Leviticus 17-23

Leviticus 17‑23  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
EV 17-23{M. God spoke to Moses about the people keeping themselves holy, and not touching anything that was wrong, or anything that would make them unclean; and He said, they were to be respectful to their fathers and mothers, and to keep the Sabbath, which the Lord had given them, as a day of rest. And the Lord said they were to be kind to one another, and when they reaped their corn, they were not to glean up all that dropped from their bundles, but to leave it on the field, for the poor and the stranger to pick up.
S. I have seen poor people gleaning in the corn-fields.
M. Yes, in England I think farmers generally leave the gleanings for the poor: but it shows us how God cares for the poor, when He thought of such little things as these. The Lord also said they were to stand up in the presence of an old man, and to be kind to strangers; and they were to have just weights, so that they might not be unjust to one another. But when the Lord spoke of His priests, He said they were to be even more careful than others to keep themselves holy, because they were set apart for the Lord, the nearer they carne to God, the more separate they must be. Even we, who are so unholy, like to be with people who suit our tastes and feelings; and God, who is so perfectly holy that He cannot look upon sin, says, If people come near me, they must be holy, because I am holy.
S. That is a beautiful reason.
M. It is a reason that shows how much God loves His people; and if they obeyed His word, they were to know how entirely they belonged to Him, who had separated them from all the other people in the earth, that they might know that He was their God. Do you remember what the Lord said to Moses, when he was in the mount those forty days, about the people resting from their work, while the corn was growing in their fields; and again, after the harvest was gathered in, that they might feast together, and rejoice before the Lord?
S. Oh yes, and you told me about the feast of the Passover.
M. Yes, and now the Lord told Moses to speak to the children of Israel about these feasts, they were set times when He would gather them round Himself. First of all the Lord reminded them again about the Sabbath-day, which was always to be kept holy to the Lord; and the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, when they killed the lamb in the evening, and remembered the night that they carne out of Egypt; the next day vas the feast of unleavened bread, and for seven days they did not eat any bread with leaven in it.
S. What is leaven?
M. It is any kind of yeast, or, that which ferments. It is put into bread to make it rise up and swell into loaves. Leaven is always used in God's Word as a type of the evil in us which continually rises up into evil tempers and self-will; so this feast of unleavened bread was to be an expression of the holiness of God's people, that, for those seven days, they put away everything that was evil and wicked, and kept the feast, remembering how the Lord had brought them out of Egypt to Himself.
There was also the feast of the first fruits. When they began to reap their corn in the promised land, they were to take the first sheaf that they reaped to the priest, and he was to wave it before the Lord on the eighth day, which was the day after the Sabbath; and on that day, they were to offer burnt-offerings and meat-offerings to the Lord, for a sweet savor. They were to eat nothing that grew in their land, until they had first brought an offering of the first fruits to the Lord. All the men and boys were to appear before the Lord with their first fruits in their hands, and to tell how the Lord had made them rich, and how He had blessed them. Every one inside their gates was to rejoice.
S. When they heard all those things, they must have longed to get into the land.
M. No doubt they did; but they must have been very happy while learning all the loving purposes of God for them, as they were traveling along through the wilderness, and I am cure it did make them desire the pleasant land. They were to count fifty days from the day they offered the first fruits, and then they were to offer a meat-offering. It was to be brought out of their houses, two loaves of bread baked with leaven-this was the first fruits, of their bread, and with a they were to offer a sin-offering, because there was leaven in there first fruits. They were, to be holy to the Lord, for food for the priests, and the people were to keep that day as a holy day in which they were to do no work.
S. Was it like a Sabbath-day?
M. Yes; and the next feast was to be on the first day of the seventh month-they were to have a Sabbath, a day of blowing of trumpets, when they were to do no work, but to offer an offering by fire to the Lord. This was called the feast of trumpets.
S. Who blew the trumpets?
M. The priests; they were silver trumpets used to call the people together. And on the tenth day of this same month was the day of atonement, when the high priest went inside the vail with the blood of the sin-offering, which he put upon the mere seat, and he made atonement for himself, and for all the people. It was to be a Sabbath of rest, and a very solemn day to all, for the people were to mourn because of their sins.
S. And then Aaron confessed the sins of all the people over the head of the goat, and sent it away into a far country, where it could never be found any more; and God did not remember the sins that the goat carried away.
M. Yes. The next feast was a very joyful one, it was to begin on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, and it lasted a whole week; it was called the feast of tabernacles, because, when they had gathered in the fruit of their land, they were to get boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and willows from the brooks, and to make tents or tabernacles to live in for that week, for He said, you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. They were to bring their gifts and offerings to God each day, for seven days, and to feast and rejoice in all the good things God had given them; and on the eighth day there was to be a solemn assembly.
S. Why did they make tents of the branches of the trees?
M. Because the Lord wished them to remember, when they came into the land, how they had lived in tents in the wilderness, when He brought them out of Egypt; and, also, that they might teach their children the wonderful works of the Lord.