Read Leviticus 2
Focus on verse 8-10
The way we show gratitude is important, though possibly not as important as actually making the effort to be grateful. In our culture gratitude can be shown in numerous ways, from simply expressing it verbally by saying thank you, to giving a gift of some kind to express appreciation for a kindness experienced. That being said, it also seems to me that we see gratitude being expressed less frequently as we become an increasingly entitled culture.
In today’s reading Moses describes the grain offering that the people were to bring to the tabernacle. Where the burnt offering represented atonement for sin, the grain offering was a gift of gratitude to God. It was also the main source of sustenance for the priests and their families, since only a small portion of the grain was burnt on the alter to God, the remainder was for the priests and their families to eat. (See http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/grain-offering/ for more detailed background information regarding the grain offering)
And you shall bring the grain offering that is made of these things to the Lord, and when it is presented to the priest, he shall bring it to the altar.
And the priest shall take from the grain offering its memorial portion and burn this on the altar, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. But the rest of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the Lord’s food offerings. (v. 8-10)
There seem to be very specific rules regarding how each offering was to be handled.
These laws were to be kept meticulously and with the intention that they were to help the people of Israel remember their promise to be faithful in their worship of God. I have to admit it seems to me that when all these sacrifices are considered together, it would seem the people would have had little time to do anything else. The fire on the alter must have burned almost continuously. Perhaps some of God’s intention in keeping them busy bringing offering to the tabernacle was that it left the people less time to think of ways to get in trouble?
As I consider the sacrificial system and attempt to understand it, I am grateful for two things; first that Jesus sacrifice ended the need for us to continue to slaughter animals to atone for our sin, and more importantly that Jesus sacrifice paid once and for all for the sin of all humanity so that we can experience the joy and fulfillment of His gift of grace.