In this section of Leviticus we have the specific sacrifices required under various circumstances of unintentional sin.
Sad to say, but today, most people make light of sin. As we read through the Old Testament Law we see the cost involved for our sin to be forgiven, the price to be paid by the innocent, the constant blood that was shed to the point of death – ultimately symbolizing the eternal blood of Jesus Christ.
You may have noticed for the first time in the Bible the word “unintentionally” – found 5 times in this section. Warren Wiersbe points out an important principle on this, “The sin offering was for unintentional sins of ignorance and not for deliberate sins of disobedience. For deliberate sins, God made no provision for a sacrifice (Numbers 15:30–31). All the offender could do was plead the mercy of God (Psalm 51:16–17).” In other words there was no promised provision for sins committed volitionally, there was only a guarantee of grace for sins committed accidentally. It’s one thing to stumble in thought, word, or deed, it’s another thing to go in with eyes wide open. Although we know, Jesus has made a way to wash away all our sins, may that grace not be abused, but rather used to keep us from presumptuous sins (Psalm 19:13).
If the anointed priest sinned, his offering was equivalent to the offering required if the whole congregation sinned – both called for a young bull to be killed – to whom much is given, much more is required. (principle of Luke 12:48)
If a ruler sinned it was different than if a common person sinned, for leaders are to be examples, called to be blameless (1 Timothy 3:1-13).
God is a holy God whose commandments are intended to protect His people from harmful behavior, so He lays down the Law. There were sins of silence (Leviticus 5:1). Even the mere touch of something unclean was forbidden (Leviticus 5:2-3). Every thought and every idle word was to be holy (Leviticus 5:4).
Warren Wiersbe said, “Sometimes we commit sin by keeping quiet (v. 1), or we may cover up (vv. 2–3) or speak out (v. 4). Our sins may be unintentional, and we may be ignorant of them; but once we know about them, we must come to God for cleansing. Sin is not “deliberate disobedience to a known law.” If we disobey God, we are guilty whether we realize it or not.”
God writes to us that we may not sin, but if we do, He provides a way to be forgiven (see also 1 John 2:1). If a person was poor and couldn’t sacrifice a lamb or a kid of the goat, they could bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and if a person couldn’t afford that, God allowed them to bring two quarts of flour – that no one (rich or poor) would be excluded from fellowship with Him.
Leviticus 5:15 speaks to those who sin in ministry, “in regard to the holy things of the Lord.” This is sin under special circumstances – as we’ve seen, God holds such people to higher standards, especially in the practice of the “priesthood.” It’s heartbreaking and harmful when ministers fall – as we read in:
Leviticus 5:16a (NKJV) “And he shall make restitution for the harm that he has done in regard to the holy thing…”
We will later read in:
Leviticus 10:3a (NKJV) “And Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.’’”
The Jews considered men like Levi (a.k.a. Matthew) as the worst of the worst. They were Jews who had sold out to the Roman Government and who gouged their fellow countrymen with exorbitant taxes. The religious leaders of the day would NEVER have included tax-collectors to be a part of their company, but Jesus shows us the heart of God. Jesus not only befriends Matthew, He calls him to follow Him, and eventually serve in the ministry. Matthew wisely chose to follow Christ and one day he would be the writer of the first book chronicled in the New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew.
We must guard our hearts as Christians from losing a burden for the lost. The religious leaders criticized Jesus sharply for eating with such sinners, but Jesus reminded them, and us, that these are the very people we’re called to help. May God give us wisdom in reaching out as He did.
The Pharisees were very critical of Christ – they were offended at His choice of company, how His disciples didn’t fast, and His neglect of the Sabbath (according to their standards).
I sigh as I cry not to be like them, legalistic Pharisees, old, unusable wineskins, dividing men and defying God in their petty unbiblical man-made rules and regulations. Are we sure, certain that all our rules are right and standards are Scriptural?
Fasting is a very personal thing; we must fast as God leads us.
In their attempt to keep the Sabbath (1 commandment) they had created “100 more” commandments. Imagine reaching a point in refusing to feed the hungry a little bit of grain, or refusing to heal the broken on a certain day – how far originally well intended people can drift.
There is no awe or fear of God in the eyes of the wicked (Psalm 36:1).
And yet, God is so good! His mercy, His faithfulness, His righteousness, His judgments, and His lovingkindness are mentioned.
Psalm 36:7–8 (NKJV) “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. 8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.”
Imagine that…drinking from the rivers of God’s pleasures! May we never forget – no, not for a day, we were created to exalt God and enjoy God.
May we take in His bountiful blessings, and trust Him to deal with those who come against us.
What a blessing to parents when their children walk in God’s ways (3 John 4). A word to parents (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4) and word to children.
On Proverbs 10:2 David Guzik said, “Being right with God brings a benefit that money can’t buy.”
May we focus first on God, not gold, our walk with Him and not wealth.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.