In Leviticus 7:11-18, read of the laws concerning the peace or fellowship offering. In the midst of regulations concerning dedication offerings, sin offerings, trespass offerings, grain and fat offerings, there is a sacrifice that recognizes peace.
The זֶבַח שְׁלָמִים/zevah shelamim, peace – fellowship – or well-being offering, were shared, not only with God and the priesthood, but also with the worshippers family and friends. It recognized a general condition of well-being: reconciliation, forgiveness, rescue, health, success, etc. Yet, there is something deeper here.
The law regarding the זֶבַח שְׁלָמִים/zevah shelamim, peace offering first addresses a subcategory of that offering: the תּוֹדָה/Todah, or thank-offering. This offering expresses gratitude, but also confession and praise. I am reminded of Psalm 100:4-5:
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
The words of Psalm 100 convey the heart attitude of entering before the Lord, with a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Entering His gates with thanksgiving recognizes, not only His goodness, but an internal recognition, knowing our own inner reality, of our unworthiness to receive His kindness. We receive His kindness by grace, and in our thanksgiving offering we confess this fact. What joy, and ultimately peace this should establish in our hearts!
Still, the Torah is teaching us something of great value by the peace offering. The זֶבַח שְׁלָמִים/zevah shelamim, peace offering can be eaten on the first and second day after it has been presented (Lev. 7:16-17). On the third day, anything remaining of the offering must be consumed by fire (Lev. 7:17). Yet, the תּוֹדָה/Todah, or thank-offering is only consumed on the day it was offered (Lev. 7:15). Why?
Some rabbinic opinions suggest that consuming the peace offering multiple times, over multiple days will aid in cultivating an experience peace in our lives. In that enduring communion, we seek His peace in the midst of all our circumstances, as Paul wrote, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Ro. 12:18).
Yet, this sub-offering, in the category of peace offering, the תּוֹדָה/Todah, or thank-offering teaches us to recognize His daily miracles operating as faithfulness, kindness, grace and mercy in our lives: a daily communion! (Ps. 100).
In Vayikra Rabbah 9:7, a midrasnhic teaching on Leviticus, states that in the future all sacrifices will cease, except for the thanksgiving offering (cf. Jer. 33:10-11). From this we learn of our need to recognize the daily kindness, daily mercies, daily miracles and the overall goodness shown to us by the Living God.
Where do we find this in the Apostolic Scriptures? In Hebrews 13:15, “Through him (Yeshua/Jesus) then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips giving thanks to his name.” Offering continually, daily, the sacrifice of thanksgiving, praise and confession of His goodness (cf. Ro. 12:1).
While cultivating His peace in all circumstances takes time, as we are all a work in progress, giving thanks to Him from a grateful heart, even in the midst of trail, and when experiencing the greatest of joys, should be the disposition of the renewed heart that has been filled by the Holy Spirit by saving faith in Messiah Yeshua/Jesus. Salvation we could not earn and do not deserve but for His love and grace, while we were yet sinners (Ro. 5:8).
Where do we enter His gates? Where we are, as we acknowledge Him in all our ways (Pro. 3:5-6). Give Him thanks, praise, glory and honor, for He is worthy.
Be well. Shalom.