What God's Eye Sees: Leviticus 5:2-16

Leviticus 5:2‑16  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 11
Leviticus 5:2-162Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty. 3Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty. 4Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these. 5And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: 6And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin. 7And if he be not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring for his trespass, which he hath committed, two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, unto the Lord; one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering. 8And he shall bring them unto the priest, who shall offer that which is for the sin offering first, and wring off his head from his neck, but shall not divide it asunder: 9And he shall sprinkle of the blood of the sin offering upon the side of the altar; and the rest of the blood shall be wrung out at the bottom of the altar: it is a sin offering. 10And he shall offer the second for a burnt offering, according to the manner: and the priest shall make an atonement for him for his sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be forgiven him. 11But if he be not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put any frankincense thereon: for it is a sin offering. 12Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, even a memorial thereof, and burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the Lord: it is a sin offering. 13And the priest shall make an atonement for him as touching his sin that he hath sinned in one of these, and it shall be forgiven him: and the remnant shall be the priest's, as a meat offering. 14And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 15If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the Lord; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the Lord a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering: 16And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him. (Leviticus 5:2‑16)
Further examples are now given to us of things that would be a trespass against the Lord according to the law. There were ordinances about touching unclean things, which, in everyday life, we might not think very serious, but once again we are reminded that it is a defiling world and that God’s measurement of sin is not ours. We become so accustomed to the sin we see around us every day that we are liable to think very lightly of it, but sin is sin before God, and nothing less than a sacrifice appointed by God Himself can put it away from before His holy eye. How blessed to know that the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross has settled the sin question forever for all those who believe, and that, not according to our own standards, but according to God’s.
When it speaks of swearing in our chapter it does not mean bad language or taking the name of the Lord in vain upon our lips, as we would think of it today, but it means promising something with an oath. It is not so commonly done today, but it would show us that we should never make a promise which we are unable to keep. It is a solemn thing to give one’s word about something and then break it. Be sure you have the Lord’s mind before you make a promise, and then once you have given your word (unless the promise itself is a sin against God, see Matthew 14:99And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. (Matthew 14:9)), ask the Lord for grace to carry it out no matter how difficult it is. People think all too lightly of a promise in these days, but God looks upon a broken promise as a serious sin.
Light and Responsibility
The offerings allowed for the trespass offering were smaller than for the sin offering, for the more “light” one has, the more responsible he is. Nevertheless there was no passing over of sin — it must be judged. If the one who has sinned was unable to bring a lamb or a kid, or perhaps not even turtledoves or young pigeons, then he was to bring a handful of fine flour. Undoubtedly this would teach us that although some dear simple souls might not lay hold of the value of the work of Christ, still their trust is in Him alone as the One who can meet their soul’s need. God then sees that faith in the person of His Son and the sinner is forgiven, just as He accepted the fine flour from the hand of a guilty Israelite and he was forgiven his trespass. How this teaches us that God is always willing to save and that it is not a question in salvation as to how much a man knows, but whether his trust is in Christ, the Person who accomplished the work. Needless to say, the eye of God rests upon the blood as that which alone could put away sin, even though the offerer did not understand it.
Added Glory for God
Next we read of trespasses in God’s holy things. This was more serious touching something unclean, and a ram must be offered with money to make amends for the harm that had been done. As we think of how we once trampled God’s glory in the dust and dishonored Him so terribly, surely we are guilty in this, but in these sacrifices not only was the guilt of the sinner settled, but a fifth part was added to it. How beautifully this shows us that not only has the work of Christ settled all God’s claims against sin, but added glory has been brought to God through it. What a wonderful work was accomplished at Calvary!
For Further Meditation
2. When we’ve made a monstrous mess of a situation and someone else has to clean it up, they sometimes grumble and complain while they do the work. They might leave a little for us to finish up or do the bare minimum amount of work. How does that contrast with what Christ did when paying for our sins and adding “the fifth part” to it?
3. If you’re interested in a very extensive work on this subject, you might read the section on Leviticus from Notes on the Pentateuch: Genesis to Deuteronomy by C. H. Mackintosh. His writing tends to be wordy but warm and instructive.