SOAP Journal – 01 February 2017 (Leviticus 3:16-17)

The priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar [as] food, an offering by fire for a soothing aroma; all fat is the LORDS. It is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall not eat any fat or any blood.

Leviticus 3:16-17

As God hands down the rules about the peace offering, He includes this morning’s verses as a note at the end. The peace offerings all involve taking the fat and some of the organs that filter waste — the kidneys and the liver — and burning them on the altar.

There are some practical reasons that seem likely to me: cholesterol from fat; diseases contained in the blood; the ease of burning fat (anyone who has started a barbecue grease fire knows how easy it burns); the need for and likely lack of proper handling when dealing with organs like liver and kidney as potential foodstuffs. We have issues with food-borne illnesses today and we know far more about safe handling practices (and we have refrigeration). So it seems likely to me that some portion of this had to do with just keeping people safe from bad food handling.

There are symbolic reasons, too. Blood, as will be covered later in Leviticus, is synonymous with the life of the creature (Leviticus 17:11). The blood; the life was to be poured out as atonement. And fat was a metaphor for the best things and for abundance. God was saying, in essence, that life and blessing are His and we are to offer both our lives and the best of them; the abundance of those lives back to Him.

This jives pretty well with later passages like the one in which Jesus says — my paraphrase, here — that those who try to save their lives will lose them and those who give their lives to God will gain them.

This brings me to the question of whether or not I am offering God both my life and the best of that life. Am I offering back to Him all I am and all I have or am I withholding?

Thank You, Father, for this life and the blessings with which You have filled it.As the hymn says, “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.” Please let my life and all the richness You have poured into it be poured back out as an offering to You.

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