Each of the sections proscribing a specific sacrifice ends with identifying the result God desires. As we look forward to the New Testament where we are the children of God, this is very important.
Leviticus 2:13 offers hope for the world that may not be obvious at first. In the middle of commands regarding grain offerings, God commands that “…you shall season with salt…” You might wonder why this was not mentioned in Chapter 1 concerning burnt offerings, where seasoning of meat makes more sense than grain.
But God goes on to say “…so that the salt of the covenant with your God shall not be lacking…with all your offerings you shall offer salt.” Suddenly, God has given a metaphor that reaches forward through the entire rest of the Bible (see Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5; Ezekiel 43:25; and most importantly Mark 9:49-50): the covenant of salt.
Salt is a strong preservative, so salt became a powerful symbol of incorruption, purity and perpetual covenant. God’s never-ending love can result in perfect reconciliation and lasting friendship. God sets the stage for our redemption through Jesus by repeating 8 times in Leviticus Chapters 4 through 7 that when an offering is made, the priest shall make atonement for him and it will be forgiven him!
The timeless lesson here is: know exactly what sin is and repeatedly confess to the Lord who atones and forgives. Jesus is our sacrifice and our high priest!
Footnote to the last blog: a reader commented that my drawing a parallel between ancient Israel and modern America was inappropriate. He felt I had made the well-known “error” of claiming that Israel forfeited its blessings from God and America inherited them. I am grateful for this comment, because that is not my intent at all. I speak of America only because that is all I know, and I hope all people from all countries take the critical need for repentance to heart.
Just this week, Bill O’Reilly called on all Christian, Jewish and moderate Islamic clergy to stand up and reject radical Islamic extremism, and many chose to respond with strong words of encouragement. Important as defending freedom is, the lesson of the Cycle is that before we can expect God to act on our behalf, we must first humble ourselves and pray and seek his face, individually, privately, in unity. There was no mention of this first step in the response to O’Reilly’s call.