was God’s provision for the burnt offering to atone for sin and its protocols merciful and protective? (God made provision to deal with the people’s sin and allow relationship with Him to happen.)

6.      In what ways did God show grace to the people? (In His kindness God took the guesswork out of the people’s efforts to worship Him. He is never cruel.  We don’t have to wonder what we must do to be right with God! It is only through Jesus.)

7.      How would having to regularly kill an animal to atone for your sins affect the way you view your sins? (Atonement required dealing with the sin of every person in Israel individually and corporately.)

8.      Would it change the way you understand or relate to Jesus’ death on the cross? (The unblemished lamb was the standard for a worthy sacrifice, the most costly and valuable offering possible.)

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, as a payment for our sins, was once for all. Unlike the Old Testament sacrifices, His sacrifice would never need to be repeated.

 

With the burnt offering that atoned for the people’s sins, God showed that sin was a serious matter. An acceptable sacrifice was required to pay for the sin. Next we will look at a different offering—the grain offering

The Grain Offering! Read Leviticus 2:1-3

 

The Grain Offering could be brought any time to the Lord but the “First-fruits Offering” was a special kind of grain offering. This offering was, at least in part, how the priests were provided for!

1.      How is an offering an act of gratitude to God?

2.      How does offering our entire lives to God (Rom. 12:1-2) relate to our gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice for our sin?

3.      What are some things you are thankful to God for?

4.      How can we intentionally show gratitude to God through our words and actions?

5.      How does gratitude affect our worship? (In Psalm 100, thanksgiving and praise are woven together. A heart full of gratitude is sensitive to the Lord.)

Being grateful is an attractive quality. People want to be in community with someone who has a grateful spirit. Just as a complaining attitude can poison the atmosphere in the body of believers, gratitude can sweeten it. Gratitude to God affects our worship individually and corporately. After a leader has been in his or her position for a good amount of time the group begins to take on the outlook of their leader. Be a positive influence!

The grain offering was the people’s way of saying thanks to God for all of His provisions. The third and last offering we will explore today is the offering that represented peace with God—the fellowship offering.

The Fellowship Offering! Read Leviticus 3:1-5

 

After the portions that were to be offered to the Lord were burned the rest was roasted over the fire and the worshiper and the priests would eat it before the Lord to celebrate God’s blessings.

1.      How does the idea of the fellowship offering compliment the previous offerings for atonement and gratitude? (Through worship, God has taught His people multiple aspects of His character, including that we are all made in His image. True fellowship is possible when the relationship is on right terms and there is deep appreciation for the other.)

2.      How does the fellowship offering symbolize the relationship between the worshiper and God? (The fellowship offering demonstrated the intention of God dwelling with His people through the picture of a meal eaten together. Fellowship suggests safe company, time spent sharing, and joy in being together. This type of relationship with our Holy God is possible through Jesus!)

3.      This offering is sometime called the Peace Offering. How would you describe what it means to be at peace with God?

Today we enjoy the confidence and assurance of knowing that through our faith in Jesus, we can have peace and fellowship with God!

Summarize and Challenge!

1.      We don’t present burnt, grain, or fellowship offerings to God today, so how can we show Him our love and devotion?

2.      How do you remain mindful of Christ as the fulfillment of our atonement, devotion, and fellowship?

3.      How can we make Jesus the “Focal Point” in our lives so that everyone who looks at us will be drawn to Him?

Pray that we offer our best to God!