It is easy to get lost in all the offerings of Israel, but if you’ve made it through the first six chapters of Leviticus, you are out of the woods – even if you don’t know where you have been. There are five different types of offerings listed in these chapters.
The first three offerings are the “burnt offering,” the “grain” (or cereal) offering, and the “fellowship” (or peace) offering. Each of these are identified by the “smell” of the offering when made. It produces a “pleasing aroma” to God and all are offerings that celebrate a right relationship with God.
The last two offerings are the “sin” and “guilt” offerings. These are used to “atone” (make payment) for sin and are not said to produce a pleasing aroma.
Offerings have an additional three characteristics: Some (grain, sin, and guilt offerings) are called “most holy.” Only a portion of these offerings are given to God. The rest of the offering belongs to the priests. Fellowship offerings were offered to God, but part of them were returned to the offerer to eat as a blessing. Burnt offerings were totally offered to God.
By the number of offerings required, when they were required, and what was required, no one should miss the point that a relationship with God was costly, and required an individual’s attention. While we no longer make these offerings (because Christ’s offering supercedes them all), no one should imagine that a relationship with God today requires less care.