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Better than BBQ

Leviticus 1:17b
“And the priest shall burn it on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire. It is a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.”

Think of how many times you’ve been strolling down your neighborhood street or playing at the local park and you suddenly caught a whiff of someone’s barbeque on the breeze. Envy is born in an instant, isn’t it?! And think of how much your stress levels immediately fall the moment you walk into a bakery and smell the sweet aroma of bread and spices baking in the oven. The mere thought is making my mouth water even now! But “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD,” the Spirit reminds me, and an epiphany is currently nourishing me more than food. It’s this: that Leviticus 1:17 is another paradox in the life of faith. It’s simultaneously a physical fast and a spiritual feast.

To put it simply, this food offering is not feeding a hungry God Whose mouth is watering as He effectively looks down from heaven’s dinner table with a fork and knife in hand, awaiting the prepared meal. God doesn’t get hungry—we do. And it’s our hunger that makes the smell of grilled meat and baked bread so intoxicating. Ponder the fact that as the aroma of these food offerings sweeps through the habitations, as the fileted meat and fresh bread catch wind and spread through the commonwealth, filling the hungry pilgrims with greater hunger, a corresponding fast transpires. This could’ve been their cookout, right? This is the best bull or lamb or goat in their flock, and they could’ve saved it for their own Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. This pure flour and unfiltered olive oil could’ve been a cake for the birthday party too, but they’ve given these up, depriving themselves of a climactic feast, to practice the truth that communion with God is more savory and sweet than barbeques and bakeries could ever be.

To hunger and thirst for righteousness—that’s a pleasing aroma to the LORD, friend. Yet the reward for us amidst the fast is just as pleasing: “we will be filled!”