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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

September 19, 2018

Leviticus 7:1-38

  1. Verses 1-10. We begin looking at how the priest would make the guilt offerings. The guilt offerings and the sin offerings were deeply connected. The sin offering was about making atonement for the wrong, whereas the guilt offering took away the shame of the transgression. The guilt offering symbolically justified a person. Making a person as if they had never committed the offense. It is also connected to making the situation right by not only correcting the mistake, but by adding to the restitution. The guilt offering was required when a person unintentionally violated some of the Lord’s holy things. “Holy things” would normally refer to things that had been dedicated to the Lord—anything from the sanctuary itself to the portion of the offerings that were normally reserved for the priests. How this could happen inadvertently is not spelled out, but perhaps a person forgot to fulfill a vow, made some mistake in the fulfilling of it, accidently ate food that was reserved for the priests, or mistakenly ate a firstborn animal from his own flock. In these cases the offender had to bring a sacrificial animal (an unblemished ram or male lamb) to offer and also compensate the priests an extra 20 percent for what they had been deprived. (The priests and Levites were the recipients of many of the offerings that were offered to the Lord--this was the provision that the Lord made for their support, as they had no land of their own.) The offender could also bring, instead of an animal, the price of the animal in silver. When a person with a very sensitive (perhaps oversensitive) conscience thought that he might have sinned against holy property, he could bring the trespass/guilt offering “just in case,” but in that situation no restitution was made to the priests. Like before we are told that the guilt offerings are to be slaughtered where the burnt offerings were slaughtered. The blood was to be sprinkled on the altar and the fat was to be burned. The priests could eat the rest. If the guilt offerings were made by way of grain, it was to be offered up a portion as a burnt offering and eat the rest. The trespass or guilt offering is primarily about making reparations. It demonstrates the seriousness of violations against God (even accidental ones) and against one’s fellow man. An atoning sacrifice has to be made before God, and restitution has to be made to man. The trespass offering was a bloody demonstration of atonement and reconciliation, but it was also a demonstration of grace as provision was made for reparations for the wrongdoing. This Old Testament sacrifice was not the final solution. It pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ by which sinners can be restored to fellowship with God and with each other (Isaiah 53:10, Hebrews 9:15).

  2. Verses 11-21. The fellowship/peace offerings. Christ is our Peace Offering. The primary significance of the Peace Offering of the Old Testament is to be found in Jesus Christ. In the offering of the Peace Offering, the Israelite was benefited by the peace of knowing and experiencing God’s forgiveness. In fact, it was more than this. God’s anger was not just appeased, God was no longer angry with the offeror. His favor was with him. There is the sense in which Christ’s death appeased (propitiated) God’s anger, but the “Peace Offering” aspect of Christ’s work went beyond this. Because of Christ, God is no longer angry with the one who has identified with Him by faith; He is favorably disposed to Him. And because this is true, we can experience the inner peace that comes from knowing God’s favor is directed toward us. Just as our love for God is reflected in a love for man, so our “peace with God” also manifests itself in a peace with men. This is the message which Paul proclaimed in Eph. 2:13-18. A peace offering in the Old Testament Law is described in Leviticus was a voluntary sacrifice given to God in three specific instances. First, a peace offering could be given as a freewill offering, meaning that the worshiper was giving the peace offering to say thank you for God’s generosity. It was basically just a way to praise God for His goodness. The second way a peace offering could be given was alongside a fulfilled vow. A good example of this was when Hannah fulfilled her vow to God by bringing Samuel to the temple; on that occasion she also brought a peace offering to express the peace in her heart toward God concerning her sacrif1ce--it was a way to say, “I have no resentment; I am holding nothing back in the payment of my vow.” The third purpose of a peace offering was to give thanksgiving for God’s deliverance in an hour of dire need. Most sacrifices in the Old Testament system were not eaten by worshipers, but the peace offering was meant to be eaten--only a portion of the animal or grain brought to the altar was burned; the rest was given back to the worshiper and to the poor and hungry. The beautiful picture here is of God’s provision for His people, both physically and spiritually. His grace and goodness are present throughout the offerings. In the peace offering, God was providing what we need: a way to thank Him for His goodness and physical sustenance. God is not interested in taking from us. That is not His heart at all. But the lie we so often believe is that our good actions bring about His goodness, and our sinful actions must be paid for in personal sacrifice. The peace offering shows that worshipers in the Old Testament were not any more responsible for their salvation than worshipers in the New Testament. Throughout the ages, people have been tempted to think that sacrifices create God’s favor. This belief is evident in our modem understanding of a peace offering as a propitiation for wrongdoing. But only Christ’s sacrifice creates favor with God and covers wrongdoing, and the Old Testament sacrifices were a picture of that future provision. We are reminded that this offering is to be eaten that day. Meat left over after the third day was to be burned up and it is not to be eaten recklessly for there were great consequences for eating the meal in an unclean fashion.

  3. Verses 22-27. In these verses the priest are reminded what is God’s share of the offerings. God forbids the people to eat the blood or the fat of an animal. The fat was the fat that is mentioned in the previous verses. The fat around the organs belong to God. It is Gods portion. The blood was God’s as well. The blood was the currency for the payment of sin, and only God could accept the payment of sins.

  4. Verses 28-37. In these verses, the priests are reminded to what is their portion of the offerings. Because the priest could own no land and could only serve in the temple, they had to rely on the offerings of food for sustenance. The priest had to trust God for their daily dinner. The priests are partakers of the altar -- as part of the atonement. We see an echo of this with reference to the Lord's Supper in the context of eating food offered to idols (1 Corinthians 10:14-22). When people brought fellowship offerings, they were to give the priest a portion of the offerings. Aaron and his sons received the breast and the right thigh belonged to the other priest. The thigh was given directly to the officiating priest as a contribution so that it was for him and his family. The breast was given to God by the ritual of lifting it up and receiving it back again (“wave offering,” which was lifted up, not waved). The things given to God were shared by all God’s special servants, the priests. Notice the use of the right thigh. The right side is a sign of favor; the thigh is a symbol of strength. The priests are supposed to be favored and strong for the work of the Lord.

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