Posts Tagged ‘Leviticus’


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Disobedience can Kill

10:1-2 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihua took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

What was the “unauthorized fire” that Nadab and Abihu offered before the Lord? The nature of Nadab and Abihu’s wrongdoing is debated, but it clearly involved the burning of incense. The “unauthorized fire” could mean “foreign” (as in Psalm 44:20; 81:9), and thus “unauthorized” (see Exodus 30:9) or even “pagan.” Apparently, Nadab and Abihu used fire from a source not approved by God (Numbers 3:4; 26:61), possibly even a pagan source. It has also been suggested that the two priests gave an offering at an unprescribed time. Whatever explanation is correct, the point is that Nadab and Abihu abused their office as priests in a flagrant act of disrespect to God, who had just reviewed with them precisely how they were to conduct worship. As leaders, they had special responsibility to obey God. In their position, they could easily lead many people astray.

Aaron’s sons were careless about following the laws for sacrifices. In response, God destroyed them with a blast of fire. Performing the sacrifices was an act of obedience. Doing them correctly showed respect for God. It is easy for us to grow careless about obeying God, to live our way instead of God’s. But if one way were just as good as another, God would not have commanded us to live his way. He always has good reasons for his commands, and we always place ourselves in danger when we consciously or carelessly disobey them.

Lets Bring it Home: If God has commissioned you to lead or teach others, never take that role for granted or abuse it. Stay faithful to God and follow his instructions.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 6:12-13

12The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it.
13The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out. 
While the previous offerings and sacrifices were ones that the people did, the section from 6:8–7:38 deals with general and continual priestly duties. The burnt offering was presented in the morning and evening for the whole nation (see Exodus 29:38-43). The holy fire on the altar had to keep burning because God had started it. This represented God’s continual presence in the sacrificial system. It showed the people that only by God’s gracious favor could their sacrifices be acceptable.

Lets Bring it Home: God’s fire is present in each believer’s life today. He lights the fire when the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, and he tends it so that we will grow in grace as we walk with him. When we are aware that God lives in us, we have confidence to come to him for forgiveness and restoration. We can carry out our work with strength and enthusiasm.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Leviticus 5:14-19 (The Guilt Offering)

14 – 19 The LORD said to Moses: 15“When anyone is unfaithful to the LORD by sinning unintentionally in regard to any of the LORD’s holy things, they are to bring to the LORD as a penalty a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value in silver, according to the sanctuary shekel. It is a guilt offering. 16They must make restitution for what they have failed to do in regard to the holy things, pay an additional penalty of a fifth of its value and give it all to the priest. The priest will make atonement for them with the ram as a guilt offering, and they will be forgiven.

    17“If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible. 18They are to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the wrong they have committed unintentionally, and they will be forgiven. 19It is a guilt offering; they have been guilty of wrongdoing against the LORD.” 

The guilt offering was a way of taking care of sin committed unintentionally. It was for those who sinned in some way against “holy things”—the tabernacle or the priesthood—as well as for those who unintentionally sinned against someone. In either case, a ram with no defects had to be sacrificed, plus those harmed by the sin had to be compensated for their loss, plus a 20 percent penalty.

Lets Bring it Home: Even though Christ’s death has made guilt offerings unnecessary for us today, we still need to make things right with those we hurt.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Leviticus 4 (The Sin Offering) 

1-3: The LORD said to Moses, 2“Say to the Israelites: ‘When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands   

  3“ ‘If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the LORD a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed

The sin offering was for those who: (1) committed a sin without realizing it or (2) committed a sin out of weakness or negligence as opposed to outright rebellion against God. Both individuals and groups could be guilty of unintentional sin. Different animals were sacrificed for the different kinds of sin. The death of Jesus Christ was the final sin offering in the Bible

13-14 “ ‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, when they realize their guilt 14and the sin they committed becomes known, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the tent of meeting.

22-25“ ‘When a leader sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the commands of the LORD his God, when he realizes his guilt 23and the sin he has committed becomes known, he must bring as his offering a male goat without defect. 24He is to lay his hand on the goat’s head and slaughter it at the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered before the LORD. It is a sin offering. 

27-29 “ ‘If any member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, when they realize their guilt 28and the sin they have committed becomes known, they must bring as their offering for the sin they committed a female goat without defect. 29They are to lay their hand on the head of the sin offering and slaughter it at the place of the burnt offering. 

In this way the priest will make atonement for the man’s sin, and he will be forgiven. (This statement is mention 4 times in Chapter 4 after each Offering). 

Have you ever done something wrong without realizing it until later? Although your sin was unintentional, it was still sin. God’s commands served to make the Israelites aware of their sins (even the unintentional ones) so they could be forgiven for them, and to keep the people from repeating those sins. Leviticus 4 and 5 mention some of these unintentional sins and the way the Israelites could be forgiven for them.

Lets Bring it Home: As you read more of God’s laws, keep in mind that they were meant to teach and guide the people. Let them help you become more aware of sin in your life.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 3:1-17
The Fellowship Offering: A person gave a fellowship offering as an expression of gratitude and a means of maintaining fellowship between himself and God. The animal’s sacrificed life emphasized the value of gratitude and maintaining harmony with God. Neither peace with God nor thanks to God was to be considered a cheap or unimportant gift. Because it symbolized peace with God, part of the offering could be eaten by the person presenting it.

1“ ‘If your offering is a fellowship offering, and you offer an animal from the herd, whether male or female, you are to present before the LORD an animal without defect. 2You are to lay your hand on the head of your offering and slaughter it at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall splash the blood against the sides of the altar. 3From the fellowship offering you are to bring a food offering to the LORD: the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them, 4both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which you will remove with the kidneys. 5Then Aaron’s sons are to burn it on the altar on top of the burnt offering that is lying on the burning wood; it is a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

The peace-offerings had regard to God as the giver of all good things. These were divided between the altar, the priest, and the owner. They were called peace-offering, because in them God and his people did, as it were, feast together, in token of friendship. The peace-offerings were offered by way of supplication. If a man were in pursuit of any mercy, he would add a peace-offering to his prayer for it. Christ is our Peace, our Peace-offering; for through him alone it is that we can obtain an answer of peace to our prayers. Or, the peace-offering was offered by way of thanksgiving for some mercy received.

Lets Bring it Home: We must offer to God the sacrifice of praise continually, by Christ our Peace; and then this shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock.

6“ ‘If you offer an animal from the flock as a fellowship offering to the LORD, you are to offer a male or female without defect. 7If you offer a lamb, you are to present it before the LORD,s 8lay your hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar. 9From the fellowship offering you are to bring a food offering to the LORD: its fat, the entire fat tail cut off close to the backbone, the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them, 10both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which you will remove with the kidneys. 11The priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering presented to the LORD.
12“ ‘If your offering is a goat, you are to present it before the LORD, 13lay your hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar. 14From what you offer you are to present this food offering to the LORD: the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them, 15both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which you will remove with the kidneys. 16The priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering, a pleasing aroma. All the fat is the LORD’s.
17“ ‘This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood.’ ”

Here is a law that they should eat neither fat nor blood. As for the fat, it means the fat of the inwards, the suet. The blood was forbidden for the same reason; because it was God’s part of every sacrifice. God would not permit the blood that made atonement to be used as a common thing, Hebrews 10:29; nor will he allow us, though we have the comfort of the atonement made, to claim for ourselves any share in the honour of making it. This taught the Jews to observe distinction between common and sacred things; it kept them separate from idolaters. It would impress them more deeply with the belief of some important mystery in the shedding of the blood and the burning the fat of their solemn sacrifices. Christ, as the Prince of peace, “made peace with the blood of his cross.” Through him the believer is reconciled to God; and having the peace of God in his heart, he is disposed to follow peace with all men.

Lets Bring it Home: May the Lord multiply grace, mercy, and peace, to all who desire to bear the Christian character.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Leviticus 1

WORSHIPING A HOLY GOD (1:1—17:16)

The Israelites have arrived safely at the foot of Mount Sinai, and the Tabernacle has been completed. The people will spend a great deal of time here as God shows them a new way of life with clear instructions on how sinful people can relate to a holy God. These instructions help us avoid taking our relationship with the same holy God too lightly. We learn about the holiness and majesty of the God with whom we are allowed to have a personal relationship.

Leviticus 1:1-17 Instructions for the offerings

1The LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said, 2“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When anyone among you brings an offering to the LORD, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.

The book of Leviticus begins where the book of Exodus ends—at the foot of Mount Sinai. The tabernacle was just completed (Exodus 35–40), and God was ready to teach the people how to worship there.

This “tent of meeting” where God met with Moses was the tabernacle’s tent. This was the centerpiece of the tabernacle complex, with its surrounding courtyard, and it contained the sanctuary (or Holy Place) in one part and the Most Holy Place with the ark in another part. These two sections were separated by a curtain. God revealed himself to Moses in the Most Holy Place. Exodus 33:7 mentions a “tent of meeting” where Moses met God before the actual tabernacle was constructed. Many believe it served the same function as the one described here.

    3“ ‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tenth of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the LORD. 4You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you.

The first offering God describes is the burnt offering. A person who had sinned brought an animal with no defects to a priest. The unblemished animal symbolized the moral perfection demanded by a holy God and the perfect nature of the real sacrifice to come—Jesus Christ. The person then laid his hand on the head of the animal to symbolize the person’s complete identification with the animal as his substitute. Then he killed the animal, and the priest sprinkled the blood. He symbolically transferred his sins to the animal, and thus his sins were taken away (atonement). Finally the animal (except for the blood and skin) was burned on the altar, signifying the person’s complete dedication to God. God required more than a sacrifice, of course. He also asked the sinner to have an attitude of repentance. The outward symbol (the sacrifice) and the inner change (repentance) were to work together.

5You are to slaughter the young bull before the LORD, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 6You are to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces. 7The sons of Aaron the priest are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 8Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar. 9You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

    10“ ‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the flock, from either the sheep or the goats, you are to offer a male without defect. 11You are to slaughter it at the north side of the altar before the LORD, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar. 12You are to cut it into pieces, and the priest shall arrange them, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar. 13You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to bring all of them and burn them on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.  

The “aroma pleasing to the LORD” is a way of saying that God accepted the sacrifice because the people’s attitude was pleasing to him.

Why are there such detailed regulations for each offering? God had a purpose in giving these commands. Starting from scratch, he was teaching his people a whole new way of life, cleansing them from the many pagan practices they had learned in Egypt, and restoring true worship of himself. The strict details kept Israel from slipping back into their old lifestyle. In addition, each law paints a graphic picture of the seriousness of sin and of God’s great mercy in forgiving sinners.

 14“ ‘If the offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, you are to offer a dove or a young pigeon. 15The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off the head and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. 16He is to remove the crop and the feathers and throw them down east of the altar where the ashes are. 17He shall tear it open by the wings, not dividing it completely, and then the priest shall burn it on the wood that is burning on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 

Israel was not the only nation to sacrifice animals. Many other religions did it as well to try to please their gods. Some cultures even included human sacrifice, which was strictly forbidden by God. However, the meaning of Israel’s animal sacrifices was clearly different from that of their pagan neighbors’ sacrifices. The Israelites sacrificed animals, not just to appease God’s wrath, but as a substitute for the punishment they deserved for their sins. A sacrifice showed faith in God and commitment to his laws. Most important, this system foreshadowed the day when the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) would die and conquer sin once and for all.

Lets Bring it Home: it is important to remember that neither sacrifice nor repentance actually caused the sin to be taken away. God alone forgives sin. Fortunately for us, forgiveness is part of God’s loving nature. Have you responded to God’s offer to forgive you?


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

THE BLUEPRINT

  1. WORSHIPING A HOLY GOD (1:1–17:16)  
  2. Instructions for the offerings
  3. Instructions for the priests
  4. Instructions for the people
  5. Instructions for the altar

God provided specific directions for the kind of worship that would be pleasing to him. These instructions teach us about the nature of God and can help us develop a right attitude toward worship. Through the offerings we learn of the seriousness of sin and the importance of bringing our sins to God for forgiveness.

  1. LIVING A HOLY LIFE (18:1–27:34)
  2. Standards for the people
  3. Rules for priests
  4. Seasons and festivals
  5. Receiving God’s blessing

God gave clear standards to the Israelites for living a holy life. They were to be separate and distinct from the pagan nations around them. In the same way, all believers should be separated from sin and dedicated to God. God still wants to remove sin from the lives of his people.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

MEGATHEMES

Sacrifice/Offering

EXPLANATION: There are five kinds of offerings that fulfill two main purposes: one to show praise, thankfulness, and devotion; the other for atonement, the covering and removal of guilt and sin. Animal offerings demonstrated that the person was giving his or her life to God by means of the life of the animal.

IMPORTANCE: The sacrifices (offerings) were for worship and forgiveness of sin. Through them we learn about the cost of sin, for we see that we cannot forgive ourselves. God’s system says that a life must be given for a life. In the Old Testament, an animal’s life was given to save the life of a person. But this was only a temporary measure until Jesus’ death paid the penalty of sin for all people forever.

Worship

EXPLANATION: Seven festivals were designated as religious and national holidays. They were often celebrated in family settings. These events teach us much about worshiping God in both celebration and quiet dedication.

IMPORTANCE: God’s rules about worship set up an orderly, regular pattern of fellowship with him. They allowed times for celebration and thanksgiving as well as for reverence and rededication. Our worship should demonstrate our deep devotion.

Health

EXPLANATION: Civil rules for handling food, disease, and sex were taught. In these physical principles, many spiritual principles were suggested. Israel was to be different from the surrounding nations. God was preserving Israel from disease and community health problems.

IMPORTANCE: We are to be different morally and spiritually from the unbelievers around us. Principles for healthy living are as important today as in Moses’ time. A healthy environment and a healthy body make our service to God more effective.

Holiness

EXPLANATION: Holy means “separated” or “devoted.” God removed his people from Egypt; now he was removing Egypt from the people. He was showing them how to exchange Egyptian ways of living and thinking for his ways.

IMPORTANCE: We must devote every area of life to God. God desires absolute obedience in motives as well as practices. Though we do not observe all the worship practices of Israel, we are to have the same spirit of preparation and devotion.

Levites

EXPLANATION: The Levites and priests instructed the people in their worship. They were the ministers of their day. They also regulated the moral, civil, and ceremonial laws and supervised the health, justice, and welfare of the nation.

IMPORTANCE: The Levites were servants who showed Israel the way to God. They provide the historical backdrop for Christ, who is our High Priest and yet our Servant. God’s true servants care for all the needs of their people.


Under Gods Command 

BACK IN THE DAY! How many times have we heard this referring to the positive things, and what would have or have not happen BACK IN THE DAY.  Well lets go BACK IN THE DAY to see how things was handled before Jesus Christ came and paid the penalty for our sins.

“GOD seems so far away . . . if only I could see or hear him.” Have you ever felt this way—struggling with loneliness, burdened by despair, riddled with sin, overwhelmed by problems? Made in God’s image, we were created to have a close relationship with him; thus, when fellowship is broken, we are incomplete and need restoration. Communion with the living God is the essence of worship. It is vital, touching the very core of our lives. Perhaps this is why a whole book of the Bible is dedicated to worship. After Israel’s dramatic exit from Egypt, the nation was camped at the foot of Mount Sinai for two years to listen to God (Exodus 19 to Numbers 10). It was a time of resting, teaching, building, and meeting with him face to face. Redemption in Exodus is the foundation for cleansing, worship, and service in Leviticus.

The overwhelming message of Leviticus is the holiness of God—“Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (19:2). But how can unholy people approach a holy God? The answer—first sin must be dealt with. Thus the opening chapters of Leviticus give detailed instructions for offering sacrifices, which were the active symbols of repentance and obedience. Whether bulls, grain, goats, or sheep, the sacrificial offerings had to be perfect, with no defects or bruises—pictures of the ultimate sacrifice to come, Jesus, the Lamb of God. Jesus has come and opened the way to God by giving up his life as the final sacrifice in our place. True worship and oneness with God begin as we confess our sin and accept Christ as the only one who can redeem us from sin and help us approach God.

In Leviticus, sacrifices, priests, and the sacred Day of Atonement opened the way for the Israelites to come to God. God’s people were also to worship him with their lives. Thus we read of purity laws (chapters 11–15) and rules for daily living, concerning family responsibilities, sexual conduct, relationships, worldliness (chapters 18–20), and vows (chapter 27). These instructions involve one’s holy walk with God, and the patterns of spiritual living still apply today. Worship, therefore, has a horizontal aspect—that is, God is honored by our lives as we relate to others.

The final emphasis in Leviticus is celebration. The book gives instructions for Israel’s festivals. These were special, regular, and corporate occasions for remembering what God had done, giving thanks to him, and rededicating lives to his service (chapter 23). Our Christian traditions and holidays are different, but they are necessary ingredients of worship. We, too, need special days of worship and celebration with our spiritual brothers and sisters to remember God’s goodness in our lives.

Lets Bring it Home: As you read Leviticus, rededicate yourself to holiness, worshiping God in private confession, public service, and group celebration.