SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- This offering, the "fellowship offering" (sometimes called the "peace offering") comes from the Hebrew word "shalom," which means "peace" or "wholeness." This offering may have symbolized and celebrated peace between God and man.
- The fellowship offering was the only sacrifice of which the offerer was permitted to eat a part. The priest also ate part of the offering (see Leviticus 7:14-15, 31-34).
- The fellowship offerings were offered during three annual festivals in Israel (see Exodus 23:14-17), when people came from all over to worship and share in a meal together.
- Verses 11 and 16 say the priest shall burn the offering on the altar "as food." But Israelite sacrifices were not "food for the gods," which was the case in many other ancient cultures and religions. Referring to the offering as food was symbolic, not literal.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- After the atonement offering we read about in chapter one of Leviticus (remember, "atone" basically means "to erase" -- through the sacrifice, people's sins were atoned for, or erased), here we find the fellowship or peace offerings, celebrating a fellowship or peace with God that is only possible if our sins have been atoned for. The Bible says in Romans 5:1-2, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." So, because we have been justified (just-as-if-I'd never sinned) through our faith in Jesus' sacrifice for us, we have peace and friendship with God.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Have you put your faith (your trust) in the sacrifice Jesus' made for you on the cross and it's ability to take your sins away? If not, the Bible says you have chosen to be an enemy of God. (Gulp.) And you probably should do something about that. If you have, then you have peace with God and are his friend. What could you do this week to grow closer in your friendship with him?