Leviticus begins by explaining how to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings. The process is easy enough to follow, and I hope to help you understand the purpose of these offerings. Although the passage does not inform us why the burnt offerings or grain offerings are given, it does divulge that these offerings are “an aroma pleasing to the Lord”—God accepted these sacrifices with pleasure. The burnt offering would have cost the giver greatly through losing a healthy animal without defect (1:3, 1:10), and nothing of the animal would survive (1:9, 1:13). Other instances in the Old Testament inform us that one made the burnt offering when petitioning the Lord. Imagine that every time you wanted to ask God for something, you would have to offer a burnt bull, sheep, goat, or bird. That was part of the old sacrificial system.

Chapter 2 reveals sparse details about the purpose of the grain offerings, but the presence of incense (like frankincense) tells us that this, too, strenuously cost the giver. However, this offering was not to be entirely burnt because God provided food for Aaron and the Levitical priests through it (2:2-3). A grain offering would usually accompany one of the other offerings; for instance, our next reading will focus on law offerings and sin offerings. Partly through these offerings, the people of God showed their desire to keep covenant with Him and trust Him to be their provider. Though the sacrificial system has ended because of Jesus, God ultimately finished it because He wants an even more pleasing sacrifice from us than bread and animals (Romans 12:1-2, Psalm 51:17).