We can come into God’s presence because atonement has been made for our sins. The next logical step is to offer God something from ourselves and our possessions. We do this out of gratitude. We recognize God has provided all that we have, and we are thankful. And we are committed to him.
This is the idea behind the grain offering. The people’s sins were atoned, and now they were offering what they had to God in gratitude.
The gifts were doused with oil, which was a symbol of something that had been consecrated or set apart as holy. Yeast was left out of these gifts likely because yeast symbolizes something that is breaking down. And yeast has a spreading feature to it. It infiltrates things of its own accord. Sin is a lot like yeast.
Salt was offered with the grain offering. Salt is a preservative and was used in ancient times to ratify covenants. When the people salted their offerings, they were marking their commitment to God’s covenant. They wanted that covenant preserved.
So let’s think about this in Christian terms, knowing that Jesus died as our substitute, making atonement for our sins. He was our burnt offering of Leviticus 1.
When I think about the grain offering, my mind goes to Romans 12:1: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
We don’t just bring to God a meal of grain. We bring to him our very bodies.
When Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law, he died in our place and gave us the gift of eternal life – the most expansive gift possible. We receive this atonement and this eternal life and then offer our whole selves to God. We do this out of gratitude, recognizing that we merely are giving back to God what is His already.
And we reaffirm, by our giving of ourselves, our commitment to this new covenant that we have in Christ. Do you recall that you are the salt of the earth? (Matthew 5:13).