February 7 | Daily Devotion

February 7 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“When anyone among you brings an offering to the Lord, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock”¦You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you.” ~Leviticus 1:2, 4

The format of Leviticus is easier to understand if you keep in mind that it is one part of a five-chapter book. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy comprise a single text often referred to as “The Law.” (The Hebrew word is Torah). Leviticus is the part of the story wherein God describes the worship rituals led by the Levites.

Sacrifice was an ancient form of worship for many pagan religions, but God re-crafted the familiar practice in order to shape the life of His worshipping community. The Old Testament prescribed 5 major types of sacrifices. The first three are the subject of today’s Lectio Continua reading: 1) The Whole Offering or Burnt Offering, so named because the entire offering was consumed by fire, was an expression of entire devotion to God. 2) The Grain Offering, given from one’s increase, was an expression of gratitude for God’s provision and acknowledged Him as the Giver of all things. And, 3) the Peace Offering or Fellowship Offering was an expression of praise for a special blessing. The Fellowship Offering was shared on a peaceful, even festive, occasion with God and the priest (thus the word “fellowship”). It was like throwing a party with your pastor and your friends to celebrate your new job, or the birth of a child, or God’s special deliverance.

It might seem that there is no modern application to be made from these ancient practices, but that is not true. Sacrifice is as much a part of our worship as ever, albeit with a few twists. Perhaps the most striking difference is that we present ourselves as a whole offering. God wants us to give our entire lives to Him as a “living sacrifice;” this is pleasing to Him (Rom. 12:1-2). Perhaps today is the day that you will begin to make this offering in prayer and practice.

The Grain Offering should also be familiar to us in its modern form. God still wants us to acknowledge Him as the Giver of all things by returning a portion of what He has provided. The next time you give, remember to thank Him for all that He has placed in your hands. And finally, God wants us to remember Him in the good times (not just the bad times). The Fellowship Offering is no longer a mandate, but it’s still a reminder to celebrate our blessings. When God does something especially good on your behalf, throw a party in His honor and brag on Him or give a special offering for the glory of His name! There’s going to be a big party when Christ comes, but we don’t have to wait until then to celebrate God’s goodness!

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.