Leviticus 7:11-38, Fellowship Offerings
The peace or fellowship offering can be offered in three ways. It can be offered as a thanksgiving (vv. 12, 13, 15 – probably means a response to what God did for the offerer), a vow offering (v. 16, presumably in fulfillment of a vow the offerer made), and a freewill offering (v. 16, he simply offered it freely).
Remember (from ch. 3), these fellowship offerings allowed the laymen to eat some of the sacrifice. In view of that, specific directions were given as to what was to be given to the priests (cf. v. 14). It also gives directions on when the offerer was to eat the sacrifice (vv. 15-17) along with what was unclean (vv. 18-21).
In vv. 22-27, they are once again told not to eat the fat or the blood. The breast (v. 31) and the right thigh (vv. 32-34) of the peace offering were given to the priests— it is their “portion” (v. 35). Verses 37, 38 give a summary of the laws pertaining to the sacrifices and offerings. Note, these were given to Moses on Mount Sinai — it had divine authority. In Ex. 25-40, God gave instructions about the tabernacle and now in these chapters, God gives the commandments regarding the offerings that were to be offered in the tabernacle. One writer put it like this, “They provide means to seek forgiveness from sin, remove guilt, celebrate blessings, rejoice in fellowship with God, and ordain the priests who serve as indispensable mediators of the sacrifices.” (EBC-R)
We are reminded that these laws were divinely given. Israel was not at liberty to offer what they pleased. God orders the way He is to be worshipped. We too quickly forget that God is very particular and jealous about the way He is worshipped. Does this not teach us the very importance of worshipping God rightly, in Spirit and in Truth — all according to God’s revealed will? M. Henry says, “The observance of the laws of Christ cannot be less necessary than the observance of the laws of Moses was.”
This is how serious all these things were, those who did not followed these commands were to be “cut off” (vv. 20, 21, 25, 27) — this could mean death (as used in Ex. 31:14, “You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.”)
Having fellowship with God entailed careful adherence to His stipulations. Sinful man cannot approach God without holiness and conformity to His Word. Since all of us have failed in obeying God, Jesus was “cut off” in our behalf so that He might bring us near to God through His sacrificial death!