Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Friday, February 10, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Feb 10, Lev 26-27

Today's readings are Lev 26-27.

Lev 26 goes into great detail to demonstrate that obedience to God brings blessing while disobedience has consequences, even for God's people. This is a Scriptural principle that runs as a thread throughout the entire Bible. God's people are always His chosen, beloved people. Their status never changes; they are never un-chosen by their actions. That being said, there are always real-world consequences for their rebellion against His commandments. They either enjoy the fullness of His blessing by their obedience or suffer His chastisement for their disobedience. God will use, either way, blessing or trial, to sanctify His people and make them holy.

Lev 27 is rather oblique and, at times, difficult to interpret. The overall rules of oaths, vows and consecrations dominate the chapter. In them, we see that God has an economy that is designed to make His kingdom function in the real world. That economy is based on the sacrifices and offerings of His people, each of them providing tangible benefits, in the work and function of the Temple and the priesthood, and spiritual benefits in their relationship with God.

Oaths are binding commitments, frequently made in the name of God. Vows are conditional obligations, contingent on certain criteria being met. Consecrations are dedications made to the service of God and the Temple.

Land, food and animals can be committed to the Temple, either by oath, in which case they are given as a sacrifice or by vow, in which case they can be used by the Temple as resources or as sources of revenue. Those animals and foods that are meant to be sacrificed must be perfect. The animals and food given by oath are to be consecrated, dedicated and cleansed in service to the Lord. They become holy and set apart.

Animals, people, food and land, though, can and should be given (vowed) to the Temple and may be used either in service to the Temple or can be redeemed for a fixed value. This way, the Temple can function either by using the funds paid for redemption or by using the resources donated in service to the Temple and priests.

God has an economy. A tithe is expected from all people. Sacrifices for all are to be made. Still, redemption for all is provided for, by God's fixed and immutable decree. God sets the standards. God fixes the procedures. The people are to observe and obey them. These are the lessons of Leviticus. 

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