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Vayikra/Leviticus 10:12 Take the grain-offering, that which remains from the fire-offerings of Adonai ...
At first glance, might look as if it were connected to the verb , to give, for the fire-offerings were given toHaShem, but then the sense of the preposition, "from, away from", elided on to the front of the following word, , fire-offerings, would be entirely wrong. is the feminine singular - to agree with which is a feminine noun meaning literally "gift" but always taken in the context of the sacrificial system to mean a grain offering - Nifil participle of the root , to be left or to remain; the participle having the sense of something that is left over or remains from a larger whole.
Aharon and his two remaining sons, Eleazar and Itamar - Nadav and Avihu having just died because they brought strange fire before the L-rd (cf. 10:2) - are now commanded to eat the residual part - in fact, the majority - of the grain offering that was given to accompany the burnt offerings on the eighth day of the tabernacle's service, the first day that they are serving as fully inaugurated priests.Rashi points out that this is the grain offering of Nahshon, the head of the tribe of Judah (cf. B'Midbar 7:12-17): "fine flour, mixed with oil". Because this is a public offering - Rashi's words are "a meal-offering of the hour" - that won't ever be brought again, since it was part of the ritual for setting up the tabernacle, Aharon and his sons have to eat the flour unleavened, or made into matzah, there by the altar in the holy place for "it is the holiest of holy things".
The grain offering served two purposes: firstly, it was eaten by the priests, as G-d's representatives, as a sign that G-d had accepted the offering as a whole; secondly, it was an important means of provision for the priests - a significant component of their diet! From this and the care with which the grain offering had to be handled and eaten - in the holy pace and only by those who are ritually clean - we can learn several important lessons about the way that we bring offerings to the L-rd. G-d intends that "those who proclaim the gospel [should] get their living from the gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:14, NASB). When Yeshua sent out the disciples through the towns and villages of the Galil, He told them, "Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the labourer is worthy of his wages ... and whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat what is set before you" (Luke 10:7-8, NASB). So the kingdom economy works that those who labour directly for G-d as teachers, evangelists, pastors, prophets and apostles (Ephesians 4:11) are supported by the community, according to their needs, as a part of the community's offerings to G-d. Similarly, many religious charities, working in education, outreach and among the poor, both at home and overseas, pay their workers suitable wages for their labour from the funds that are donated to those organisations as an essential part of delivering services. This too is right and proper, "for the Tanakh says, 'You are not to muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain' (D'varim 25:4), in other words, 'the worker is worthy of his wages'" (1 Timothy 5:18, CJB).
We also learn the importance of stewardship over the resources that G-d provides. Those resources have been given by people to the L-rd, sometimes at great personal cost, as an act of worship. It is therefore important that those who are responsible for administering and using those gifts do so in the fear of the L-rd so that they should not be squandered or wasted. Larger organisations with staff, offices and overheads may be particularly challenged in this area, communicating the holiness of the offering to each and every employee without at the same time exploiting the workers, but all those who handle the kingdom economy have a duty of care to the L-rd for the funds in their charge.
Further Study: 1 Corinthians 9:4-14; Luke 10:5-11
Application: As believers, we do have an obligation to give to the L-rd and support those who work amongst us in the kingdom. For some, giving is by money, for others by prayer, for yet others practical help. Those who receive in turn give a proportion of their support to other kingdom activities. Whether you give or receive, do it for the L-rd and His kingdom, exercising due diligence to serve Him well.
© Jonathan Allen, 2007
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