Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 4:1-20

Then the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “Take [a]a census of the [b]descendants of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, by their families, by their fathers’ households, from thirty years and upward, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service to do the work in the tent of meeting. This is the work of the [c]descendants of Kohath in the tent of meeting, concerning the most holy things.

“When the camp sets out, Aaron and his sons shall go in and they shall take down the veil of the screen and cover the ark of the testimony with it; and they shall lay a covering of porpoise skin on it, and shall spread over it a cloth of pure [d]blue, and shall insert its poles. Over the table of the bread of the Presence they shall also spread a cloth of [e]blue and put on it the dishes and the pans and the sacrificial bowls and the jars for the drink offering, and the continual bread shall be on it.They shall spread over them a cloth of scarlet material, and cover the same with a covering of porpoise skin, and they shall insert its poles. Then they shall take a [f]blue cloth and cover the lampstand for the light, along with its lamps and its snuffers, and its [g]trays and all its oil vessels, by which they serve it; 10 and they shall put it and all its utensils in a covering of porpoise skin, and shall put it on the carrying bars. 11 Over the golden altar they shall spread a [h]blue cloth and cover it with a covering of porpoise skin, and shall insert its poles; 12 and they shall take all the utensils of service, with which they serve in the sanctuary, and put them in a [i]blue cloth and cover them with a covering of porpoise skin, and put them on the carrying bars. 13 Then they shall take away the [j]ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth over it. 14 They shall also put on it all its utensils by which they serve in connection with it: the firepans, the forks and shovels and the basins, all the utensils of the altar; and they shall spread a cover of porpoise skin over it and insert its poles. 15 When Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy objectsand all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is to set out, after that the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them, so that they will not touch the holy objectsand die. These are the [k]things in the tent of meeting which the sons of Kohath are to carry.

16 “The responsibility of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest is the oil for the light and the fragrant incense and the continual grain offering and the anointing oil—the responsibility of all the [l]tabernacle and of all that is in it, with the sanctuary and its furnishings.”

17 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 18 “Do not let the tribe of the families of the Kohathites be cut off from among the Levites. 19 But do this to them that they may live and not die when they approach the most holy objects: Aaron and his sons shall go in and assign each of them to his work and to his load;20 but they shall not go in to see the holy objects even for a moment, or they will die.”

I think it is a bit interesting that only those between the ages of thirty and fifty that were allowed to serve among the Kohathites. For one, they respected their elders much more in those days (or that is my impression). So once they were older, they were not expected to keep earning their keep. They had earned the right to rest a bit. Now, fifty may seem young, but keep in mind that the life expectancy back then was likely not nearly as long as today, although Moses certainly lived much longer.

Carrying the sacred objects during a long journey would have been an arduous task at any rate, and so God limits the task to those who would be well-equipped physically.

It is a sobering thought that those under thirty needed to be excluded from service, likely because of the huge responsibility, and the warning that comes at the end of the passage. If they even saw the holy objects, they would die, and it doesn’t seem God trusted them to take this seriously enough. They were certainly old enough to fight based on previous chapters, but not responsible enough yet to carry the most sacred objects from the tabernacle.

So first, we ought to be sure to take care of our Pastors while we have them, and look out for their retirement, not expecting them to serve until they fall over and die. While it isn’t necessary to force a Pastor into retirement, a minister should not feel compelled to work all his living days just because no church ever thought to take thought for his retirement.

Secondly, those of us in ministry should take our calling with great seriousness. Yes, God is fun, and enjoys a good laugh (with and at us I’m sure), but there is a gravity to being in ministry that should not be forsaken. It should show that you take your calling very seriously.

Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 3

Levites to Be Priesthood

Now these are the records of the generations of Aaron and Moses at the time when the Lord spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai. These then are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests, whom he [a]ordained to serve as priests. But Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord when they offered strange fire before the Lord in the wilderness of Sinai; and they had no children. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests [b]in the lifetime of their father Aaron.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Bring the tribe of Levi near and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him. They shall perform the duties for [c]him and for the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle. They shall also keep all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, along with the duties of the sons of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. You shall thus give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons; they are wholly given to him from among the sons of Israel. 10 So you shall appoint Aaron and his sons that they may keep their priesthood, but the [d]layman who comes near shall be put to death.”

11 Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine. 13 For all the firstborn are Mine; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, from man to beast. They shall be Mine; I am the Lord.”

14 Then the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying, 15 [e]Number the sons of Levi by their fathers’ households, by their families; every male from a month old and upward you shall number.” 16 So Moses numbered them according to the [f]word of the Lord, just as he had been commanded. 17 These then are the sons of Levi by their names: Gershon and Kohath and Merari. 18 These are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families: Libni and Shimei; 19 and the sons of Kohath by their families: Amram and Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel; 20 and the sons of Merari by their families: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their fathers’ households.

21 Of Gershon was the family of the Libnites and the family of the Shimeites; these were the families of the Gershonites. 22 Their numbered men, in the numbering of every male from a month old and upward, even their numbered men were 7,500.23 The families of the Gershonites were to camp behind the [g]tabernacle westward,24 and the leader of the fathers’ households of the Gershonites was Eliasaph the son of Lael.

Duties of the Priests

25 Now the duties of the sons of Gershon in the tent of meeting involved the tabernacle and the tent, its covering, and the screen for the doorway of the tent of meeting, 26 and the hangings of the court, and the screen for the doorway of the court which is around the tabernacle and the altar, and its cords, according to all the service [h]concerning them.

27 Of Kohath was the family of the Amramites and the family of the Izharites and the family of the Hebronites and the family of the Uzzielites; these were the families of the Kohathites. 28 In the numbering of every male from a month old and upward, there were 8,600, performing the duties of the sanctuary. 29 The families of the sons of Kohath were to camp on the southward side of the tabernacle, 30 and the leader of the fathers’ households of the Kohathite families was [i]Elizaphan the son of Uzziel. 31 Now their duties involved the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, and the utensils of the sanctuary with which they minister, and the screen, and all the service [j]concerning them; 32 and Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest was the chief of the leaders of Levi, and had the oversight of those who perform the duties of the sanctuary.

33 Of Merari was the family of the Mahlites and the family of the Mushites; these were the families of Merari. 34 Their numbered men in the numbering of every male from a month old and upward, were 6,200. 35 The leader of the fathers’ households of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihail. They were to camp on the northward side of the tabernacle. 36 Now the appointed duties of the sons of Merari involved the frames of the tabernacle, its bars, its pillars, its sockets, all its equipment, and the service concerning them, 37 and the pillars around the court with their sockets and their pegs and their cords.

38 Now those who were to camp before the tabernacle eastward, before the tent of meeting toward the sunrise, are Moses and Aaron and his sons, performing the duties of the sanctuary for the obligation of the sons of Israel; but the [k]layman coming near was to be put to death. 39 All the numbered men of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron numbered at the [l]command of the Lord by their families, every male from a month old and upward, were 22,000.

Firstborn Redeemed

40 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Number every firstborn male of the sons of Israel from a month old and upward, and [m]make a list of their names. 41 You shall take the Levites for Me, I am the Lord, instead of all the firstborn among the sons of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the cattle of the sons of Israel.” 42 So Moses numbered all the firstborn among the sons of Israel, just as the Lord had commanded him; 43 and all the firstborn males by the number of names from a month old and upward, for their numbered men were 22,273.

44 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the sons of Israel and the cattle of the Levites. And the Levites shall be Mine; I am the Lord. 46 For the ransom of the 273 of the firstborn of the sons of Israel who are in excess beyond the Levites, 47 you shall take five shekels apiece, per head; you shall take them in terms of the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty [n]gerahs), 48 and give the money, the ransom of those who are in excess among them, to Aaron and to his sons.” 49 So Moses took the ransom money from those who were in excess, beyond those ransomed by the Levites;50 from the firstborn of the sons of Israel he took the money in terms of the shekel of the sanctuary, 1,365. 51 Then Moses gave the ransom money to Aaron and to his sons, at the [o]command of the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

There is an interesting contrast here, when God lays claim to the firstborn of all the people and animals of Israel. With the culture of those living in Canaan, it would not have been unheard of to sacrifice these firstborn to their gods. But in contrast, God wants the Israelites to redeem the firstborn, and he provides the bulk of the redemption by setting apart the Levites for service in worship to himself.

The remaining few are to be redeemed by an offering of silver. This redemption is something that runs through into the New Testament when Jesus comes. God never intended for men to die in their sin, He wants to redeem everyone he can. And thus the price was paid, once for all, to any who would accept the redemption paid by God. You can’t do it on your own, but He already took care of it for you.

Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 2

Arrangement of the Camps

Now the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “The sons of Israel shall camp, each by his own standard, with the [a]banners of their fathers’ households; they shall camp around the tent of meeting [b]at a distance. Now those who camp on the east side toward the sunrise shall be of the standard of the camp of Judah, by their armies, and the leader of the sons of Judah: Nahshon the son of Amminadab, and his army, even their [c]numbered men, 74,600. Those who camp next to him shall be the tribe of Issachar, and the leader of the sons of Issachar: Nethanel the son of Zuar, and his army, even their numbered men, 54,400. Then comes the tribe of Zebulun, and the leader of the sons of Zebulun: Eliab the son of Helon, and his army, even his numbered men, 57,400. The total of the numbered men of the camp of Judah: 186,400, by their armies. They shall set out first.

10 “On the south side shall be the standard of the camp of Reuben by their armies, and the leader of the sons of Reuben: Elizur the son of Shedeur, 11 and his army, even their numbered men, 46,500. 12 Those who camp next to him shall be the tribe of Simeon, and the leader of the sons of Simeon: Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, 13 and his army, even their numbered men, 59,300. 14 Then comes the tribe of Gad, and the leader of the sons of Gad: Eliasaph the son of [d]Deuel, 15 and his army, even their numbered men, 45,650. 16 The total of the numbered men of the camp of Reuben: 151,450 by their armies. And they shall set out second.

17 “Then the tent of meeting shall set out with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camps; just as they camp, so they shall set out, every man in his place by their standards.

18 “On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim by their armies, and the leader of the sons of Ephraim shall be Elishama the son of Ammihud,19 and his army, even their numbered men, 40,500. 20 Next to him shall be the tribe of Manasseh, and the leader of the sons of Manasseh: Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, 21 and his army, even their numbered men, 32,200. 22 Then comes the tribe of Benjamin, and the leader of the sons of Benjamin: Abidan the son of Gideoni, 23 and his army, even their numbered men, 35,400. 24 The total of the numbered men of the camp of Ephraim: 108,100, by their armies. And they shall set out third.

25 “On the north side shall be the standard of the camp of Dan by their armies, and the leader of the sons of Dan: Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, 26 and his army, even their numbered men, 62,700. 27 Those who camp next to him shall be the tribe of Asher, and the leader of the sons of Asher: Pagiel the son of Ochran, 28 and his army, even their numbered men, 41,500. 29 Then comes the tribe of Naphtali, and the leader of the sons of Naphtali: Ahira the son of Enan, 30 and his army, even their numbered men, 53,400. 31 The total of the numbered men of the camp of Dan was 157,600. They shall set out last by their standards.”

32 These are the numbered men of the sons of Israel by their fathers’ households; the total of the numbered men of the camps by their armies, 603,550. 33 The Levites, however, were not numbered among the sons of Israel, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 34 Thus the sons of Israel did; according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so they camped by their standards, and so they set out, every one by his family according to his father’s household.

This seems pretty cut and dried on the surface, but I think even here God had a design. He instructed them to march under the banner of their own tribe, I think for loyalty. This would give them a bit of camaraderie as they marched together in the coming months and years, and as they went into battle. And what better way to divide them up, than by their families? The family bond is the most natural one, and this would strengthen those bonds, and give them the strength to fight side by side (which they would need soon).

Sometimes our divisions seem odd, petty, almost arbitrary, but one thing we CAN do, is to strengthen those in our own clan/group, and don’t be divisive. Build each other up, and avoid any chance of tearing each other down.

Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 1

The Census of Israel’s Warriors

Then the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Take a [a]census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, every male, head by head from twenty years old and upward, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel, you and Aaron shall [b]number them by their armies.With you, moreover, there shall be a man of each tribe, each one head of his father’s household. These then are the names of the men who shall stand with you: of Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; of Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; of Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; of Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; of Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; 10 of the sons of Joseph: of Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; of Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; 11 of Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; 12 of Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; 13 of Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran; 14 of Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel; 15 of Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan. 16 These are they who were called of the congregation, the leaders of their fathers’ tribes; they were the heads of [c]divisions of Israel.”

17 So Moses and Aaron took these men who had been designated by name, 18 and they assembled all the congregation together on the first of the second month. Then they registered by ancestry in their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, head by head, 19 just as the Lord had commanded Moses. So he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.

20 Now the sons of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 21 their numbered men of the tribe of Reuben were 46,500.

22 Of the sons of Simeon, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers’ households, their numbered men, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 23 their numbered men of the tribe of Simeon were 59,300.

24 Of the sons of Gad, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 25 their numbered men of the tribe of Gad were 45,650.

26 Of the sons of Judah, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 27 their numbered men of the tribe of Judah were 74,600.

28 Of the sons of Issachar, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 29 their numbered men of the tribe of Issachar were 54,400.

30 Of the sons of Zebulun, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 31 their numbered men of the tribe of Zebulun were 57,400.

32 Of the sons of Joseph, namely, of the sons of Ephraim, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war,33 their numbered men of the tribe of Ephraim were 40,500.

34 Of the sons of Manasseh, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 35 their numbered men of the tribe of Manasseh were 32,200.

36 Of the sons of Benjamin, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 37 their numbered men of the tribe of Benjamin were 35,400.

38 Of the sons of Dan, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 39 their numbered men of the tribe of Dan were 62,700.

40 Of the sons of Asher, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 41 their numbered men of the tribe of Asher were 41,500.

42 Of the sons of Naphtali, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 43 their numbered men of the tribe of Naphtali were 53,400.

44 These are the ones who were numbered, whom Moses and Aaron numbered, with the leaders of Israel, twelve men, each of whom was of his father’s household.45 So all the numbered men of the sons of Israel by their fathers’ households, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war in Israel, 46 even all the numbered men were 603,550.

Levites Exempted

47 The Levites, however, were not numbered among them by their fathers’ tribe.48 For the Lord had spoken to Moses, saying, 49 “Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor shall you take their [d]census among the sons of Israel. 50 But you shall appoint the Levites over the [e]tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furnishings and over all that belongs to it. They shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it; they shall also camp around the [f]tabernacle. 51 So when the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle encamps, the Levites shall set it up. But the [g]layman who comes near shall be put to death. 52 The sons of Israel shall camp, each man by his own camp, and each man by his own standard, according to their armies. 53 But the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that there will be no wrath on the congregation of the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall keep charge of the tabernacle of the testimony.” 54 Thus the sons of Israel did; according to all which the Lord had commanded Moses, so they did.

Later, King David would actually get in trouble for counting the warriors of Israel, because they were to rely on God as their strength rather than their numbers. I think, though, that in this case, God told them to number all the men who could fight so that there would be no wimping out.

They were going into enemy territory, and God wasn’t going to allow anyone fit to fight, to just sit in their tent while their brothers risked their necks to conquer the promised land.

With going into enemy territory also came a larger risk though. One that God had warned them of, to not worship as the people of the land worshiped, with idols, and horrible sacrifices (including children). There would be things in that land which would tempt them to stray from God’s commands, thus the Levites were not counted in the battle, and they were to camp around the tabernacle as a hedge of protection for anyone who might have sinned against God.

God knew their weakness, and was taking measures to protect them from his wrath when they inevitably gave in to their flesh. This way they could only come near to God when they were ready to repent and offer the sacrifice necessary to atone for their sin.

Categories
Uncategorized

Leviticus 27

27 Again, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When a man makes a difficult vow, he shall be valued according to your valuation of persons belonging to the Lord. If your valuation is of the male from twenty years even to sixty years old, then your valuation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. Or if it is a female, then your valuation shall be thirty shekels. If it be from five years even to twenty years old then your valuation for the male shall be twenty shekels and for the female ten shekels. But if they are from a month even up to five years old, then your valuation shall be five shekels of silver for the male, and for the female your valuation shall be three shekels of silver. If they are from sixty years old and upward, if it is a male, then your valuation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels. But if he is poorer than your valuation, then he shall be placed before the priest and the priest shall value him; according to [a]the means of the one who vowed, the priest shall value him.

‘Now if it is an animal of the kind which [b]men can present as an offering to the Lord, any such that one gives to the Lord shall be holy. 10 He shall not replace it or exchange it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good; or if he does exchange animal for animal, then both it and its substitute shall become holy. 11 If, however, it is any unclean animal of the kind which [c]men do not present as an offering to the Lord, then he shall place the animal before the priest. 12 The priest shall value it [d]as either good or bad; as you, the priest, value it, so it shall be. 13 But if he should ever wish to redeem it, then he shall add one-fifth of it to your valuation.

14 ‘Now if a man consecrates his house as holy to the Lord, then the priest shall value it [e]as either good or bad; as the priest values it, so it shall stand. 15 Yet if the one who consecrates it should wish to redeem his house, then he shall add one-fifth of your valuation price to it, so that it may be his.

16 ‘Again, if a man consecrates to the Lord part of the fields of his own property, then your valuation shall be [f]proportionate to the seed needed for it: a homer of barley seed at fifty shekels of silver. 17 If he consecrates his field as of the year of jubilee, according to your valuation it shall stand. 18 If he consecrates his field after the jubilee, however, then the priest shall calculate the price for [g]him [h]proportionate to the years that are left until the year of jubilee; and it shall be deducted from your valuation. 19 If the one who consecrates it should ever wish to redeem the field, then he shall add one-fifth of your valuation price to it, so that it may pass to him. 20 Yet if he will not redeem the field, [i]but has sold the field to another man, it may no longer be redeemed; 21 and when it [j]reverts in the jubilee, the field shall be holy to the Lord, like a field [k]set apart; it shall be for the priest as his [l]property. 22 Or if he consecrates to the Lord a field which he has bought, which is not a part of the field of his own [m]property, 23 then the priest shall calculate for [n]him the amount of your valuation up to the year of jubilee; and he shall on that day give your valuation as holy to the Lord. 24 In the year of jubilee the field shall return to the one from whom he bought it, to whom the possession of the land belongs. 25 Every valuation of yours, moreover, shall be after the shekel of the sanctuary. The shekel shall be twenty gerahs.

26 ‘However, a firstborn among animals, which as a firstborn belongs to the Lord, no man may consecrate it; whether ox or sheep, it is the Lord’s. 27 But if it is among the unclean animals, then he shall [o]redeem it according to your valuation and add to it one-fifth of it; and if it is not redeemed, then it shall be sold according to your valuation.

28 ‘Nevertheless, anything which a man [p]sets apart to the Lord out of all that he has, of man or animal or of the fields of his own property, shall not be sold or redeemed. Anything [q]devoted to destruction is most holy to the Lord. 29 No [r]one who may have been [s]set apart among men shall be ransomed; he shall surely be put to death.

30 ‘Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. 31 If, therefore, a man wishes to redeem part of his tithe, he shall add to it one-fifth of it. 32 For every tenth part of herd or flock, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord. 33 He is not to be concerned whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; or if he does exchange it, then both it and its substitute shall become holy. It shall not be redeemed.’”

34 These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the sons of Israel at Mount Sinai.

Parts of this section are rather confusing, so I had to read it again in another translation, so here’s my summary. These rules apply if you dedicate some of your property, whether a slave, and animal, a field, a house, crops, etc. If you later decide that you’d rather have just given money, then you can exchange your property by adding 20% of the value. Essentially, these were for free-will offerings and tithes, not for sacrifices. Anything that was to be sacrificed could not be redeemed at all.

These “dedications” meant that the property would become the property of the priests, and again God is protecting the priests from folks who might take advantage of them otherwise. If you want your property back, no problem, but you have to pay 20% extra to do so. No cheating the priest or anything like that, since the priest would actually determine the value based on the law.

I can’t say as I’ve ever heard of any such thing around here, but if there’s a lesson in all this, it’s to give with a generous heart, and not be stingy or try to be controlling about what we give. Once we give, it belongs to the church, and to God, and we relinquish any rights to that property/money.

Categories
Uncategorized

Leviticus 26:14-46

14 ‘But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, 15 if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant, 16 I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that will waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you will sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies will eat it up. 17 I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you. 18 If also after these things you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 I will also break down your pride of power; I will also make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze. 20 Your strength will be spent uselessly, for your land will not yield its produce and the trees of the land will not yield their fruit.

21 ‘If then, you [f]act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins. 22 I will let loose among you the beasts of the field, which will bereave you of your children and destroy your cattle and reduce your number so that your roads lie deserted.

23 ‘And if by these things you are not turned to Me, but act with hostility against Me,24 then I will act with hostility against you; and I, even I, will strike you seven times for your sins. 25 I will also bring upon you a sword which will execute vengeance for the covenant; and when you gather together into your cities, I will send pestilence among you, so that you shall be delivered into enemy hands. 26 When I break your staff of bread, ten women will bake your bread in one oven, and they will bring back your bread [g]in rationed amounts, so that you will eat and not be satisfied.

27 ‘Yet if in spite of this you do not obey Me, but act with hostility against Me, 28 then I will act with wrathful hostility against you, and I, even I, will punish you seven times for your sins. 29 Further, you will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you will eat. 30 I then will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your [h]remains on the [i]remains of your idols, for My soul shall abhor you. 31 I will [j]lay waste your cities as well and will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your soothing aromas. 32 I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it will be appalled over it. 33 You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste.

34 ‘Then the land will [k]enjoy its sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land will rest and [l]enjoy its sabbaths. 35 All the days of its desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your sabbaths, while you were living on it. 36 As for those of you who may be left, I will also bring weakness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. And the sound of a driven leaf will chase them, and even when no one is pursuing they will flee [m]as though from the sword, and they will fall. 37 They will therefore stumble over each other as if running from the sword, although no one is pursuing; and you will have no strength [n]to stand up before your enemies. 38 But you will perish among the nations, and your enemies’ land will consume you. 39 So those of you who may be left will rot away because of their iniquity in the lands of your enemies; and also because of the iniquities of their forefathers they will rot away with them.

40 ‘If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me— 41 I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies—or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land will be abandoned by them, and will make up for its sabbaths while it is made desolate without them. They, meanwhile, will be making amends for their iniquity, [o]because they rejected My ordinances and their soul abhorred My statutes. 44 Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God. 45 But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.’”

46 These are the statutes and ordinances and laws which the Lord established between Himself and the sons of Israel [p]through Moses at Mount Sinai.

Even with this warning, and these dire consequences, the Israelites would forsake God, and turn to their own ways. But before we get too hard on them, we ought to remember that the eternal punishment for not following God is much worse, and many still turn away from God even still.

But God is patient and merciful, just as He gave the Jews a second chance (many times), and as He gave the city of Nineveh a second chance, so too He gives us a second chance. His mercy is new every morning, and boy do we need it. Thank God for his mercy and grace, poured out on us, who are so undeserving. Thank Him every day!

Categories
Uncategorized

Leviticus 26:1-13

26 ‘You shall not make for yourselves [a]idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down [b]to it; for I am the Lord your God. You shall keep My sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the Lord. If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your [c]food to the full and live securely in your land. I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land. But you will chase your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword; five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword. So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you. 10 You will eat the old supply and clear out the old because of the new. 11 Moreover, I will make My [d]dwelling among you, and My soul will not [e]reject you. 12 I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. 13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

That’s an amazing promise, but also a sobering passage. All the Jews had to do was follow God’s commands, and all these blessings would be theirs and their children’s. God would even go so far as to eliminate harmful beasts from their land and protect them from invasion (which he did do on numerous occasions).

The Jews did not hold up their end of the bargain, and yet God redeemed them time and again. Think though, of the blessings they missed in their disobedience. God’s word is full of promises, and while He doesn’t always promise sunshine and roses to those that follow Him today, what promises and blessings do we miss out on because we don’t obey.

Keep your ears open, and your heart in tune with His, that you hear His voice, and know what He asks of you. Don’t miss out on a blessing because you were too busy doing things your own way.

Categories
Uncategorized

Leviticus 25:47-55

47 ‘Now if the [ac]means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a [ad]countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger’s family, 48 then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him, 49 or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or [ae]if he prospers, he may redeem himself. 50 He then with his purchaser shall calculate from the year when he sold himself to him up to the year of jubilee; and the price of his sale shall correspond to the number of years. It is like the days of a hired man that he shall be with him. 51 If there are still many years, he shall refund part of his purchase price in proportion to them for his own redemption; 52 and if few years remain until the year of jubilee, he shall so calculate with him. In proportion to his years he is to refund the amount for his redemption. 53 Like a man hired year by year he shall be with him; he shall not rule over him with severity in your sight. 54 Even if he is not redeemed by [af]these means, he shall still go out in the year of jubilee, he and his sons with him. 55 For the sons of Israel are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

Again, we see that this bondage was never to be permanent, it was a means of survival when one had become so poor that they could not go on without help.

We see something new here, in that it isn’t just up to a man to save himself. The family of one who has sold himself into bondage have redemption rights on the man as well, so that they could pay off the debt of their kin and not leave their family to their own means.

Family is an important construct all through the Bible, and it’s emphasized here again. Friends may come and go, but family is precious, and we should seek to preserve those bonds through any means necessary.

Categories
Uncategorized

Leviticus 25:35-46

35 ‘Now in case a [v]countryman of yours becomes poor and his [w]means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. 36 Do not take [x]usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your [y]countryman may live with you. 37 You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain. 38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

39 ‘If a [z]countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service. 40 He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee. 41 He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers. 42 For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale. 43 You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God. 44 As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. 45 Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have [aa]produced in your land; they also may become your possession. 46 You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your [ab]countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.

The more I think about this passage, the more it feels like a case where Jesus came to make the law perfect. For here it provides protection for the children of Israel. And it told them not to take advantage of each other. And it tells them to treat each other well, even if one becomes “enslaved” to another.

But as Jesus said, the law was not perfect, and He told us to love even our enemies. So that even slaves they might have purchased elsewhere should not be treated as slaves, but as hired men (and women). The original purpose of slavery was not to buy cheap labor, it was to pay off debt. If you couldn’t pay your bills, you sold your own labor as a slave. This is a far cry from the slavery we knew in our nation, which was mixed in with racism to make it worse. I’m sure there were exceptional folks who treated their slaves well, but even then, the racial attitudes toward anyone of minority was horrendous (and still is sometimes).

The slavery addressed in this passage is not unlike our modern system of debt, and indeed, being in debt to a bank is little different than being their slave. Your money is no longer your own, you must pay back the debt with your own labor (represented by the wages you earn).

The lesson remains, the law was not perfect, and God would not have us take advantage of others when lending money, and indeed, it nearly seems that we ought not to lend at all. But when we have the means and we see a need, we ought to give willingly to support our fellow man.

Categories
Uncategorized

Leviticus 25:23-34

23 ‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. 24 Thus for every [j]piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land.

25 ‘If a [k]fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his [l]relative has sold. 26 Or in case a man has no kinsman, but so [m]recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption, 27 then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property.28 But if [n]he has not found sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hands of its purchaser until the year of jubilee; but at the jubilee it shall [o]revert, that he may return to his property.

29 ‘Likewise, if a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, then his redemption right remains valid until a full year from its sale; his right of redemption lasts a full year. 30 But if it is not bought back for him within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city passes permanently to its purchaser throughout his generations; it does not [p]revert in the jubilee. 31 The houses of the villages, however, which have no surrounding wall shall be considered [q]as open fields; they have redemption rights and [r]revert in the jubilee. 32 As for cities of the Levites, the Levites have a permanent right of redemption for the houses of the cities which are their possession. 33 What, therefore, [s]belongs to the Levites may be redeemed and a house sale [t]in the city of this possession [u]reverts in the jubilee, for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the sons of Israel.34 But pasture fields of their cities shall not be sold, for that is their perpetual possession.

Here God goes into a bit more detail about redemption rights and the year of jubilee. It is clarified that only fields (which includes houses on property outside a walled city), can be redeemed. The sale of a house inside the city is a permanent deal.

Beyond this, I think it interesting that the cities of the Levites (the tribe of the priests and those who served in religious duties), had a different rule. Their houses could not be permanently sold, and their fields could not be sold at all. God (again) took special care of those who were in a role of ministry, to ensure they always had the means to provide (via their fields), and essentially they could only “rent out” their house, with a term up to 50 years.

As I’ve said before, it is not a light responsibility to take care of a Pastor and his family. We should do our best to provide for them, in accordance with the importance that God places upon their role in the church.