High-Fiber Holy Crackers, Leviticus 2
Leviticus 2 is a recipe for high fiber, holy crackers. It describes the grain offering, and it calls for fine flour, a smear of oil, a generous portion of frankincense, a pinch of salt. Hold the honey and the leaven. Apparently, God prefers a salty, thin crust.
"When anyone brings a grain offering as an offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it and bring it to Aaron's sons the priests. And he shall take from it a handful of the fine flour and oil, with all of its frankincense, and the priest shall burn this as its memorial portion 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. "When you bring a grain offering baked in the oven as an offering, it shall be unleavened loaves of fine flour mixed with oil or unleavened wafers smeared with oil. And if your offering is a grain offering baked on a griddle, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mixed with oil. You shall break it in pieces and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering. And if your offering is a grain offering cooked in a pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil. 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.Leviticus 2:1-10
When we read a portion of Scripture like this, we ask a very pragmatic, westernized, Gentile question. So what am I supposed to get out of this?
You do it. You get nothing from it.
And that's a mentality that is foreign to us - maybe even offensive to us. Our idolatrous worship of the pragmatic is perhaps why we don't spend a lot of time in Biblical texts like Leviticus. It's not easy to see what we are supposed to get out of a passage like this..
Leviticus 2 may be hard for us to read, but it isn't hard to understand. As I said, it's God's recipe for holy crackers. They look to be grainy, salty and flavored with oil. They are high fiber, heart-healthy, and holy.
What's not to get?
But here's the rub.
They are for God. Not you.
Actually, God burns them up, and the priest gets to snack on the rest (Lev. 2:3). All the worshiper gets to do is make them.
And maybe that's the real reason this passage is hard for us to read. It crucifies pragmatism, self-centeredness, and this idolatrous question we ask of every spiritual discipline - what am I supposed to get out of this?
The grain offering is good because it mortifies the mentality of what's in it for me?
Devotional Junk Food
When was the last time you spent time in Scripture reading and prayer simply because it pleased God? Or is your "devotion" measured only by the "devotionals" that "feed you."
And since when did God deem us the keepers of what feeds us? I feed on Cheez-Its. I like them, a lot. They bring me pleasure. They taste much better than green beans. But Cheez-Its aren't a good nutritional choice.
I think a lot of what we are "fed" by is cheap, trite, spiritual junk. It makes us fat. It does not challenge us to listen and yield to God.
When was the last time you went to "church" not looking for what you got out of it, but just wanting to be there because it pleased the Lord?
When was the last time you brought God an offering (of worship, devotion, giving, serving, singing, or praise) for the sole purpose of just wanting to please Him?
When was the last time you read the Bible just because it's the Word of God?
God's recipe for the grain offering in Leviticus 2 reminds us that God is not wondering if you think His grainy, oily, salty, holy crackers are good. He's wondering if you're willing to pay attention to His recipe and take time to make them.
God isn't concerned about you reading through a devotional book that you think "feeds you." He desires that you be devoted to do what the Word of God says (James 1:22).
God isn't wondering what you got out of the sermon last Sunday. He's wondering how intentional you will be about holiness.
Time to Make Some Crackers
Making holy, high fiber crackers for God is about slowing down, paying attention to detail, and following the recipe. The grain offering is about obedience.
Notice that a major difference between the burnt offering and the grain offering is that the grain offering lacks blood. The grain offering isn't about forgiveness. Again, it's about obedience. It's not about what God does for you, but about something you can bake and bring to God.
The grain offering has one judge. It has one audience. It has one objective. Just do it because you want to please God. It's the essence of an offering.
Think about how transformative the mentality of the grain offering would be for Bible study/devotion. To read the Bible and pay attention to meticulous detail. To follow instructions. To be patient to wade through an entire passage of Scripture rather than being satisfied by the "verse of the day" that popped up on your devo app. To be more concerned with doing it than getting something out of it. How transformative would it be if our times with God were more concerned about what pleased Him (2:2) than what pleases us?
Instead of asking if you liked the service, why not wonder if I pleased God with my worship today? Is it a pleasing aroma to the Lord or did I just bring a box of half-baked crackers like I do most Sundays?
Leviticus 2 makes sure that we don't just "do" a devotional or "go" to worship, but that we give attention to becoming an offering.
Leviticus 2 takes time. It's preparation. The grain offering is just about following the recipe - doing what the Word says. The grain offering takes what you and I "want to get out of it" out of it.