Scriptural Gem for January 2014

In Leviticus 1:2 we read: 'Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, When any man of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock.'

A large portion of the book of Leviticus is dedicated to instructions concerning the offering of sacrifices at the Tabernacle. When we think of 'offerings' or 'burnt offerings' today, our thoughts immediately turn to the idea of appeasement of a deity involving loss and destruction of something of value and painful feelings of a diminished flock. The Hebrew word used in our reading above is 'Korban'. The interesting fact is that the word 'Korban' in the original Hebrew has none of these associations of pain and giving up something of value. Loss is not the emphasis. Neither is it the appeasement of an angry God. (A number of times in Scripture we are reminded of the fact that the offerings and sacrifices were not for God's benefit and that He was looking for something deeper - Psalm 40:6, Psalm 51:16, Hosea 6:6)

The Hebrew word 'Korban' is best defined in terms of its root word 'Karev'. This word means 'to draw near, to approach, to come into relationship'. An offering or 'Korban' was an offering by which a person sought to draw near to God! The moment the Israelites began seeing it as a necessary ritual to be performed, it lost all meaning and purpose. The same applies to us today. Any offering we bring must have this same goal - to draw near to Him. Dear friend, if you are 'keeping count' of the sacrifices you have made to and for God, you are on the wrong track and the end of that road is resentment toward God. Every single offering or sacrifice to God is made to draw near to Him and to enjoy that closeness. Father, please reveal our true motives for our offerings and service to you. Amen.