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the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 24

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-23

Chapter 24

Now the beginning of chapter twenty-four, God commands them to bring olive oil so that they might keep the lamps burning continually in the tabernacle.

Then God explains the shew bread. He gives the formula by which it should be made, and how it should be laid out in two rows of six upon the golden table there in the tabernacle. How it was to be changed once a week. The bread that was then being removed was to be eaten only by the priest. It was a holy bread because it had stood there before the Lord. Each loaf representing one of the tribes of Israel. Then after the week of sitting there on the table it was to be eaten by the priest.

Now a situation arose in verse ten where there was an Isrealitish woman, who had an Egyptian husband, and her son was in a fight. While he was in this fight, he blasphemed the holy name of Jehovah, in cursing this fellow. Several people heard him, and they reported it to Moses. And so he was arrested and he was put in jail until they could get the mind of the Lord on what should be done concerning him.

Now this to me is interesting. Here is a situation that has arisen, "What shall we do?" So they put him in the jail until they could determine what God wanted to be done. So they waited upon God, that God would direct what should be done concerning this man who had blasphemed the name of Jehovah. They put him in the ward, which is the jail that the mind of the Lord might be shown unto them. I like that, waiting upon God.

You know, I think one of the facets of the early church that made it so successful is that they were actually so yielded to the direction of the Holy Spirit. They looked to the Holy Spirit for guidance in all things. I think that one of the great weaknesses of the church today is that we think that we know everything. After all, we've been to seminary, and we've been educated, and we've taken our best minds to develop all of these church programs, and surely we can work it out now in committees. After all you've got efficient committees, why do you need the Holy Spirit? We really don't look to the Holy Spirit anymore for guidance and direction. So often we move impulsively. But the early church was governed and guided by the Holy Spirit.

So Paul said, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us". We read that the Holy Spirit said, "Separate unto me Paul and Barnabas for the ministry wherein I've called them"( Acts 13:2 ). We see how the Holy Spirit was directing the activities for the early church. I believe that that is one of the keys to the success of the early church. I think when we come to the place where we can confess, "God, I don't know how. I don't have the answers. Lord, we need Your help." We start seeking again the guidance of the Holy Spirit to direct its functions and the activities of the church; we're going to see again the power of God working in His church. I love it that they would wait to get the mind of the Lord. Oh what is the mind of the Lord in this situation?

I'm convinced that God is desiring to reach each community with His love with a message of salvation. Not only is He desiring to reach each community, I'm convinced that God has a plan to reach each community. I think in going into a community, the most important thing is to get the mind of the Lord, "What is God's plan to reach this community?" I think that we make a mistake when we try to develop a plan that would be a national plan because each community has its own individual little characteristics, but yet I believe that God has a plan to reach each community. And what we need is to be open to the plan of God, to get into harmony with what God is wanting to do. Because that's all that God is looking for, people who are in harmony with what He is desiring to do. "For the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the entire earth to shew Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect towards Him." Looking for people whose hearts are in tune with what He is wanting, in order that He might invest in them His power to reach out into that community.

So I am really not behind the national programs of evangelism as such or worldwide programs thinking that we have one program that's gonna be adaptable for the whole world. I think that we need to seek the mind of the Lord in each community in each area. We notice that Paul didn't follow a pattern in going into new communities. He went in to sort of feel the thing out. He got the feel of it before he began his ministry. Some of them he went into the synagogue, some of them he just started talking to people on the street. Getting the mind of Christ, so vital.

So they got the mind of the Lord. The Lord said, "Those that heard the guy swear, take him out of the camp, let them put their hands upon his head, and then let people stone him to death." Blaspheming the name of Jehovah.

Then God went on to say,

If any man kills any man [verse seventeen] he shall surely be put to death. If you kill another man's beast, you're to make it good; beast for beast. If you cause a blemish in your neighbour; as he has done, so shall it be done to him; Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he has caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him. He that kills a beast, he shall restore it: and he that kills a man, he shall be put to death. Ye shall have one law that is operating, whether a person be a stranger, or one of your own country men ( Leviticus 24:17-22 ):

In other words, there was not to be any kind of favoritism shown in the justice system, one law for all. I think that that's the greatest weakness of our judicial system today is that there isn't one law for all. It all depends on which judge you're standing before, and it all depends on what kind of a mood he's in. Whether you get a six-month suspended sentence or five years of hard labor. The judge has just had a big fight with his wife and is angry and upset; man, he's liable to really lay it on you. If it's getting close to Christmas time, he might be in a jovial mood and say, "Oh well", you know. The sentence; that isn't real justice. That's the problem with our judicial system. If you're very wealthy and can afford the great attorneys and all then you can get off. It's not fair; it's not right. I do not believe in our system of justice today.

I think that there's much lacking in our whole judicial processes. They need much improvement. It would be well if we had a governor who was wise enough to make decent appointments. Well, I mean when his appointees are calling up and making obscene telephone calls to people, and when they are growing marijuana in their own yard, and when they're avowed homosexuals, what can you hope for? How can you expect there to be a true system of justice? I'm gonna move on cause I could get in trouble real quick.

Now it's interesting when the law says "breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth", et cetera. That Jesus said, "Now you heard that it hath been said, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth"( Matthew 5:38 ), so forth. But I say unto you the law of Christ is love, forgiveness, the better part is that of love and forgiving. God help us. But because we are not all able to come up to the standard of Jesus Christ, there are limitations that have been placed and it should never be more than a breech for a breech, never more than an eye for an eye, never more than a tooth for a tooth. "You knocked out my tooth? Let me give you a tooth sandwich brother." You know you don't want to just hit one, you want to get his, you know, the mouthful if you can. We want to take revenge over and beyond, and so the limitations were put. But even better than that is the forgiving love. "Oh well what difference does it make?" God help us to come to the standard of Jesus Christ. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Leviticus 24". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/leviticus-24.html. 2014.
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