Moses delivered to the people the laws governing sacrifices while in the wilderness. Now we are given laws that will govern the people when they reach the land God promised to give them.
When first reading this section I wondered why there were things added to the offerings and sacrifices. At first I thought it was a new requirement that resulted from the great sin Israel had just committed. I went back in Leviticus and looked at the sacrifices God had commanded of the people. I noticed a difference. That difference involved which side of the promise they were on.
The original statutes given in Leviticus were to be done immediately; while still in the wilderness. The new statutes that we read about today are in addition to the original ones but don’t go into effect until they finally inhabit the Promised Land. I have a feeling that these added items are to be an expression of gratitude for what they now have received. “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
God met the needs of the people in the wilderness. He made sure they had plenty of food to eat and water to drink. He protected them from their enemies. He guided their wanderings. And He provided direction for their lives, even down to making decisions regarding punishments. But He didn’t provide a lavish lifestyle for them. Their menu was narrow. It didn’t include wine and fresh grains.
In their new land these things would be part of their lives. They would plant and harvest vineyards. They would reap plentiful harvests of wheat and barley. They would receive good harvests from the olive and fig trees. These things would be a gift from God. And they were to show their appreciation by returning a portion of what they had received. I believe these portions were to become the priest’s portions, but I’m not certain of that. At the very least, they were to be a gift of gratitude to the Lord. This gratitude also included His acceptance of their sacrifices.
Something God also stressed in this new law was that He treated ALL His children as equal. The Israelite and the foreigner who wanted to live among them had to follow the same laws. The Israelite couldn’t put any heavier burden on the stranger living among them than they were carrying themselves. There was ONE way to God under the law and ALL had to follow it.
This is the same laws that Jesus had to live under to complete His substitutive work. He had to observe EVERY aspect of it in order for Him to complete God’s plan. We KNOW that Jesus followed the law but the religious leaders accused Him of breaking it on MULTIPLE occasions. It wasn’t God’s laws that He was bumping up against but the extra “requirements” laid on the people by the religious leaders. I wonder if they kept the provision of ALL people being equal in requirement or if there were different rules for different people under their laws. I think there probably were because of Jesus’ comment about the religious leaders not practicing what the preached.
We are no longer under the sacrificial system but I think the concept of thankfulness is to continue. God has given us SO much more than the people wandering in the wilderness had. I, for one, am grateful and want to give back to Him as an expression of gratitude.
Father God, I feel like me writing tonight, even though it is WELL past my bedtime was one such expression of thanks for me. I didn’t feel compelled to write out of guilt, which surprises now that I’m think about it. But I WANTED to write and spend time with You. I wish I could saw that was always the reason for sitting down to write, but I can’t if I’m being honest. Thank You for drawing me in tonight.
Thank You for speaking to me about the differences. Thank You for showing me the attitude of gratitude You want me to maintain. Even when the “menu us narrow”, even then gratitude should pour out of me. Help me remember that EVERY DAY! Help me live a life of gratitude too. In all the areas of my life. Thank You Father for listening to my prayers; even the childlike ones.