I have a thought for you about why the grain offering, another korban, does not get completely burned up on the altar. A couple of sources are coalescing to form this picture in my mind, so let me first pull them together.
One piece: Brad Scott’s teaching about the Word of God as good seed that bears spiritual fruit, obedience to the commands and an overflow of peace, love, and joy in the holy ghost, among other things. The wheat bears fruit. I wish I could link to it, but it was on a DVD a friend shared with me.
Another piece: Ben A.’s teaching about the korban animal offerings as symbolic of us bringing our animal nature–everything about us no matter how ungodly–to God and surrendering everything to Him to use for His glory.
Last piece: Cornelius in Acts 10 is told that his alms (charitable giving, a kind of fruit) has come up before God as a memorial.
So putting those three pieces together, at least until I find out I’m wrong, I’m thinking I can read the grain offering as symbolic of bringing to God the fruit that His own spirit bore in us, that is to say, offering to God the obedience He caused in us, the fruit of walking in all the ways He commands.
And, notice, God doesn’t take it all on the altar. Now, before you suggest that it’s because He hates our obedience to him, let’s remember that God calls it “a sweet savour.” I think He only takes a memorial portion of the grain offering because when we bear fruit in this world, when we obey His commands, God gets a handful of happiness out of that, but the bulk of that fruit is left down here where it brings goodness and mercy to other people. The commands are simply the fine print of how to “love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” The commands demonstrate love to other people.
Cornelius is my example: his fruit changed the world. Poor people had better lives because of Cornelius. So, sure, God was pleased that Cornelius bore fruit, but the bulk of his fruit remained here where it benefited real people with real needs just like the bulk of the grain offering remained to benefit the Levites.
That’s my take on it. How do you see it?