Hindrance, Holiness, Heartiness: Leviticus 21:22-23:2

Leviticus 21:22‑23:2  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Leviticus 21:22-23:222He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy. 23Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them. 24And Moses told it unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel. 1And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the Lord. 3Say unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the Lord, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord. 4What man soever of the seed of Aaron is a leper, or hath a running issue; he shall not eat of the holy things, until he be clean. And whoso toucheth any thing that is unclean by the dead, or a man whose seed goeth from him; 5Or whosoever toucheth any creeping thing, whereby he may be made unclean, or a man of whom he may take uncleanness, whatsoever uncleanness he hath; 6The soul which hath touched any such shall be unclean until even, and shall not eat of the holy things, unless he wash his flesh with water. 7And when the sun is down, he shall be clean, and shall afterward eat of the holy things; because it is his food. 8That which dieth of itself, or is torn with beasts, he shall not eat to defile himself therewith: I am the Lord. 9They shall therefore keep mine ordinance, lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it: I the Lord do sanctify them. 10There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: a sojourner of the priest, or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing. 11But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat. 12If the priest's daughter also be married unto a stranger, she may not eat of an offering of the holy things. 13But if the priest's daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father's house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father's meat: but there shall no stranger eat thereof. 14And if a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly, then he shall put the fifth part thereof unto it, and shall give it unto the priest with the holy thing. 15And they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they offer unto the Lord; 16Or suffer them to bear the iniquity of trespass, when they eat their holy things: for I the Lord do sanctify them. 17And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 18Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a burnt offering; 19Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats. 20But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you. 21And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein. 22Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the Lord, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the Lord. 23Either a bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted. 24Ye shall not offer unto the Lord that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land. 25Neither from a stranger's hand shall ye offer the bread of your God of any of these; because their corruption is in them, and blemishes be in them: they shall not be accepted for you. 26And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 27When a bullock, or a sheep, or a goat, is brought forth, then it shall be seven days under the dam; and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering made by fire unto the Lord. 28And whether it be cow or ewe, ye shall not kill it and her young both in one day. 29And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the Lord, offer it at your own will. 30On the same day it shall be eaten up; ye shall leave none of it until the morrow: I am the Lord. 31Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the Lord. 32Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lord which hallow you, 33That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord. 1And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. (Leviticus 21:22‑23:2)
In the last chapter we spoke about the special responsibility of one who is a leader, and we would like to mention how this should exercise each one of us. One who was born into the priestly family had to watch against defilements and other things which would hinder his service. We, too, have to be watchful, especially when we are young, that we do not get mixed up in some association or relationship which will hinder our usefulness in later years. How many a young believer has, through carelessness, taken some step which has made him a “lame priest” the rest of his life. Oh, may the Lord help us to walk humbly and in dependence upon Him so that we may be kept! His Word says, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:2323O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)). Then, because of this, the prayer of the dependent man is, “Preserve me, O God: for in Thee do I put my trust” (Psalm 16:11<<Michtam of David.>> Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust. (Psalm 16:1)).
Holiness in God’s House
We notice that care must be taken as to who would eat of the holy things. It would remind us that holiness always becomes God’s house and that we should confess our sins at once, as believers, and be restored. We cannot enjoy communion with the Lord when there is unjudged sin in our lives, any more than the priests in Israel could eat of the holy things when defiled, but how good to know that when we have judged and owned our sin before the Lord, we are restored at once.
Giving the Best Wholeheartedly
Another thing we notice in our chapter is that nothing with a blemish was to be offered to the Lord. The sacrifices had to be without blemish, for they typified Christ, and God would ever uphold the glory of His Son. He was the holy, spotless Lamb of God, and anything that typified Him must be spotless too. No doubt there is also another lesson for us in these instructions, and that is that we should not keep the best for ourselves and offer the rest to the Lord. A young man (or young woman) who uses the best years of his life living for self and self interests, and then gives the Lord the end of his life when his health is broken and his energy gone, is doing something like this. Or perhaps when going to school to give the best of one’s energies to school and studies while neglecting the Lord’s interests is surely offering the lame to the Lord. What a privilege it is, on the other hand, to be saved while we are young, and to spend the best years of our lives (humanly speaking) in living for and serving so blessed a Master — even the One who gave up all for us. The children of Israel were therefore reminded of what the Lord had done for them in bringing them up out of the land of Egypt to be near Him as His people.
The next chapter is one full of instruction for us, but we will only be able to speak of it briefly. It gives us, in type, an outline of all God’s ways up to the final bringing in of blessing on the millennial earth. It begins by telling us of the Sabbath — a picture of the rest yet to come. Immediately it begins again with the Passover, typical of the redemptive work of Christ, the true Lamb of God, as the ground — the beginning — of all blessing, whether for Israel or for any creature of Adam’s race. We will, with the Lord’s help, go through these feasts in the chapters that follow.
For Further Meditation
1. Why were offerings with blemishes prohibited?
2. Our Lord gave us a perfect example of how to wholeheartedly give the best. In what ways can you show from the gospels how He fully served God, giving the best in all things?
3. An excellent, brief and conscience-challenging book presenting both holiness and whole-heartedness is Living Wholly for God by J. G. Bellett.