What Leviticus Teaches About Giving

Most folks know someone who is picky. Picky about their tastes in food, movies, music, books, and decor. Picky about how things are done–properly or “by the book” or whatever.

I read Leviticus recently (with a bible-in-a-year reading plan). If you read Leviticus, one of the first features that strikes you is how picky God seems about the sacrifices the Israelites are to bring before him. Whether a grain offering or an animal offering, God is exclusively interested in the best. Consider: “If the offering is a communal sacrifice of well-being, the one who offers the herd animal–whether it is male or female–must present a flawless specimen before the Lord” (Lev. 3:1 CEB). And, “When anyone presents a grain offering to the Lord, the offering must be of choice flour” (Lev. 2:1 CEB).

That specificity is repeated throughout the instructions on sacrifices in Leviticus 1-7 (and even made more explicit in some verses). No wiggle room on this subject.

What’s going on here?

The best flour and animals without any blemish would have been the most valuable to the people. I don’t think this is about God being “worth our very best.” After all, he’s actually worth far more than we can give. But to give the most valuable animals from the herd and grain from the harvest would have been to exercise practical trust in God’s provision. It would have made such a financial impact, it would clearly and unambiguously demonstrate practical faith in God. Giving the flawless animal was actually a way of giving oneself to God, showing who one treasures and trusts.

The connection to our own giving is clear. Does what we give indicate practical trust in God’s provision?

God is picky. He is picky about having our heart to himself. And as Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there you heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:21 CEB)

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