Beyond emitting the all-important fragrant smoke, there are three purposes to the ZEVAH SHELAMIM or Peace Offering.
A ZEVAH could be brought before the Lord as a…
Unlike the OLAH (Burnt Offering) or the MINCHAH (Grain Offering), the ZEVAH was not a regular daily offering.
It was at the discretion of the worshipper whether he would bring a ZEVAH or not.
The ZEVAH was like either a “Gift of Greeting” a “Gift of Peace” or a plea to the Lord for well-being.
And similar to the OLAH and MINCHAH sacrifices, it was a request for fellowship with the Father.
So all of the first three sacrifices we’ve studied so far (OLAH, MINCHAH, and ZEVAH) were meant to establish and maintain a peaceful relationship with the Lord.
They were to demonstrate loyalty and obedience and gain His personal acceptance.
And in the process of offering up these sacrifices, the worshipper came to a realization that it is personal acceptance by God that gives the worshipper SHALOM.
I like that.
I mean who cares what other people think about you or whether they accept your or not?!
If your relationship with the Lord is solid, then nothing else matters.
Now let’s take a look at an example in Scripture as the ZEVAH being offered up as a “Confession Offering”.
We’re going to take a look at two passages from the Book of Judges.
FIRST PASSAGE DEMONSTRATING HOW THE PEACE OFFERING WAS USED:
“Then the Israelites drew near to Benjamin the second day. This time, when the Benjamites came out from Gibeah to oppose them, they cut down another eighteen thousand Israelites, all of them armed with swords. Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord.
They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord.
And the Israelites inquired of the Lord. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites, or not?”
The Lord responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.”
SECOND PASSAGE DEMONSTRATING HOW THE PEACE OFFERING WAS USED:
The men of Israel had taken an oath at Mizpah: “Not one of us will give his daughter in marriage to a Benjamite.”
The people went to Bethel, where they sat before God until evening, raising their voices and weeping bitterly.
“Lord, God of Israel,” they cried, “why has this happened to Israel? Why should one tribe be missing from Israel today?”
Early the next day the people built an altar and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.
In both of these cases, the Israelites found themselves in an unhappy situation and they didn’t know why.
They were confused as to why things weren’t going well (ever been in that situation?).
So how did they respond?
First, they offered up an OLAH (Burnt Offering) to gain the Lord’s attention and favor.
Then, they offered up a ZEVAH as a “confession offering”.
What were they confessing to?
They didn’t know for sure and that’s the point.
They didn’t quite know why the Lord wasn’t giving them victory on the battlefield but knew it had to be for some indiscretion they had committed unawares.
Unable to pinpoint exactly what they had done wrong, the ZEVAH here was a general confession of their sinful condition and unworthiness.
Now one important point.
Don’t lose track of the fact that all of these sacrifices and rituals are ONLY meant for redeemed or “saved” people.
Are you getting that?
The Lord FIRST saved Israel and then He gave them His laws and rituals so that they would have a means to repair and maintain their relationship with Him.
The ancient Hebrews didn’t perform sacrifices to obtain or maintain their salvation.
Their salvation was already a done deal once the Lord had rescued them from slavery in Egypt and they knew it.
It is no different for believers today.
Through Messiah, our redemption is a free gift from the Lord.
However, don’t we still have to confess our failings to the Lord from time to time?
This is the ZEVAH in action.