Leviticus 22:1-16

22 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell Aaron and his sons to be careful with the holy gifts of the sons of Israel, which they dedicate to Me, so as not to profane My holy name; I am the Lord. Say to them, ‘If any man among all your [a]descendants throughout your generations approaches the holy gifts which the sons of Israel dedicate to the Lord, while he has an uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from before Me; I am the Lord. No man of the [b]descendants of Aaron, who is a leper or who has a discharge, may eat of the holy gifts until he is clean. And if one touches anything made unclean by a corpse or if a man has a seminal emission, or if a man touches any teeming things by which he is made unclean, or any man by whom he is made unclean, whatever his uncleanness; [c]person who touches any such shall be unclean until evening, and shall not eat of the holy gifts unless he has bathed his [d]body in water. But when the sun sets, he will be clean, and afterward he shall eat of the holy gifts, for it is his [e]food. He shall not eat an animal which dies or is torn by beasts, becoming unclean by it; I am the Lord. They shall therefore keep My charge, so that they will not bear sin because of it and die thereby because they profane it; I am the Lord who sanctifies them.

10 ‘No [f]layman, however, is to eat the holy gift; a sojourner with the priest or a hired man shall not eat of the holy gift11 But if a priest buys a [g]slave as his property with his money, [h]that one may eat of it, and those who are born in his house may eat of his [i]food. 12 If a priest’s daughter is married to a [j]layman, she shall not eat of the [k]offering of the gifts13 But if a priest’s daughter becomes a widow or divorced, and has no child and returns to her father’s house as in her youth, she shall eat of her father’s [l]food; but no [m]layman shall eat of it. 14 But if a man eats a holy giftunintentionally, then he shall add to it a fifth of it and shall give the holy gift to the priest. 15 They shall not profane the holy gifts of the sons of Israel which they offer to the Lord, 16 and so cause them to bear [n]punishment for guilt by eating their holy gifts; for I am the Lord who sanctifies them.’”

It almost seems like a “holier than thou” attitude here, like “these gifts are too good for you, keep your layman hands off it!” But we need to remember that the “holy gifts” here are portions of the sacrifices that people brought, and that was essentially their payment as priests. They didn’t have another job, so the “holy gifts” were all they add.

In order to ensure that the priests had enough food, God made strict rules to make sure they weren’t taken advantage of. Essentially, it’d be like going over to your pastor’s house for dinner and just pigging out all the time. The idea was that you should bring your own food so the priest doesn’t have to provide for you, same for his daughter if she marries outside the priesthood. She has a husband to provide now, and doesn’t need her father’s provision anymore.

God was very serious about making sure the priests were taken care of, and we should be very intentional about taking care of our priests/pastors as well. They have dedicated their lives to serving God, and we ought to remember and honor that dedication.

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