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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

LEVITICUS+—An Illustrated Summary of Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible by G. Campbell Morgan

"On every page of the God-breathed writings are many thoughts that stretch out like long, clear arms of light across the darkness, discovering things otherwise hidden and illuminating wider areas than those of the immediate context. They are searchlights. From a multitude of these, I have selected one in each chapter of Scripture, for at least one central thought in every chapter should arrest the mind and affect the life," wrote G. Campbell Morgan, a wise, warm-hearted, careful Bible teacher who conducted a classic 3-year chapter-by-chapter study called Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible. Here are the fruits of that timeless study—summarized, illustrated, and amplified—on all 66 books of the Bible (posted one book at a time, cumulatively).
Leviticus 1:3 "Without blemish." Leviticus was the handbook of the priests. In Exodus we have the words God spoke to Moses from Mount Sinai about fundamental moral order. In Leviticus we have the words God spoke to Moses within the tabernacle or "tent of meeting" (Leviticus 1:1) about administrating the affairs of His people in holiness and in grace. Throughout, God is seen as the God of all moral perfection, making it possible for imperfect man to draw close to Himself through sacrifice. The sacrifices and offerings were all to be provided by the worshipers, but they were symbols of an Offering and Sacrifice the worshipers could not provide, but would be provided by God. Because they were to symbolize perfection, they had to be—so far as any man or woman could make sure of it—perfect in themselves. That is the significance of the phrase "without blemish." The principle abides, even though we are looking back to the one perfect Offering, rather than onward in expectation of His coming. For "when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified" (Hebrews 10:12-14). Every offering is a symbol still of the One. He is worthy to receive the most precious, and we do wrong to the perfection of His sacrifice when we give to Him any gift or service that is second rate. Our best is but poor, but that which we do give must be our best.

Leviticus 2:11 "No grain offering that you bring to the Lord shall be made with leaven." As the burnt offering was to be "without blemish," so the grain offering was to be without leaven. The grain offering was the work of a man or woman's hands, the results of careful cultivation and preparation—a symbol of service. It was not to be mixed with leaven because leaven sets up the work of disintegration and breakup. Nothing of that kind must be permitted because God demands perfect service as well as a perfect offering. Not only the gift but also the deed must be without corruption. The application of this principle is clear from our Lord's warning against "the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6). The leaven of the Pharisees was hypocrisy, especially ritualism without true spiritual and moral content. The leaven of the Sadducees was rationalism, especially worldliness and the elimination of the supernatural. Paul wrote, "Christ our Passover has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with...the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). In all the work we do for God, there is to be an absence of hypocrisy, worldliness, and anything contrary to love and truth.

Leviticus 3:5 "An offering made by fire, a pleasing aroma to the Lord." The words "a pleasing aroma" are used to describe the first three offerings: the burnt offering, the grain offering, and the peace offering. They are not used of the sin offering or the trespass offering. All these distinct offerings were made by fire. In the case of the first three, the fire brings out the savor; in the last two it destroys. Fire is a symbol of God's holy nature. Only things in conformity with that nature can live in His presence. It is therefore a symbol of His wrath as He consumes that which is contrary to His nature. It is also a symbol of cleansing in that God purifies from all dross that which does conform to His character. Therefore the offerings representing sin and trespass were completely destroyed. The ones representing devotion, service, and fellowship had the best brought out of them by the fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. If a man is living in rebellion, a sinner persisting in his sin, the fire will destroy him. If he yields himself to God, the fire will bring out the beauty of character.

Leviticus 4:2 "If a person sins unintentionally." These words recognize an aspect of sin we are in danger of not taking seriously. It is wrong to imagine that sin is only in the will. Imperfection and pollution exclude from God, even though we may be unaware of them. God's eyes "are too pure  to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness with favor" (Habakkuk 1:13). This aspect of sin demands cleansing. I need that "sanctification without which no one shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). This is what is suggested by the sin offering, which sets the soul free from its pollution and paralysis. The trespass offering suggests dealing with willful disobedience. Nothing is more clearly stamped upon the pages of Leviticus than the fact that sin must not be treated lightly. Our Lord God is holy and cannot ignore sin. But He is also the God of Grace, who provides perfect redemption for the sinner. This great sacrificial system was done away with by God's design because it made nothing perfect. It revealed a need and promised deliverance, but nothing more. In Christ the promise was fulfilled and the promise met. Just before the Jewish temple was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70 we read, "If that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. That is why the Lord said, 'Behold, the days are coming...when I will establish a new covenant...not like the covenant that I made...when I took the Israelites out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant.... This is the covenant that I will make...I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people....  I will remember their sins no more.' In speaking of a new covenant, He makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Hebrews 8:7-13, quoting Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Leviticus 5:7 "If he cannot afford a lamb...." The appointed offering was "a lamb or a goat." But it might be that some man would not be able to afford one. Was he to be excluded from the benefit of the priest and the altar? By no means. Let him bring "two turtledoves or two young pigeons," as did Joseph and Mary with Baby Jesus (Luke 2:24, Leviticus 12:8). If that was too much, then let him bring "the tenth of an ephah of fine flour" (Leviticus 5:11). The right of access came not from the intrinsic value of the gift but by a gift in relation to a man's means to show his appreciation for the principle upon which it was possible for him to be received and forgiven. If a man had the means to provide the lamb but brought a lesser gift, it would show he had no adequate sense either of his own sin or of divine grace. The supreme thing is grace. The means may vary. When there is a sincere representation of the soul's apprehension of grace, the grace will come through, whether ornate or simple.

Leviticus 6:12 "Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out." Jumping ahead to  Aaron's first exercise of the priestly office shows that this fire was lit supernaturally by God (Leviticus 9:24). The priests were responsible for maintaining it by regularly providing it with fuel. In Leviticus 3:5 we saw that fire is a symbol of God's holiness so here we are reminded of the necessity for the perpetual maintenance of holiness in our lives. Man has no holiness other than what he receives from God. But in order that its flame may burn continually and its heat accomplish the divine purpose, the fire must be fed. That demands ceaseless vigilance. The unworthy things must be handed over for destruction. The things of worth must be yielded up to the fire for purification. We may be comforted by the certainty that, as we bring the fuel, the fire will continue to burn, accomplishing all its holy purposes.

Leviticus 7:13 "With cakes of leavened bread." In the previous verse (Leviticus 7:12) the worshiper is commanded to offer with the peace offering unleavened cakes and wafers, and here to add to it cakes of leavened bread. The peace offering is a symbol of communion based on reconciliation, bringing together two sides in a great transaction. One is God and the other is man. God's side can be symbolized only by that which is unleavened or separated from everything that tends to disintegration and corruption. On the other side, there remains in man much of imperfection. This is symbolized by the leavened cakes. Our unworthiness in and of ourselves abides. In our thanksgiving and praise, there is no room for boastfulness. Of this we need to be constantly reminded.

Leviticus 8:36 "Aaron and his sons did all the things that the Lord commanded." These concluding words of a chapter make us look back over it. First Aaron and his sons were washed. The High Priest was robed in his garments of beauty and glory. This was followed by his anointing with holy oil. After that his sons were robed. Two offerings were sacrificed to the Lord: first the sin offering for pollution and then the burnt offering as a sign of complete dedication. Blood, the symbol of forgiveness from sin, was dabbed on the right ear, right thumb, and big toe of the right foot of Aaron and each of his sons. The wave offerings (meat and grain) signified the rights and privileges of the priests, all offered to God and a designated food portion set aside for the priests. Their sustenance was provided and they were completely separated to God and His service. The way of entrance to service in holy things is obedience to every divine ordinance. Nothing must be omitted that the Lord commands. God's servants must be washed, robed, anointed, sustained, and set apart God's way.

Leviticus 9:23 "Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting and when they came out, they blessed the people." When all things were done according to the divine plan, Moses and Aaron had access to the tent of meeting, and by that access were enabled to bless the people. The servants of God have no power to bless others save as they receive it in communion with God. Before we can go out and bless the people, we must go into the place of meeting with God. We are perpetually in danger of allowing our eagerness to serve men to interfere with our communion with God. To do so is to fail disastrously. It is only as we serve in the holy place, in worship, in silence, receiving from God, that we are able to serve in the camp in work, in speech, in giving to others. Forgetting this leads to futility, fussiness, and feverishness in God's work. Those who are strengthened, enlightened, and quieted in the tent of meeting will exit to the places of men, carrying blessings with them.

Leviticus 10:1 "Strange fire." This was a fire that Nadab and Abihu, Aaron's two eldest sons, kindled themselves. It did not come from the fire God Himself lit in Leviticus 9:24. That sacred fire, kept perpetually burning, was the one central symbol of the holiness of God, and any offering not sanctified by it was polluted. This, perhaps coupled with an inappropriate use of the prescribed incense (Exodus 30:38), brought about the tragedy of Leviticus akin to the golden calf of Exodus: "Now [right after God lit the sacred fire] Nadab and Abihu...took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, 'It is what the Lord spoke, saying, "By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.'" So Aaron, therefore, kept silent" (Leviticus 10:1-3). Aaron and Moses both upheld the holiness of God; Nadab and Abihu did not. The fire in which all our service must be rendered is that of the Spirit of God, who is the Spirit of Holiness (Romans 1:4). To seek to make our work acceptable by any agent other than the Holy Spirit is to burn "strange fire," which is a deadly business.

Leviticus 11:47 "To make a difference between the unclean and the clean." These words refer to the foods of God's people. Here we come to laws that touch the ordinary and everyday life of the people. Those already enumerated have had to do with the privilege of approaching God in worship. The people for whom such privileges are created are never away from God's thought. Since He is interested in every detail of their lives, He issues His commands about what they may and may not eat. There is no doubt that these regulations were all fundamentally sanitary. They were by no means capricious. They may have been regulated largely by the climate and the particular period in which men were then living. The permanent value of these enactments is their revealing the divine interest in and care for all these details. If today we are not to be governed by the actual rules of this dietary law, the principle in it finds expression in these words written by Paul: "Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). To eat or drink anything that harms the body, which is the instrument of the spirit, is not to glorify God. Therefore into this issue of food the fact of our relationship with God enters, and each is called upon to act for himself or herself accordingly.

Leviticus 12:8 "The priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean." This is part of the law of motherhood, which is protected in the most sacred way both physically and spiritually. On the purely physical side it provided rest for the new mother. On the spiritual side God provided that motherhood would be sanctified by sacrifice. When King David wrote, "Behold, I was shaped in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5), he was casting no reflection upon his own mother, but rather stating a racial fact from which no human being escapes. Ultimately motherhood has been forever made holy by the Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15, Genesis 22:18, Galatians 3:16), through whom woman is saved from the stigma of the part the first woman played in bringing sin upon our species (1 Timothy 2:14-15). Here in Leviticus is a foreshadowing of that in the sacred service of the sanctuary.

Leviticus 13:10 "The priest shall look." In this chapter and the next we have the laws for dealing with leprosy. These brief words here reveal the utmost that could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease. We cannot wonder that it became, and still continues to be, a symbol for sin. It is a disease in the blood, and "the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11). The only thing the priest could do was discover whether the disease of the person coming to him was leprosy by looking and diagnosing what he saw according to the detailed laws given here. If it was not, there might be a period of quarantine to make sure, and restoration to the community. If it was leprosy, nothing could be done other than to separate the suffer completely from others. In the fullness of time, however, came One who could not only look at but touch the leper—One who could cure completely (Matthew 8:1-4, 17).

Leviticus 14:45 "He shall break down the house." That is, the house was affected by leprosy. There was a time when this law was dismissed as a superstition, but modern science has proved its sense. A house, in fact, can be infected by many forms of disease. It is a criminal offense today not to notify cases of certain diseases. A house that is likely to communicate disease must either be cleansed completely or destroyed. No man has any property rights that are superior to the rights of the health of the community. Notice a spiritual application of this whole principle to increasing levels of toxicity in people exposed to false teaching: "Have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh" (Jude 22-23). Whatever in our life has been associated with and contaminated by the leprosy of past sin, it is good to destroy without compromise or pity. Old haunts and associations should be left behind to risk our being infected anew.

Leviticus 15:31 "Thus you shall keep the sons of Israel separated from their uncleanness." This chapter brings before the mind with dread and forceful solemnity the fact of the defilement of the human race. The procreative powers of humanity, whether their exercise be natural or unnatural, lawful or unlawful, are tainted with the virus of sin in the sight of a holy God. This chapter has a solemn message to us all about the perpetual need for cleansing. This view of human nature is not flattering—and the human mind is often in rebellion against it—but to deny it is to deny a fact constantly proven true in human experience. The way of perpetual cleansing is provided in Christ, having cleansed His people "by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless" (Ephesians 5:26-27).

Leviticus 16:34 "To make atonement for the sons of Israel for all their sins once every year." This chapter gives instructions about the Day of Atonement, the greatest day in the religious year of the Hebrew people. In this annual rite a general provision was made for dealing with the whole question of sin, known and unknown. It was the only day of the year when the high priest was allowed behind the veil to serve briefly in the most holy place. Every arrangement of this rite was intended to impress upon the mind the solemnity of approaching God, and that there is no right of access save what is provided through sacrifice. As these arrangements are pondered, one can easily realize that their necessary imperfection could not produce anything like perfect rest in the conscience. Indeed, the more sensitive the spirit, the more that imperfection would be realized. Now we need not wait with sin undealt with for even an hour "since we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God" (Hebrews 4:14). He abides in the most holy place, where He always lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25) and we have access there through Him at all times, which is why we are invited "to come boldly to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

Leviticus 17:7 "They shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat demons with which they play the harlot." This is a startling statement amid instructions restricting all sacrifices to the tabernacle area. There must be no other place of worship through sacrifice. This restriction honored the fact of the unification of the nation around the Divine Presence, reminding the people that there is no access to God on the part of any person in self-willed isolation. This law also made the worship of false gods virtually impossible, including that of "goat demons" or "satyrs," as the Hebrew word is also translated. The satyr is an imaginary being, half goat and half man with a demonic nature. In ancient Egypt the goat-man Pan was worshiped. It would seem that some of the Israelites and Egyptians who came out of Egypt with Moses were unfaithful to the Lord by falling back into wicked habits of worship. God understood their secret temptations and tailored His law accordingly. To be deflected from worshiping God as He specifies in His Word is always to be in danger of turning to other gods.

Leviticus 18:3 "You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you." This refers to all the corrupt social practices  where the Israelites had been and where they were going. Those practices had resulted in people so corrupt and degenerate, it was necessary for the sake of the human race that the worst of them be swept out. All promiscuous intercourse between the sexes inevitably tends toward disease and degeneracy. That is why it is so contrary to the mind of God, for He seeks to safeguard humanity. Therefore this chapter gives a list of specific prohibitions in the interests of national health and strength that are as timely now as they were then. To break any of them is to bring about inevitable deterioration and ultimate destruction. The principle here has a much wider application, however, to this: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is: that which is good, acceptable, and perfect" (Romans 12:2). It is so easy to be lured from our loyalty as God's people by the customs of the men and women surrounding us. Always remember and tell others that God's requirements are not capricious. They are based upon His loving purpose for His own and His determination to preserve them from all destructive practices.

Leviticus 19:9 "You shall not wholly reap the corners of your field." This is a remarkable chapter that opens with a general call to holiness, based upon its ultimate reason: "You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy" (Leviticus 19:2). The declaration "I am the Lord" is repeated in this one chapter fourteen times. Every commandment given here is set in relation to this fact. The one about the fields in verse 9 is a gleam of light, full of beauty. When reaping their harvests, the Israelites were forbidden from extracting everything. Good produce was to be left for the poor and the stranger because an essential quality of the holiness of God is His beneficence, His tender concern for the needy. An exactitude and thoroughness that leaves no room for those in need will never characterize those who truly belong to God. Happy indeed are all who in their business enterprises retain a consciousness of human need that compels them to share something they rightly own to help meet that need. That is holiness according to the divine standard, which always includes this element of compassion.

Leviticus 20:22 "That the land to which I am bringing you to live will not vomit you out." This is an arresting statement. The whole biblical revelation insists upon the close relationship between the earth and man. In the beginning, after the Fall of man, we read, "Cursed is the ground because of you" (Genesis 3:17). As the consequence of human sin "the whole creation groans and travails in pain right up to the present time" (Romans 8:22). The prophets repeatedly emphasized that the earth becomes polluted by man's inner pollution. The measure in which the land is dealt with by corrupt man is the measure by which it becomes barren, and at last unable to support man. In that sense it vomits him out. When the people of God are finally restored to their land in faith and loyalty, it will become again the garden of the Lord, full of fruit and beauty. Whatever territory man reigns over, it is affected by his character. If he is polluted and corrupt, all that is under his sway becomes polluted and corrupt, and so fails to supply him with the good he seeks from it. The land vomits him out by the desolation he himself has produced. Thus has God subjected His whole creation to laws that always operate with His holiness and against evil.

Leviticus 21:21 "No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the offerings made to the Lord by fire." The priests stood in a place of special nearness to God as the divinely appointed mediators of the people. Of all men in all matters of life and conduct, they were to manifest the necessity for that "holiness without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). For one thing, they were strictly forbidden to defile themselves by contact with the dead in any form. The only exceptions permitted were of those who were their next of kin. Even these exceptions were not made for the high priest. He must never touch a dead person, even though father or mother. Moreover, his family was most strictly guarded. Approach to God necessitated perfection, and so far as it was possible to emphasize this by external symbols, it was done in the case of the priests. Any of their lineage with physical defects could not serve as priests. There follows a recognition of the fact that blame was not attached to people with defects. They were permitted to eat the bread of God from the tabernacle, but not to offer it. All this should at least emphasize for us the truth that those who minister in holy things should be of the strongest rather than the weakest.

Leviticus 22:2 "Speak to Aaron and his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the sons of Israel." In this chapter we have further enforcement and wider application of the necessity for the priests to be separate from all defilement. To protect the offerings of the people would require their separating themselves from their priestly functions if they became unclean. If from natural cause, disease, or contact with defiling things a priest was for a time defiled, he was to abstain from his service until he had been actually or ceremonially cleansed. Not only must he himself be free from blemish and defilement, he was responsible to make sure that all he offered was of the same character. These and other stringent instructions close with a reaffirmation of God's reason for all this: "I will be hallowed among the sons of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies you" (Leviticus 22:32). These people were constantly reminded that the deepest purpose of their existence was their call to manifest the things of God. Such requirements give rise to the application today that all the degradation existing among nations is due to false ideas about God that characterize their life and worship. To know the true God is life for nations as well as for individuals.

Leviticus 23:2 "The set feasts of the Lord." This is a wonderful chapter that outlines eight set feasts to look forward to throughout the year that were national signs and symbols of the people's relationship to God. They were means of keeping ever before them the real secrets of spiritual strength.  The first was the Sabbath, which was a perpetually recurring feast every seventh day—the only feast that was weekly. The others were held annually. The first of those was Passover, which merged into Unleavened Bread. With these two feast the Hebrew year commenced, reminding the people of their redemption from slavery and their separation to God. Then came the Feast of First-fruits and seven weeks later the Feast of Pentecost, reminding them of their dependence on God and their responsibility to Him for the wise cultivation of the land. The seventh month was the most sacred of all, for therein three connected feasts were observed: those of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. The Trumpets called them to cease from their everyday labors to worship. Atonement (the only feast that required fasting) reminded them of the way of access to God by sacrifices and the putting away of sin. Tabernacles was the feast of joy in which they remembered their deliverance by God, His guidance, and His provision of the law for their good. Thus by these set feasts the year was made sacred.

Leviticus 24:22 "There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native." This is an interesting chapter that seems to break in on the continuity of the book. In the first section some laws are repeated and then we find an historical incident. It is the story of a blasphemer upon whom punishment justly fell. He was the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father. Seeing that he was not of pure Hebrew blood, the people were not sure how to deal with him when he committed the heinous offense of blaspheming the Name. It was under these circumstances that the principle was laid down that there should be one standard of law for native and non-native alike. It was a principle of justice and mercy. Its first emphasis is upon the fact that those who enter the Kingdom of God and enjoy its privileges must be governed by its laws. No man or woman within that Kingdom can claim the rights of other citizenship that give him or her the freedom to break its laws. To enter that Kingdom is to renounce all other lordships and accept its laws. This principle also protects the non-native from the possible injustice of the native. Today there are no native members of that Kingdom. All are non-natives who enter by a New Birth (John 3:1-21). Yet the principle needs remembering, for it is not always easy for those who have had Kingdom privileges longest to be just and impartial to those newly entering, as Jesus Himself illustrated with a Kingdom parable (Matthew 20:1-16).

Leviticus 25:10 "It shall be a Jubilee for you." The provision of the Year of Jubilee was to remind the people that all human interactions depended upon the deeper things of divine authority and possession. The first part of this chapter gives the law of the land sabbath: every seventh year the land was to have rest from cultivation. Thus the divine ownership was recognized, as men were forbidden to treat the land as their absolute property. There is also no doubt that this requirement, like all others, was truly best for everyone and everything concerned. It kept the land from being stripped of its nutrients. The Year of Jubilee was to come every fifty years, joyfully interfering with all sorts of human arrangements: men dispossessed through adversity were restored to possession, slaves were set free, and all men released from toil. The laws for this year were clearly set out as they affected the land, dwellings, and persons. They are worth pondering for their sheer sense of social order and consideration for both God and man. By them we see how all human inter-relationships are conditioned by the fact that the fundamental owner, both of property and persons, is God. The liberation of the slave, for example, proved that no one human being can have the right to possess, absolutely and finally, any human being. The master had only a right to the work of his slave. The Year of Jubilee was to remind the people of God's sovereignty and their responsibilities to one another and the land. Sadly, the Israelites throughout the following centuries were not faithful to obey the instructions in this chapter so God exiled His people from the promised land for seventy years "until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths" (2 Chronicles 36:21).

Leviticus 26:40-41 "Because they walked contrary to Me, I also walked contrary to them." In this chapter gracious promises and solemn warnings are set forth. It opens with the reiteration of fundamental laws. There is to be no idolatry. There must be faithful observance of the sabbath. Reverence for the tabernacle must be maintained. Then follow promises showing that conditions of well-being depended upon the people's obedience to God's laws. The warnings showed that disobedience would inevitably bring calamity. Even in the giving of the Law, the King was well aware His people would tend to wander and be faithless, yet He still gave a promise of final restoration. Thus human responsibility was solemnly enforced, but the whole chapter cannot be read without the conviction that the love of God will prove finally victorious over all failure. God is faithful and unchanging. We may change our experience of His rule by a change of attitude toward it. If we walk with Him, He walks with us, and all His infinite resources of wisdom, power, and love are at our disposal. If we walk contrary to Him, He continues to pursue His way of wisdom, love, and power, but His goings are against us and we experience His opposition: "He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself" (2 Timothy 2:13). Therefore we know His government or rule as strength, helping or opposing, according to whether we walk with Him or contrary to Him.

Leviticus 27:29 "None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be ransomed." This last chapter has to do with vows. A vow is a promise made voluntarily to God. It is an undertaking to do something that is not commanded, something beyond the requirements of the actual law. It expresses devotion to God's service to a degree beyond what is stated in the divine statutes. It is not necessary that such vows be made, but if they are made, they must be kept. The careful reader of this chapter will note a distinction between things "sanctified" and things "devoted." The first is used in the simplest sense of setting apart while the second is used for complete and final giving. Things sanctified by a vow or set apart to divine uses could be redeemed for one's own use again by the payment of their full value, plus a little more. Things devoted by a vow could not. All this has much to say to us. Our devotion to our Lord should be complete because that is what He asks for. We need add no vow of extra devotion because we have no extras to offer. We cannot ransom ourselves from our bondage to God; any desire to do so is proof of never truly knowing or loving Him. There is nothing more despicable than taking back anything given. Children in their play all recognize this. Let us live by these truths in our devotion to our worthy Lord.


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