Trespass Against Another Man: Leviticus 5:17-6:9

Leviticus 5:17‑6:9  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Leviticus 5:17-6:917And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity. 18And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him. 19It is a trespass offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the Lord. 1And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and lie unto his neighbor in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbor; 3Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: 4Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, 5Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. 6And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: 7And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein. 8And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 9Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it. (Leviticus 5:17‑6:9)
Once again the guilt of the sinner is emphasized, for whether he knew of the sin or not, he was guilty before God, and nothing less than the sacrifice appointed by God could be accepted to make an atonement for him. If the one who reads these lines is unsaved, we plead with you to come to Christ now, taking the guilty sinner’s place and receiving the salvation which God so freely offers to you. Now is the day of God’s grace — tomorrow it may be too late!
Trespass Against a Neighbor
We now come to the trespasses against one’s neighbor, for such things are also sins against God. There is one important thing to notice here, and that is that the one who sinned was to make it right with his neighbor as well as bringing his trespass offering. Sometimes this is forgotten. It is best and most important to get right with the Lord, but this does not in any way alter one’s responsibility to restore to his neighbor that in which he has wronged him. Moreover there was to be no delay, for it was to be straightened up with the neighbor the same day as the offering was made to the Lord.
If the one who reads these lines has done a wrong to someone, or owes someone a sum of money which you have left unpaid, do not forget that you have sinned against the Lord, and it will not be forgiven you in the government of God until you own it to the Lord and make it right with the one you have wronged. The debt may be “outlawed” before men, but it is not “outlawed” before God until you have settled it. It is a solemn thing to go on from year to year, as some Christians do, with seemingly no conscience about wrongs they have done or debts they owe. Undoubtedly the poverty of soul of many dear children of God is the result of carelessness in these things. Perhaps some may say, “We are not under law.” Yes, that is true, for if we were under law the judgment of sin would be swift and severe, but God’s thoughts about sin have not changed because we are under grace. Sin is still sin before God, and may any dormant conscience be stirred by this searching portion of God’s Word so that the unsettled wrongs of the past may be cleared up in a way that is for God’s glory.
The Continual Offering
After telling us about these different offerings we now come to the matter of who was to partake of them, and how. First there is the law of the burnt offering. The fire was always to be burning upon the altar — it was never to go out. Of course we know that Christ’s work has glorified God once for all about the question of sin, but the fragrance of it ever ascends. And so in the morning we are to feed upon Christ, like the morning sacrifice (Exodus 29:38-3938Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. 39The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: (Exodus 29:38‑39)) and then to be in the good of it all through the day like the offering burning all through the day. Then in the evening there was another lamb to be offered for the evening sacrifice and was to burn all night upon the altar. Even while all were asleep, the fragrance of the sacrifice still ascended, and so even when we are spiritually “asleep” and our souls are not in the good of Christ’s perfect work as we should be, still the fragrance of it ascends to God who never slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:44Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:4)). Oh how precious the work of Christ was, and always is, to Him!
For Further Meditation
1. What was the Israelite told to do about his debt to a neighbor?
2. We tend to be pretty forgetful or our opinions and feelings change from day to day. Why is it a delight to our hearts to know the meaning of the continual burnt offering to God?
3. If you don’t have time to read Christ as Seen in the Offerings by R. F. Kingscote, it is also available for listening to on CD. That might be a great way to consider these different offerings and get the good out of them for your soul and God’s glory.