Book of Leviticus Chapter Two Commentary by
Pastor Ron Beckham
The Bread Of Life
Why do we thank the Lord for our food? Because He is the One who enabled us to obtain it. He "fashioned" our bodies and our abilities, as in Psalm 139:13-16. We might think that what we have is through work and income, but it was the Lord who made us able to acquire it. The question is asked: What do we really NEED in life? Gold, silver and money are just rocks and paper, and are actually insignificant because it is the Lord who gives us—everything that's important. Money isn't nutritious. In Chapter 1, the sacrifice was an animal, a remembrance that most people are dependent on meat for food. Another important food source is from various types of vegetation, represented by the "grain offering" of Chapter 2, Verse 1: "Now when anyone presents a grain offering as an offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour, and he shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it." The "oil" represents the Holy Spirit, relating the oil of sacrifice to God's Holy Spirit in Zechariah 4:2-6. "Frankincense" is used as a type of incense and was the fragrant substance presented to the baby Jesus by the Magi in Matthew 2:11, a gift for a king. And remember the words of Jesus in John 6:48 as we read this chapter in Leviticus—"I am the bread of life."
Part of the reason for this voluntary sacrifice was so the priests would have food to eat. To be ordained is to take a vow of poverty, humbly depending on offerings in order to live, as in Verses 2-3: "He shall then bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests; and shall take from it his handful of its fine flour and of its oil with all of its frankincense. And the priest shall offer it up in smoke as its memorial portion on the altar, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the Lord. The remainder of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons: a thing most holy, of the offerings to the Lord by fire." If burning up some of the flour seems wasteful, consider that everything belongs to the Lord. If you are called upon by God to give up something or someone dear to you, how will you respond?
I like to cook and I also like to drink tea. When preparing grain products I often add leavening and my steeped loose tea has a sweetener added before I drink it. To include such substances is not good or bad in itself; instead we are to understand that the sacrifice of unleavened bread is a parable, alerting us to the nature of the Messiah, the Christ who was to come. Our High Priest is and always was without anything added. He is pure. Hebrews 7:26-27 reports about Him—Our "High Priest...is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners...who does not need daily as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself." That's what Verse 4 of this chapter in Leviticus pictures: "Now when you bring an offering of a grain offering baked in an oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers spread with oil." Jesus IS the sacrifice pictured in these verses. We are to see the utter holiness of the Sacrifice that has been offered for us.
The offering of these verses was the Hebrew "minchah," the gift of an inferior to a superior, and we can recall Jesus' words in Matthew 11:29—"I am meek and humble in heart." He, our King, became our Servant as He gave Himself for our sins. The offering of these verses alerted humanity that the then-future Messiah, the Christ, would be the "bread of life" we have always needed. Those offering the fine grain of this chapter likely did not understand, instead they merely came in faith to the Lord, as we must. Note in Verses 5-7 that our offerings to the Lord will not always be precisely the same. One brought grain made on a skillet and another from a pan, and yes, our form of worship may differ, but when we come to the Lord in faith, He receives us.
Here are Verses 5-7: "If your offering is a grain offering made on the griddle, it shall be of fine flour, unleavened, mixed with oil; 6 you shall break it into bits and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering. 7 Now if your offering is a grain offering made in a pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil." You may be baptized in one way and I in another. We may take communion differently. Our traditions may not be the same, but the question is this: Do you have faith in the Lord, that He is God, that He has given Himself on your behalf, that He was raised from the dead, that He is without sin, and that you are saved by believing in Who and What He is? Do you believe that we are all sinners in need of God's grace, and He fills our need?
Jesus Christ is the Sacrifice that makes the faithful acceptable to God, and He is also our High Priest. As Hebrews 9:11 reveals, "Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation."
Verse 8 of this chapter in Leviticus teaches, "When you bring in the grain offering which is made of these things to the Lord, it shall be presented to the priest and he shall bring it to the altar." The instruction continues into Verse 9: "The priest then shall take up from the grain offering its memorial portion, and shall offer it up in smoke on the altar as an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the Lord." Your job is to come to our High Priest and then you will see that He meets your need. 1 John 1:9 encourages you and me, that, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
And in Verse 10, we remember that we individually and collectively belong to the Lord, and so do all our possessions: "The remainder of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons: a thing most holy of the offerings to the Lord by fire." The Lord likes it when we share with those in need. His ministers, the priests of these verses, in giving up potential earnings in some kind of "normal" employment, have joined the ranks of the needy. And when you give to someone, always be aware that you are giving to the Lord.
Verse 11: "No grain offering, which you bring to the Lord, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven or any honey as an offering by fire to the Lord." Both leaven and honey are substances that can create the process of fermentation within the dough that is to become a loaf of bread. Our "Bread of Life" is pure and simple, offering wholesome spiritual nutrition to who place their faith in Him. There is a time to bring leaven and honey to the Lord, however, with a leaven offering seen in Leviticus 23:17, and both would be part of the "first fruits" offering of Verse 12: "As an offering of first fruits you shall bring them to the Lord, but they shall not ascend for a soothing aroma on the altar." As to "first fruits," when you pay your bills out of the income God has provided for you, give to the Lord FIRST before anything else. The promise is, "Give and it will be given to you..." (Luke 6:38).
Verse 13: "Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt." I remember the test for the mineral called "Halite" in our Geology Lab in college—we were to taste it. Halite is salt, the chief food preservative for mankind throughout history. At the time of Verse 13, it was a symbol of God's "covenant" of peace toward His people, and in Mark 9:50, Jesus urged us to: "...Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."
Verse 14 continues the idea that we are to become willing to give the first and the best of everything we have and are: "Also if you bring a grain offering of early ripened things to the Lord, you shall bring fresh heads of grain roasted in the fire, grits of new growth, for the grain offering of your early ripened things." The world values money, fame, power, beauty and outward accomplishment. God's priority is for us to put the Lord first, to have faith in Him, knowing that He is greater than our possessions...and even those who seem to give too much will have enough, for He is our Provider.
In Verses 15-16, we are reminded of the "frankincense," the "incense" which points to God the Son, and the "oil" which speaks of the gift of God the Holy Spirit: "You shall then put oil on it and lay incense on it; it is a grain offering. 16 The priest shall offer up in smoke its memorial portion, part of its grits and its oil with all its incense as an offering by fire to the Lord." To give of yourself out of what you have is an act of faith, a recognition and acknowledgement that all we have, all we are, is from God.
Lord, You are the Bread of Life. I have failed to understand, but now I see that all I have, all I am, is from You. I give You my heart, Lord. I place my faith in You. I am Yours. Thank You that You are mine. In Jesus Name. Amen.