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Scripture reading – Leviticus 7-8
Our study of the various sin offerings required by the Law continues in Leviticus 7, where we are introduced to “the law of the trespass offering,” a sacrifice identified with an individual’s sin.
The Trespass or Guilt Offerings (7:1-10)
Following similar guidelines as the “burnt offering” (Leviticus 1), the “trespass offering” (also known as the guilt or reparations offering) was sacrificed by an individual whose sins caused others to suffer harm or loss.
Unlike the “burnt offerings,” the priests were permitted to take a portion of the guilt or trespass offerings (7:5-7). Also, the skin or hide of the offering was the priest’s, as were other parts (including the meat or grain offering and oil, 7:8-10).
The Peace Offering (7:11-27)
Leviticus 7:11-21 described the peace offering, which acknowledged God’s grace and offered thanksgiving to Him for His mercies. Because it was a free-will offering, this was the only offering the donor could partake in. Prescribed for the peace offering was the sacrifice of oxen which was 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 not to be eaten were stated in Leviticus 7:22-27 (the specific parts of the “fat of the beast” that were forbidden were also described in Leviticus 3:3-4, 9). Notice as well that the blood of sacrifices was never to be consumed because it was the means of atonement (17:11). The penalty for consuming that which God had forbidden (the “fat of the beast,” or the “blood”) was egregious, for it meant to “be cut off from” the congregation (7:25, 27).
I will consider in a future study the priests’ share of the peace offering (7:28-38).
Leviticus 8 – The Consecration of the Priesthood
The Public Ordination of Priests (8:1-6)
Leviticus 8 established the Levitical priesthood and consecrated Aaron and his sons to serve 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).
The Dedication of the Tabernacle and the High Priest (8:7-12)
As the high priest, Aaron was distinguished by his garments (8:7-9). Exodus 28 and Exodus 39 described the high priest’s garments, including his breastplate (8:8), upon which twelve precious stones were mounted. Referred to as “the breastplate of judgment,” the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel were engraved on those stones (Exodus 28:30).
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). Because he was the high priest, anointing oil was poured upon Aaron’s head and served as an outward testimony of his sanctification (meaning he was set apart for ministry, 8:10-12).
The Sin Offering and Consecration of the High Priest and His Sons (8:13-36)
Acknowledging that the high priest and his sons served as priests and yet were sinners, Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon a “bullock (or Ox) for the sin offering.” The bullock served as a symbol of sin atonement (8:14-17). A ram was also 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).
Aaron and his sons remained at the tabernacle for seven days as Moses offered sacrifices and consecrated those men to the LORD as priests (8:31-36). Then, as we will see, on the eighth day, Aaron and his sons began to minister before the LORD and offered sacrifices for the people (Leviticus 9:1-24).
As I close today’s devotion, I am reminded of the great responsibility borne by those who minister before the LORD for God’s people. Offering sacrifices is no longer necessary because Christ is our substitutionary sacrifice and high priest (Hebrews 7:25-28). Nevertheless, the LORD has called and ordained men whom He has set apart to shepherd His people spiritually (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:1:7-9).
The pastor’s work as a shepherd is described in 1 Peter 5:2-4, where we read: “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. (1 Timothy 5:11-12)
Questions to Consider:
1) Who could eat some of the trespass (guilt) offerings? (Leviticus 7:6)
2) Where was Moses when God gave him the law concerning the sacrifices to be offered to Him? (Leviticus 7:38)
3) Where were Aaron and his sons ordained to the priesthood? (Leviticus 8:2-4)
4) What was the consequence if Aaron or his sons disobeyed the LORD and abandoned their place of consecration? (Leviticus 8:35)
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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