Friday, August 25, 2023

2023.08.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Leviticus 7:22–38

Read Leviticus 7:22–38

Questions from the Scripture text: Who spoke to whom in Leviticus 7:22? To whom is he now to speak again (Leviticus 7:23)? What mustn’t they eat of which animals? Even if what happens to it (Leviticus 7:24)? Why, what are these animals used for (Leviticus 7:25a)? And what must be done to the one who eats the fat parts of it (verse 25b)? What else mustn’t they eat (Leviticus 7:26)? From which animals (cf. Genesis 9:4)? Upon what penalty (Leviticus 7:27)? Again, Who speaks to whom for whom (Leviticus 7:28-29)? What does the one offering the peace bring to Whom, from the peace (Leviticus 7:29)? In what manner (Leviticus 7:30)? What does he bring with the fat? In order to do what with the breast before Whom? What will the priest do with the fat (Leviticus 7:31)? And with the breast? What else do the priests receive from the peace (Leviticus 7:32)? Which priest gets the right thigh (Leviticus 7:33)? How does Leviticus 7:34 summarize this assignment? How will the assignees be recognized (Leviticus 7:35)? Upon what authority (Leviticus 7:36)? For how long (end of Leviticus 7:34Leviticus 7:36)? How does Leviticus 7:37 summarize Leviticus 6:8–7:36? Where and when does Leviticus 7:38 remind us that all this took place?

How does YHWH honor His priests and teach the people to? Leviticus 7:22–38 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these seventeen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that YHWH not only reserves His own portions, but leads His people in designating for the priests a specific portion from what is the people’s. 

Concluding another section. When the Lord gave instructions to the children of Israel for their sacrifices (Leviticus 1:3–3:17), He concluded with a warning not to eat the fat or the blood (Leviticus 3:16–17). Then, when He supplied the sin offering (Leviticus 4:1–6:7), one of the main points was that the Lord had supplied priests who would make atonement, and the Lord Himself would do the forgiving. Then, the Lord turned to address the priests in Leviticus 6:8–7:21, including especially the Lord’s own provision for the priests. Now, the conclusion to this section matches the conclusion to chapter 3, but expands upon it with these themes of what is reserved for the Lord and what is reserved for His priests.

What is reserved for the Lord. The fat of the ox, sheep, and goats was reserved for the Lord (Leviticus 7:23) not just from the sacrifices but from all of those animals (Leviticus 7:24). How important is this? The one who does otherwise must be excommunicated. So every time they ate meat from one of these animals, they would remember that the Lord has brought them near, just by not eating the fat. And every time they ate meat from one of these animals, they would learn to value their membership in the covenant people, which was sustained to them in part by following these directions.

What is reserved for the priests. Now, there was one offering from which the meat belonged to the worshiper. But here we learn that the breast is reserved for the priests generally and the right thigh is reserved for the officiating priest. What’s important is how the breast, in particular, is presented. It is actually lifted up before YHWH alongside the fat! And the Lord emphasizes that this is done with the worshiper’s own hand (Leviticus 7:30). 

As the worshiper raises the fat parts that are so intensely, exclusively YHWH’s, he raises the priests’ breast part alongside. It is a physical expression of honoring and gratitude in which the provision of the priest to the worshiper and the consecration of the priest unto God is properly respected. 

The “heave offering” (Leviticus 7:32Leviticus 7:34) is actually just a “contribution”—another translation difficulty that we must overcome as English speakers in the book of Leviticus. It is important to note that this contribution is only to be made to the officiating priest after he has offered the fat parts (Eli’s sons would later be condemned for violating this sequence). 

Not just meat but anointingLeviticus 7:34Leviticus 7:35, and Leviticus 7:36 each have the feel of a summary statement. Each emphasizes that portion for Aaron and his sons. The “statute forever” of Leviticus 7:34 is matched in Leviticus 7:36. For whatever ages Aaron’s sons serve as priests, these portions belong to them. And there is a definite start point in view in verse 36: “the day that He anointed them.” The honor paid to the priest was a recognition that they were the Lord’s anointed for the people. The word ‘anointed’ is the one from which we get “Messiah” or “Christ.” 

Here at Sinai (Leviticus 7:38), YHWH had provided a consummation of His salvation; YHWH had provided His law; YHWH had provided a tabernacle; YHWH had provided their drawing near by ascension, tribute, and peace; YHWH had provided atonement and forgiveness; and, YHWH had provided anointed priests! It is to these last that the narrative now turns in chapter 8. And, this side of Pentecost, we see that the great provision is, of course, our Lord Jesus. In Him, we are gathered unto God. He is our redemption, our tabernacle, our drawing near, our ascension, our tribute, our peace, our atonement, our forgiveness, and our Priest! And indeed, His portion throughout His generations is everything. And His generation is forever!

What should we be remembering about ourselves and Christ not only whenever we eat, but also whenever we drink, and whenever we do anything? How do we give Him His portion? With what sort of heart should we?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for giving us Jesus Christ to be our forever-priest. Grant unto us that we would remember our belonging to Him whether we eat or drink or whatever we do. Make us to do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, even as we pray now in that Name to You, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23 “The LORD’s My Shepherd” or TPH274 “Jesus, My Great High Priest”

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