Leviticus! Chap. 2: Worship Offerings

In chapter 2 of Leviticus there are no animal sacrifices mentioned.  Whereas chapter 1 refers to offerings related to sin, chapter 2 refers to free will offerings or offerings that are made just because of who God is, not so much what He has done.

The elements of a freewill offering (or worship) as described in Leviticus 2 are the following, all of which stand for something:

‘When anyone offers a grain offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. And he shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense on it. (Leviticus 2:1)

Grain – represents words (see the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8; also Jeremiah 23:28).

Oil – represents anointing (see Exodus 30:23-24 and James 5:14)

Frankincense – represents prayer (see Revelation 5:8)

‘No grain offering which you bring to the Lord shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey in any offering to the Lord made by fire.  (Leviticus 2:11)

Leaven – represents sin (see Matthew 16:6 and 1 Cor. 5:7)

Honey – represents sensual pleasure (see Proverbs 24:13, Song of Solomon 4:11)

And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt. (Leviticus 2:13)

Salt – represents preservation, truth (Matthew 5:13).

So we see that when we approach God with our words (spoken or sung) we need to do it in the context of anointing (represented by oil), truth (salt) and prayer (frankincense), without sin (leaven) and without sensuality (honey).  These are the basics of coming to God in prayer and worship in the Spirit (see John 4:23).

I should point out that there is nowhere in Scripture that says honey is a bad thing, quite the opposite (see e.g. Exodus 3:17) but you can have too much of it (Proverbs 25:27) and it is not relevant when you are approaching a consuming fire (Leviticus 2:11).

There is a school of thought that says that the ecstasies and obvious pleasure that many Pentecostals (in particular) experience during worship are not appropriate.  The music is too worldly these people say and the worship too sensual as a result.  As I’ve looked around the churches in Ireland over the last few years – and this applies elsewhere as well – I can see considerable division over this.

However Scripture should not be treated as a rule book. The answer to the question of whether there is too much pleasure (i.e. sensuality) in the worship songs we sing these days is not going to be answered by anyone to your satisfaction except by God.  All I would say is please don’t judge your brother or sister who takes part in these love festivals.  What they do, they do before God and He alone is judge.

The type of music played cannot be defined as sensual in terms of the rhythms, notes or beats employed.  The fact that there is a lot of sensual lyrics set to music that uses the same rhythms, notes, tones or beats is irrelevant.  There is nothing irredeemable in any type of music in my opinion.

The lyrics used on the other hand are far more important.  We could definitely argue about some of those if we wanted to.  It would seem strange though to throw out a complete genre simply because some young song writers alluded to some sensual sounding pleasures in their worship.  Perhaps it says more about the listener than the song writer if that is the approach you take.

Having said that, there is a lot of sensuality around these days.  We do need to remove it from our hearts and the many chambers of our souls if we are truly to be of those who are pure in heart and can see God (Matt. 5:8).  And that is regardless of what songs we are listening to.

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