A CALL TO HOLINESS
The Meal Offering:Dedication For God
Jerry A. Collins
The following is an edited transcript of a radio conversation between U.S. and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995:
Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.
Americans: Please divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision.
Canadians: Recommend you divert Your course.
Americans: This is the captain of a U.S. Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.
Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.
Americans: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES’ ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH, THATS ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER-MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.
CANADIANS: This is a lighthouse. Your call.
We can think that we are the ones in control. That we are the ones calling the shots. God used what is called the Grain Offering in Israel as a recognition that He is the One who is in control. This offering was a recognition that everything the worshipper had and was belonged to God. Now he was giving back to God a token of his life to show that he acknowledged the true source of his life. We are going to learn that it is just such a dedication of self and possessions to God who has redeemed (Burnt Offering) that we are to recognize and make in our own lives.
Verses 1-3describe the ritual of the grain offerings. The offering was normally a mixture of grain, olive oil and frankincense. The offerer would bring the mixture to the priest in verse 1. He would take a handful as a token of the amount brought, a memorial it says in verse 2, 9, and 16 and then burn it on the altar verse 2. The remainder would be eaten by the priests. All of the material given in this offering by the ‘person’ would represent foodstuff and thus a portion--the best portion--of the provision God had given. The grain being offered here had to be of fine flour which was something that demanded a great deal of extra effort to produce. It was not something someone purchased from the store. The point would be that as one brings this offering, he is giving himself and all that he has to God and His service. Typically, this grain offering would be made after the burnt offering. The burnt offering made one acceptable to God, the meal offering was a recognition of God’s provisions and dedication of self to Him.
A grain offering was an offering of grain from the fields and could be baked into loaves or wafers verse 4. It could be cooked on a griddle much like we do with pancakes today verse 5. It could also be cooked in a pan verse 7 like a deep fry cooker. Similar to our making of doughnuts. Like the uncooked grain that could be offered in verse 1-3, this cooked version would be taken to the priest as an meal offering to the Lord. The Priest would take a part of it as a memorial offering and burn it on the altar and keep the rest for his own verse 9. It is called a thing most holy because it went to the priests.
Memorial would indicate that the offerer was giving a token of his possessions to the Lord. This was like giving the firstfruits to the Lord which would be the very best and the first produced. It represented all the rest. No worshipper at this portion. The best of the fields and the crops was not to be retained by the worshipper for self indulgence, for that would not signify complete commitment and dedication for God. This offering, then, is a picture of the dedication of all we have to God. it is giving to God what we like best. God had the right to all of it already.SIGNIFICANCE
1) ‘Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, your spiritual service of worship’ Romans 12:1-2.God is calling us to offer our total lives as a sacrifice to him. This kind of offering means a complete change in lifestyle. It is the kind of offering that is holy, spiritual and pleasing to God. God is expecting complete surrender to Him. Like the girl from Columbine high school whose story was on 20/20 who testified on video and to friends that she was sold out for Christ. Just days before she was shot to death in her high school. God does not want us to hold anything back from him. He wants full devotion and total dedication. God wants us to give what we like best. Dedication of all we have to God. Our problem is that we do not want too. We want to hold some back. We want to self-indulge. Like the captain of the navy ship, we yell orders to God, and God says I’m the lighthouse, it’s your call. God will not have any rivals. Your job, your friends, your bank account, your reputation, your pleasure-seeking, your schedule, your success, your dreams, your rights. God is God. You do not tell him what to do. Submit to him right now. Do not toy with sinful options. Tell him you quit trying to navigate your way. Tell him you are going to trust Him. Tell Him you are going to obey Him. Confess your sin of pride. Confess your rebellion. Confess your fear and anxiety. Present your body, your life as a living sacrifice to Him. Do it every day and for the rest of your life.
2) ‘The things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice, well pleasing to God’ Philippians 4:18. This is language to indicate that this offering given was one that pleased God. A financial offering, a gift given to carry on the work of God’s kingdom, is another way we make sacrifices that please God. Dedication for God includes our money. Our dedication to God must reach our pocketbook. Our checkbooks. Our attitudes about the money we have. Tell God you will give Him your money. It is all His. He can do with it as He wishes. You will sacrifice your right to manage your money and determine to use it any way God wants. That is what it is he is asking of you. He wants no rivals to him in your life. It is a large issue for all of us. But God never goes after that which is not near and dear to us!
3) ‘Or do you not know that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.’ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. The Old Testament meal-offering represents the offerer’s person and property, his body and all his possessions. After he had received full atonement with the burnt offering, he next comes to give his whole substance to God who has redeemed him. Even so with us, the moment we are pardoned of our sin, all we have and all we are become Christ’s. This meal offering, then, is the dedication. It must follow the burnt offering, for there is no possibility of making a dedication of self and possessions without redemption first. Dedicate yourself to the Lord. determine to walk in full devotion and complete submission to the Lord in every area of your life. Jesus calls us to this in Luke 14.