Offerings Of Old

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 3-4; 5:1-13; 6:24-30; 7:11-21, 28-36; Numbers 15:29-31

We are told about two offerings: “Peace Offerings” and “Sin Offerings”. I find it interesting how often we use this term, “peace offering”, in our daily life? Whenever we get into a jam, we usually say to the other person, “here is my peace offering” to end an argument or conflict. Unlike burnt offering or cereal offering, peace offering could be shared with the partakers — in other words, people could share the food at the end. Don’t you find that people become so much nicer and amiable with food sharing (or meal time)?

Due to my profession, I find “sin offerings” quite interesting. First of all, there is clear two divisions – sins unintentionally committed (like manslaughter – you did not intend to kill anyone, but as a result of your driving, a person is killed) and sins intentionally committed (like the first/second degree murder – you want to kill, plan to kill and/or in fact kill a person). If sin is intentionally committed, you are to cut off from the community (like life sentence in prison). If sin is committed unintentionally, then there are several options based on two factors: (1) social status of the person who sins – priest, the whole community, a leader, a member of the community and (2) financial circumstances he is in – affordability of the offerings. Depending on two factors, sin offerings can be different. But, above all, “One and the same law applies to everyone who sins unintentionally, whether he is a native-born Israelite or an alien.” (like equality before the law & under the law). I hope my modern day legal comparison makes sense to you – in fact, this concept of “sin offerings” is very much in the core of our Canadian criminal code today.

It is not an easy reading because there are a lot of unfamiliar procedure – slaughtering, dipping, pouring, waving, burning, etc. But, keep on reading and let’s be grateful that we don’t have to perform the offerings everyday like the Israelites in this time period. Yes, “everyday” because we are all sinners, if you have not noticed or been aware of. I hate to be a bearer of a bad news, but yes, we sin every day unintentionally (in some cases, we do commit sins intentionally, even though we do not want to admit). I am so grateful that Christ paid for my sins, aren’t you?

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