READ: Leviticus 17:1-9
Essentially, what this passage is addressing is idolatry. Here, God presents a law through Moses that if anyone offers sacrifices outside of the temple they would be cut off and kicked out of the camp.
The passage considers two occassions. On the one hand a general killing of any sacrificial animals, even if it was just for the purpose of food. In such a case, the offerer would bring the animal in the form of a peace offering – whereby there was a portion that the offer would take and eat for himself. (Deuteronomy 12:20-21 later clarifies that when they enter the Promised Land and distance becomes a problem in having to travel to the temple simply to eat meat, then they can kill animals when and where they need). On the other hand it also realted to the killing of animals partiucalarly for the purpose of sacrifice.
The motivation would seem to be made clear in verse 7. Basically, such a law should stop the people from offering sacrifices to any other gods or idols but the One True God. In essence this was a law to guard against idolatry. Not only could they not sacrifice to any other gods because they were to only make sacrifices at the temple, but neither (while in the wilderness) could they secretly kill an animal for ‘devil worship’ and then just claim it was for the personal meat box.
There was one place where the people could go to make their sacrifices and conduct their worship. They could not go to other worship centres and try to incorporate other gods there was one system, one standard, and one God!
The Apostle Paul seems to direct his thoughts back to this principle in I Corinthians 10:18-33.
Are there areas of your life that could be considered as eating ‘meat that has been sacrificed to idols’?