The Holy Calling of the Pastor\Shepherd (Leviticus 7-8)

The Holy Calling of the Pastor\Shepherd (Leviticus 7-8)

Scripture reading – Leviticus 7-8

Leviticus 7 introduces us to the “trespass offering,” a sacrifice that was identified with an individual’s sin. 

In his Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) on the Pentateuch, pastor and author Warren Wiersbe writes concerning the trespass offering:

“The sin [burnt] offering and the guilt [trespass] offering were very much alike and were even governed by the same law (7:1-10). Generally speaking, the guilt offering was for individual sins that affected people and property and for which restitution could be made, while the sin [burnt] offering focused on some violation of the law that was done without deliberate intent. The trespass offering emphasized the damage done to others by the offender, while the sin offering emphasized the offender’s guilt before God. The priest would examine the offender and determine which sacrifice was needed.”

The peace offering, an offering for the purpose of acknowledging God’s grace and giving Him thanks, is described in Leviticus 7:11-21.  The sacrifice of oxen is prescribed, and accompanied by offerings of “unleavened cakes…unleavened wafers…and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fired” (7:12).  The portions of the peace offering not consumed by the fire were given to the priests for their consumption.

The “fat of the beast,” and “blood” portions of the offerings were not to be eaten (7:22-27). The specific portions of the “fat of the beast” that were forbidden was described in Leviticus 3:3-4, 9.  The blood of sacrifices was not to be consumed, because it was the means of atonement (17:11). The penalty for consuming the “fat of the beast,” or the “blood” was to “be cut off from” the congregation (7:25, 27).

Leviticus 8 – The Priesthood

Leviticus 8 established the Levitical priesthood, and consecrated Aaron and his sons to serve as priests before the LORD on behalf of the nation (8:1-5).  Each step of the ordination was detailed, beginning with a ceremonial washing of Aaron and his sons with water (8:6).

Aaron, as the high priest, was distinguished by his clothes (8:7-9). Exodus 28, and Exodus 39, already gave us a detailed description of the garments of the high priest, including his breastplate (8:8), upon which was mounted twelve precious stones, referred to as “the breastplate of judgment” (Exodus 28:30), and upon which were engraved the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

As an act of dedication and consecration to the LORD, anointing oil was sprinkled upon the Tabernacle, its implements, the altar, and the laver (where the priests washed their hands and feet). As the high priest, anointing oil was poured out upon Aaron’s head, serving as an outward testimony of his sanctification (8:10-12).

Remembering that the high priest, and his sons who served as priests, were sinners, Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon a “bullock (or Ox) for the sin offering,” and thus identified with the young bull’s death as an offering for their sins (8:14-17).  A ram was then brought as a “burnt offering,” and its blood was applied to Aaron and his sons, “upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet” (8:23-24).

For seven days, Aaron and his sons remained at the tabernacle as Moses offered sacrifices, and consecrated them to the LORD as priests (8:31-36). On the eighth day, Aaron and his sons began to minister before the LORD, and offered sacrifices on behalf of the nation (Leviticus 9:1-24).

I close today’s devotional, reminded of the great duty borne by those who minister for the LORD to God’s people.  While the offering of sacrifices is no longer required, Jesus Christ being our substitutionary sacrifice and high priest (Hebrews 7:25-28); God has nevertheless called, and ordained men who are set apart to spiritually shepherd His people. The work of the pastor as the shepherd of the church is described in 1 Peter 5:2-4.

1 Peter 5:2-4 – Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3  Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Such is the great calling of the pastor. He is to be a teacher, shepherd, and spiritual leader, in word and example.

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith