>When anyone brings a grain offering to the Lord, their offering is to be of the finest flour. (v. 2 NIV)
Worshiping God in western culture can seem like a purely spiritual activity. Our offerings involve writing checks or dropping money in a basket. We pray to our heavenly Father out loud or silently in our heads. It can seem that God is a God merely of thoughts, a far-off, silent figure.
But Israel understood that worship was not just spiritual or mental. The Israelites engaged their whole selves in worship. Making an offering was a time-consuming and hands-on activity. The grain offering, which expressed devotion and thanksgiving to God, engaged all five senses. An Israelite could see the flour being mixed with oil, feel the texture of the mixture as he crumbled it between his fingers (v. 6), hear the sizzle of it in the pan, and smell the roasted mixture as it was being offered. And after it had been offered, the priest actually tasted the food.
God is still present in everything. We are reminded of his real spiritual presence in the bread and wine of Communion. The Holy Spirit even reveals God’s presence in our daily offerings of caring for others. When we cook a meal, hold a friend’s hand, or listen to the troubles of a hurting neighbor, we have special opportunity to experience God’s presence. Because our God is wholly present, these actions – whether or not they are noticed by others – produce aromas pleasing to the Lord.
Lord, remind us today that you are as real as the world we touch, smell, hear, and see around us.