Scripture: from verse 3 and 4
When someone from the community of Israel slaughters an ox, lamb or goat inside or outside the camp without [presenting] it as an offering to Adonai…he has shed blood, and that person is to be cut off from his people.
Observation: So ANY time you slaughtered an animal – for food, for sale, whatever – you had to bring it to the tent of meeting to do it, and pour out the blood and burn the fat as an offering to the Lord. (I’m guessing this didn’t apply to animals that were euthanized when they got sick – but I could be wrong.) If you didn’t, you weren’t part of the community.
From the rest of the chapter, it looks like this was at least in part a way to keep people from offering sacrifices to other deities (“goat-demons,” according to verse 7). If idolatry is the human baseline state, God had to make them make conscious choice after conscious choice to worship Him instead.
But I think it goes beyond just mandating fidelity. It’s about allowing God to permeate every decision. It’s about acknowledging that all our wealth is from God and belongs to God. It’s about reminding ourselves that all life is precious (“the life of the flesh is in the blood” according to verse 11) and it is only because of sin that death has to happen. Every mundane meal became a reminder of our spiritual state.
And what about us? We no longer bring blood sacrifices, but creation is not yet healed. Our identity has changed, but we still sin. And God is still the One who provides everything we have. That’s worth remembering.
Maybe that’s why we say grace before meals: to attach a reminder of our spiritual state to mundane actions. To remember our Creator as we fill the needs of the body He created. To make a conscious choice to worship instead of drifting back to the human baseline of apathy.
Application: Choose to worship. Remember that what we see is not all there is. Give credit to the One who deserves it.
Prayer: Father, thank you for providing everything my family has. Help us to use it for your glory. Thank you for bringing me out of darkness and into your glorious light. Amen.