Scripture: verse 7
Put frankincense with each row [of bread] to be an offering made by fire to Adonai in place of the bread and as a reminder of it.
Observation: Each week, they had to use twelve gallons of fine flour to make bread, and the bread was displayed on the holy table. Frankincense was put out with it, and then the frankincense was burned and the bread got eaten by the priests.
The sacrifice was bread. But instead of taking the bread, which could then go to feed the priests, God took the frankincense, which had no real use beyond smelling nice.
Proverbs 37:25 says, “I have been young; now I am old; yet not once have I seen the righteous abandoned, or his descendants begging for bread.” God is not unreasonable. He does not demand sacrifices that leave us with nothing. He deserves them – without His grace we would be dead in our sin (Col 2:13) – but He doesn’t take them. Because He loves us.
The things that we give to God have a way of coming back to us. Our sacrifices are often the source of our blessings. God asks us to trust Him with our finances and our time and our energy so that He can make sure we have plenty. Our trust becomes His provision.
Application: Give God His due. Trust Him to provide for you. He wants to, after all.
Prayer: Father, thank you for abundantly blessing everything my family has turned over to you. Help us to find more ways to trust you. Amen.
Scripture: verse 12
He may not leave the sanctuary then or profane the sanctuary of his God, because the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is on him; I am Adonai.
Observation: The High Priest was not allowed to go into mourning for anyone, not even his own parents. He wasn’t even allowed to attend the funeral. (Regular priests were only allowed to mourn immediate family.) For him to do so would dishonor God.
Yeshua later told His followers that they needed to love Him more than their parents and family in order to be His followers (Luke 14). When He said it, that was literally true – following Yeshua meant traveling around the country with Him – but even today that is the level of commitment He asks of us.
This is harsh. It’s not easy, and it seems inhuman. Which isn’t exactly surprising, since God is holy and different and other.
But there’s another time when we leave our parents: marriage. Genesis 2:24 says that a man leaves his father and mother to be united to his wife, so that they can be one flesh. And it’s true that if a married person puts their parents before their spouse, the marriage falls apart.
Like marriage, following Yeshua demands a complete shift in priorities and perspective. It involves leaning new ways of living and new routines and new values. It isn’t easy. But like marriage, it’s worth it.
Application: Don’t be surprised when God’s priorities are different from yours. Ask Him to help you understand instead of rejecting His ideas entirely.
Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for loving me enough to claim me. Help me to learn to live with you and walk closely with you. Amen.
Scripture: verse 36
The cohen (priest) is to order the house emptied before he goes in to inspect the infection, so that everything in the house won’t be made unclean; afterwards, the cohen is to enter and inspect the house.
Observation: We now turn to the laws for an infected house. Houses can’t get leprosy, so this was probably some sort of mildew or mold. And it was a royal pain if your house was infected, because you had to empty it and live elsewhere while it was quarantined and eventually might have to build an entirely new house.
It seems to me that the only way to put up with some of these Laws was to hold material possessions very lightly. You couldn’t attach emotion to clothes or pots or houses or anything else that might become unclean and need to be destroyed. The more stuff you had, the more inconvenient these laws were.
In Matthew, Yeshua talks about throwing away even very precious and important things if doing so will help you stay closer to God (Matthew 5:29-30.) I think God was pushing His people to hold things lightly, so they could spend more time talking to Him.
I have plenty of stuff. Probably more than I need. And I’m very grateful that Yeshua’s death has cleaned my house as well as me and obviated the need for me to empty my house and show it to a priest every time I find something suspicious. But I do have to remember that God needs to be the center of my life, and that includes the way I use my stuff.
Application: God is more important than stuff. Period, end of statement. He needs to be at the center of our spending habits and our hobbies and our daily routine.
Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for making my stuff clean. Help me to use it to glorify you. Amen.
Scripture: verse 6
This is what Adonai has ordered you to do, so that the glory of Adonai will appear to you.
Observation: The classic human religious tradeoff is that humans have to do x, y, and z, and their god will be happy with them and make them rich. This verse is God’s version.
For one thing, we are commanded to be holy. Not good enough, not doing enough good things to outweigh our bad things. Holy. We can’t be holy, so (thankfully) God has arranged for a Substitute to take all the not-holy. But our lack of holiness requires blood and death.
We can’t make up for the not-holy. It has to be taken away.
And once we are made holy, we aren’t necessarily promised health and wealth and happiness. God does provide those things, but He is selective about what He gives us. If a time of sickness or poverty will be better in the long run, that’s what He provides. He’s a wise father, not an indulgent babysitter.
But. We are promised the presence of His glory. Once we are made holy, we get to see our God face to face. We get to ask Him questions and get answers. We get to tell Him things and have Him comfort us. We get to see His glory.
Nobody else promises that.
Application: According to the authors of Happy Money, people who buy experiences are happier for longer than people who buy things. So we have a choice. We can spend our time and energy pursuing things like wealth. Or we can experience the glory of Almighty God.
Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for being my Substitute, for taking my not-holy on yourself. Thank you for being my ticket into God’s presence. Help me to rest in His glory instead of being anxious over my own concerns. Amen.
Scripture: from verse 13
He is to wash the entrails and lower parts of the legs with water
Observation: Speaking of burnt offerings here: the offering (sheep in this section, bird in the next few verses) was to be slaughtered, the blood drained onto the sides of the alter, and then it was to be cleaned before being burned. The yucky parts of the sheep got washed with water, and the bird’s crop was to be removed.
Now, obviously you would do this to animals you were going to eat, but it’s kinda weird to do this to a sacrifice when it’s just going to be burned to ash anyway. It’s not like God will be sickened by a little dirt.
So possibly it’s for the benefit of the person bringing the offering, to continue to be involved in each step of the process. He doesn’t leave it all to the priest, but continues to prepare the sacrifice himself. Just like Yeshua is our sacrifice, but we continue to work with Him to enter into God’s grace.
(Or, possibly, it was for more practical reasons – could there be anything that would make people sick if it got into the smoke? I doubt it, but it’s possible.)
Application: Don’t assume your job is done once you’ve accepted His sacrifice. There’s still a lot of cleaning to be done.
Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for cleaning me. Thank you for sacrificing yourself for me even when I’m covered in mud and worse. Help me to stay under your waterfall of forgiveness. Amen.