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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 27

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-34

Chapter 27

Now the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, say unto them, When a man makes a singular vow, the persons shall be for the Lord by thy estimation ( Leviticus 27:1-2 ).

Now if you make a vow unto God and say, "God, I'm gonna give You my life," wonderful. "Now I want to take my life back. Lord, I've decided not to give You my life." Well hey, He won't play Indian giver with you. You want to take yourself back now? You don't want to give your life to God? Okay, drop fifty shekels of silver into the pot. You had to buy yourself back from the Lord. You made a vow; you made a commitment. "God, I'm giving my life to You, now I'm gonna take my life back." Okay, you can buy your life back from God for fifty shekels, or six? What is it? Fifty, sixty shekels of silver. Fifty shekels of silver. That's if you're a man. If you're a girl, you get better off; you only get valued at thirty shekels of silver.

Now the main idea is be careful what you promise God. You know the Bible says, "When you come into the presence of God don't be swift to speak. You know, really weigh your words. The Psalmist prayed, "Lord don't let me sin with my lips." I think of how many times we actually sin with our lips when we're making promises and vows to God.

Now the Bible says, "It's better not to make a vow at all"( Ecclesiastes 5:5 ). God doesn't require you to make vows. So it's better that you don't make any vow at all, then to make a vow to God and break it, because God takes you serious.

Now what if we tried to treat each other in our transactions like we treat God? "Oh friend, I'd like to give you my car. Here let me sign over the pink slip." "Oh praise the Lord that's wonderful. I need a car." Then I come back the next day and say, "I've decided I don't want to give you the car; I want it back." "Oh man, I've already put new tires on it." "Well, I want it back, my car you know." We do that with God so often. "God I want to give You this. Lord, I want it back." The Lord takes it serious. He doesn't play those kinds of games with you. "All right if you want it back, put in the kitty what it's worth."

That's what the whole chapter is about. Anything that you vowed to God, anything that you promised to God, if you wanted to take it back, then God charged you. You'd have to come and give the estimate for it, and you'd have to pay the estimated value of that thing. You just don't get it back from God. He doesn't just give back to you. You have to buy back what you've given to God if you want it for yourself.

So it starts out with people promising their lives. "Oh God, my life is Yours. I give my life to You." "Fine, I'll take it." "Oh God, I want my life back." "All right fifty shekels." "Oh God, I give You my lamb Lord; it's Your little lamb." "Fine, I'll take it." "Oh Lord, it's growing up to look so nice, and all, I could probably-" "Okay, buy it back from Me." See but then if you bought the lamb back, not only did you have to pay the estimated price, but you had to add twenty percent. God wanted interest on His money. It's not so easy. The bank hasn't really gotten quite as heavy as God, as far as interest rates. God always said, "Add a fifth part thereto."

So here in the twenty-seventh chapter are the things that have been dedicated to God. God accepted them. They belonged to God. God considered ownership of them. Now, if you're trying to renege, take it back, God will allow you to do it, but you'd have to pay for it. Then in a matter of things, you had to add a twenty percent surtax on it unto the Lord. The various ages by which things were valued, and the thing is you couldn't make any switcheroos on God. You couldn't give Him a lamb and it grows up to be real nice, and then you had one that was sort of sick, you switch it, you know, and do a switcheroo on God and give Him this poor one. He wouldn't go for that either. So you try to switcheroo, they both belong to God. It's so no switcheroos on Him. He wouldn't go for that kind of a bit. You try that kind of stuff you get in trouble, because then He'll take them both.

So He goes on and lays out this whole thing of things dedicated to God, and if you wanted them back, the ways by which you got them back. Now as far as the firstborn of anything, that just automatically belonged to God. God laid claim to the firstborn of everything. The firstborn lamb, the firstborn calf, the firstborn of any of the animals, they all belonged to God. You wanted to keep them, you could buy them from God. But God just automatically laid claim to the firstborn of everything. Even your firstborn son you had to buy from God. He was firstborn, God claimed all the firstborn so "the firstborn is Mine, so you want him, you can buy him." So God is a shrewd businessman and He deals in a very straightforward way.

So the firstling of the beast which should be the Lord's firstling, no man shall sanctify it. You don't have to dedicate it, it's already God's whether it's an ox, a sheep, it's the Lord's.

And if it be of an unclean animal ( Leviticus 27:11 )

If it's a horse, or an animal that was considered unclean, you couldn't offer it to God, then you had to buy it from the Lord, because it's still the firstborn, still belongs to God. So you have a firstborn horse, you have to buy that from Him. He didn't want the horse, so He'd just take the money instead.

And ye shall redeem it according to the estimated price, and then add a fifth part thereto. ( Leviticus 27:13 ),

If it is not to be redeemed, if you don't redeem it, then you've got to sell it for the estimated price.

Notwithstanding [verse twenty-eight] no devoted thing, that a man shall devote to the Lord of all that he has, both of man and beast, of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord. [Once you devote it to the Lord, it belongs to the Lord.] None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; [If you try to do it] you'll be put to death. Now all the tithe of the land, whether the seed, or the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord ( Leviticus 27:28-30 ).

So God just laid claim. He just came and laid claim to a tenth of everything, of the firstfruits, the first tenth belongs to God. Whatever's left is yours. There wasn't any, there wasn't any quibbling about it; it's just first tenth belongs to God.

Now if you would hold back that tenth, if you would at all redeem that tenth that belongs to God, He just considers it belongs to Him. If you're gonna hold back at all, then you've got to add twenty percent. Some people borrow from their tithes, man, that's rough interest. Twenty percent if you borrow on your tithes. Because God said, "That's Mine, keep your hands off of it; it belongs to Me." If you take from it, then add a fifth part thereto; twenty percent.

And if a man [verse thirty-one] will redeem all of his tithes, he shall add thereto a fifth part. [Twenty percent] And concerning the tithes of the herd, or the flock, even whatsoever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord ( Leviticus 27:28-30 ).

Now you're not to, you see, when you, when you bring your flock in, every tenth one belonged to God. You know the little firstling lamb that comes through, every tenth one, the Lord's, separated. You're not to look and see the tenth one coming through, and you watch, "Oh man", and move the line. God doesn't want any fudging'.

And so as you're passing them through the rod the tenth shall be the Lord's. And you shall not search whether it is good or bad, neither shall you change it: because if you change it, then both the one that was supposed to be the Lord's, and the one you changed it for, both belong to God; it shall not be redeemed. These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai ( Leviticus 27:32-34 ).

So man, God you know is asking quite a bit. Yeah, but look what He's giving you, three seventh-day vacations during the year, and every seventh year off. Plus plenty, plus His presence. I'd say that you're getting a pretty good deal. Now if you do your part, God does His part. "If you will obey, this is what I'll do."

As we come into the New Testament and we read scriptures such as, "Christ is the end of the law to those that believe"( Romans 10:4 ), "for the law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ"( John 1:17 ), "for we are not under law, but under grace"( Romans 6:14 ). It does mean that we do now have a new relationship with God which is not predicated upon doing and living.

Thus, if you'll read the book of Hebrews again, you'll find it extremely interesting to you from the Christian perspective. Because in Hebrews it points out that this old covenant was predicated upon man's obedience. For the scripture saith, "And he that shall do them shall live by them"( Romans 10:5 ).

So the old covenant was predicated upon your obedience; your doing it. But man failed. The nation Israel is a testimony of man's failure. God, in keeping His word, dispersed them out of the land, scattered them into all of the world, made their land desolate, yet maintained their national identity, and is now fulfilling that promise that He gave where He would again deal with them and bring them back into the land. But in the meantime, God has established a new covenant with man that is no longer based upon the old covenant, "and he that doeth them shall live by them".

But the new covenant is now established through the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The new covenant doesn't emphasize what man does, but what God has done. Because the old covenant failed, not because it wasn't good, not because it wasn't righteous. It was a righteous covenant. Never look upon the law disparagingly, "Oh, that's the law." Hey wait a minute. The law is holy, just and good. It's the law of God. "I consent to the law that it is right." I read these things and I say, "Yes, that's right." My heart consents to the law, but my flesh rebels. My flesh doesn't want to come under the yoke of the law. Thus, rather than being forever alienated from God, and from the love and the life of God, God has now established a new covenant with man. In the new covenant, God now accepts me on the basis not of what I am doing, but what on the basis of what He has done in sending His only Son to be a sacrifice for me, and to bear my sins, so that God can bring me into fellowship with Himself.

Now the old covenant failed because of man's weakness. The new covenant cannot fail, because God cannot fail. The old covenant predicated upon man couldn't make it. The new covenant predicated now upon God's faithfulness. Man's faithfulness didn't make it; God's faithfulness, hey it's going to make it. It can't fail because God is faithful. God is going to do what He said He is going to do for you who will just simply now believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, or on the lordship of Jesus Christ. You who will just submit your lives to Jesus Christ, you enter into a new covenant relationship with God through faith of Jesus Christ.

As you get into Hebrews, you'll read all about it: the better covenant established through better promises, and better sacrifices, and better priesthood, the whole thing that we have through Jesus Christ. And the comparison is over against the book of Leviticus. And the end of the book of Leviticus, how does it end? The people are all alienated from God. The covenant was to bring them into fellowship with God, actually separated them from God and dispersed them into the world. So the old covenant having failed, it was necessary that God create a new covenant in order that man might be brought unto God. That new covenant God has established and confirmed it through Jesus Christ.

Now if you don't want Jesus Christ, then the only way you can relate to God is under the old covenant. But no one was able to successfully relate to God under that old covenant. But that's your only choice. "For there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved"( Acts 4:12 ), Peter said, "the name of Jesus." So He is our hope. He is the basis of our covenant that we have. He is the basis of our relationship with God, and we have fellowship with God through Him, and through the blood of His covenant.

So go back and read Hebrews this week. You're gonna find the book of Hebrews is just gonna come alive and open up to you like never before, having now had this foundation in Leviticus, and this old covenant which did fail. Now go back and reaffirm that relationship that you have with God through this new covenant in Jesus Christ, established under better promises.

Shall we stand?

Now as we go through the book of Numbers, whenever you get into the numbers, just skip it if you want. It's not required reading. When you get into the genealogies of the families, skip those, they're not required reading. I'll let you off on that, but there are some neat little nuggets buried in some of these genealogies, and truths, and thoughts. So we'll take the first ten chapters of Numbers next week, but you don't have to read the whole thing. There are portions that you can just scan. But don't scan the whole thing because there is some really valuable truths in this first ten chapters of Numbers, and so we'll take the ten moving on through.

May the Lord bless you and prosper you in His love, and in His grace, and in His fullness. May you just experience that joy of the Lord as your strength. May you be established in the hope that is ours through Jesus Christ, as we look for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, who shall establish God's kingdom and bring us all into that glorious age of ruling and reigning with Him, on an earth that has been renewed and revitalized. One on which we'll keep the Sabbaths, no doubt, the years and the whole thing, glorious age of the King. May God sustain you, give you strength and power. In Jesus' name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Leviticus 27". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/leviticus-27.html. 2014.
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