God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February 20 - Leviticus 22-23: On Priests and Festivals

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 22-23

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

The priests were to be a people set apart for service—a holy people among a holy nation. Feasts were to help pass on the common history of the people.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

God decreed that any offering was holy and could only be eaten by priests and their dependents. Anyone who was unclean had to wait until they were clean before eating. Any offering had to be quality stock, not a dumping of weaklings. God warned them, "Do not tempt me. I am the God who brought you out of Egypt."
God organized several festivals to commemorate certain times of the year or events of the past: Sabbath every week, Passover followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, harvest, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

The priests were to be the holy people among a holy nation.

(Picking up with chapter 21 from yesterday) The Israelites were to be set apart for God. At the same time, the Levites were to be set apart from the Israelites to be the go-betweens for the people and God. This means the priests were held to a higher standard from the normal Israelite. However, because they were set apart God would allow them to focus entirely on being the representatives of the people for Him. This is why they were allowed to take the sacrifices offered and use them to feed their families. However, only those who depended directly on the priest—wife, non-married (or widowed) children, slaves—were allowed to eat. The hired worker or the married child could not eat. They were not (or no longer) set apart for service and could spend their time earning a living.

God required a grain offering of the first fruits to engender a faithful spirit.

Just as God would not accept animals with defects or abnormalities, God would not allow His Chosen People to wait to make sure they had enough to cover their expenses before making an offering. This required faith that the harvest would not be ruined before they could finish harvesting it. They could not enjoy the fruits of their labor until they had thanked God for giving it to them. When giving, give thanks to God before anything else.
This is why my wife and I give a percentage of our income as it comes in. We do not wait to see if we have enough for our expected expenses. It might seem this would make the month more stressful. But it does not. Why? Because when we give to God first we live by faith. God has given it to us and we first thank Him for having it come to us before we use the money for ourselves.

God protects the poor.

Don't forget it.

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