Google+ 03/21/13 Peace Sacrifices?

Leviticus 19:4-6

 

“Do not put your trust in idols or make metal images of gods for yourselves.

I am the Lord your God.

“When you sacrifice a peace offering to the Lord, offer it properly so you will be accepted by God.

 The sacrifice must be eaten on the same day you offer it or on the next day.

Whatever is left over until the third day must be completely burned up. 

 

Leviticus is one of the "books of the Law" as written and told by Moses.  Both Jews and Gentiles acknowledge the power of the Pentateuch.  There is something about reading the words of Moses that stirs my soul.  Hearing God speak directly through Moses to me, is a rare gift indeed.  Today's Scripture reminds us of something we rarely think about as local New Testament Churches.  The Jewish people were commanded to offer blood sacrifices to God.  We know how important this fact was if we look at what happened with Cain and Able and the different kind of sacrifices they chose to bring to God.  We see the same kind of example in Isaac and Ishmael.  While these situations could be the subject of a wonderful devotion, that is not the goal today.  I want to talk about "peace offerings!"  We have virtually eliminated the discussion or practice of offering peace sacrifices to God.  We believe that it is simply not necessary because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  I would like you to think about how Jesus is described in the Bible.  Starting with Old Testament prophecy, Jesus was always referred to as the "Lamb."  Jesus was the ultimate "blood sacrifice" to cleanse us from our eternal sins.  While Jesus is also referred to as the "Prince of Peace," that is the result of what a life lived for Christ brings, not the reason He died on the cross for us.  In the next few days, please think about the "peace sacrifice" we should make to God.  Our Scripture tells us that our sacrifice must be "fresh."  What does that mean?  Today, it means something different than it did in the days of Moses.  Food spoiled quickly and became rotten in Old Testament days.  The intent of our Scripture today was to make sure that the people of Israel were giving "fresh" food as  a sacrifice to God, not the "old leftovers!"  In addition, it truly would have been a "sacrifice," as the Israelites were giving up something that was extremely valuable.  It was in reality, part of their "daily bread."  I believe God expects the same from us, in a different way.  Each day during our prayer time, we need to offer to God our "fresh" sacrifice.  Give Him your best praise and take time to do it.  Our "rotten" food today is the fact that our souls are so polluted by the daily grind that we all have, we give God only the "leftovers."  As a minister, I often have people tell me that they simply do not have time to pray.  I share with them that their lack of "peace sacrifice" is bringing chaos to their lives.  Like in the days of Moses, we must pray for peace in order to achieve it.  We must take all our cares and sorrows to the foot of the cross.  By doing this daily, we will experience the "Prince of Peace."  I lobby that if we don't, peace will be the farthest thing from our lives.  Please do not make the mistake of thinking that God's peace is always quiet with nothing going on.  That is not an "Old Wives' Tale," it is an "Old Church Tale!"  Some of the most peaceful moments in my life have been full of what others would call noise.  God provides peace in many different ways to many different kinds of people.  Don't judge others' "peace offerings," or compare them to your own.  Like in the days of Moses, everyone offers sacrifices in a different, acceptable way.  So today, bring your "peace offering" to God.  Make sure that what you give Him is not "3-day-old bread!"  Give Him the best "sacrifice" you have each day.  In this way, God's face will shine upon you and give you peace!