READ: Leviticus 3:1-17
The ‘Peace Offering’
As a kid growing up on the farm there was a handful of occasions when my folks killed a cow for ‘home-grown’ meat. The butcher came out to the property, did the deed and then came back a few days later to chop up the animal into its respective parts. I hated it!
I still remember sitting at the table an uncountable number of times and being forced to eat this fatty meat which I absolutely detested. I tried to throw it under the table; or go for needed toilet stops (to spit out the fatty bits stored in my cheeks). To this day I’m still not a big fan of beef, especially rare, medium-rare, or medium cooked steaks. The idea of eating half cooked meat in addition to fatty meat disgusts me. I’m continuously saying that there is only one way to cook meat – the Biblical way…as burnt offerings.
I should have drawn my parents attention to Leviticus 3:17. What was good for the Hebrews should have been good for me too. You are not to eat the fat and the blood. Now, of course, such laws are no longer laws that pertain to us. You are not disobeying God and breaking a covenant if you eat fat or ‘rarely-cooked’ steak – don’t ask me why anyone in their right minds would want to though???!!!
So, why weren’t the people to eat the blood and the fat. I guess there could have been a slight motivation of health, as we discover in a lot of Levitical laws, blood is not at all healthy, unless you are a vampire (that is a joke…I’m not serious), and everyone is out for ‘lean’ meat now because of health reasons, but I doubt that health is the only motivation for not eating these animal parts.
We learn elsewhere in Leviticus (17:10-11) that the blood is not to be eaten because it is the life of an animal and God has dedicated that part to the act of atoning for His people. A life for a life, as it were. The blood was for a special purpose. So also was the fat. On every occasion with every offering that involved an animal the fat was to be offered to God – it was never to be eaten. Someone has suggested (Hartley, WBC: Leviticus) that the fat was symbolic of the animal’s strength – something that only God could ultimately give and take away. Whatever the reason was, God had dictated that both the blood and the fat were His – really, that should be reason enough. A certain proportion God would give back to the people but the rest (blood and fat) was to be His no matter what the situation was.
Its probably a good reminder of a distinction between God’s and Ours. Essentially, everything we have in the first place is because God has granted it as a gift. But, are there things in life that God hasn’t allowed and yet we still try to take anyway? May I suggest that anything whereby you need to use manipulation and conniving to get may not be rightfully yours in the first place. Just a thought!