READ: Leviticus 4:22-35
Two more ‘sin offering’ scenarios
I just want to share a quick thought for today’s reading. You may have already noticed this thought as you read through the instructions of the previous offering situations. This chapter demonstrates it quite well though.
As you progress through the different stages of this chapter it is broken into sections of explaining how the offering should be conducted depending on the person brining the offering. The first person (vs. 3-12) is the case of a priest; then the entire nation (vs. 13-21); next is the case of a gulty ruler (vs. 22-26); finally it is the case of ‘any old soul’ (vs. 27-35).
Different animals are to be brought depending on who the offending party was – the more important you became, the higher the standard of animal. Eg. bulls for the priests and the nation; a male goat kid for the ruler; and finally just a female kid or lamb for the ‘any old soul’. In other cases, sometimes a number of different animals could be brought so that the offending party had every opportunity to make the sacrifice. The common people had a number of options (lamb or a goat kid) and the animal only had to be a female (the male animals were more popular in the sacrifices); the King had to bring a male goat kid – which is more specific and probably harder to attain; the congregation and the priests had to bring a young bull (which would have been an even rarer animal amongst these shepherds). In the case of some other offerings, if the worshipper couldn’t afford the sheep or goats etc. they could simply bring two birds; if he couldn’t even do that then it was possible to just offer grain (see chapter 5).
God is gracious! I think God knows what is in our means to give and only expects us to be able to contribute what we have avaiable to us. There is certainly a principle of ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ in the sense that the higher the person was the more important their offering had to be – but I don’t think those expectations were outside their ability to meet.
Is it possible (I personally think it is very prevalent) that we place blanket expectations of service, attendance, giving, sacrifice, and work on all people within a church culture??? We expect to see the single mother at church every Sunday just as we expect to see the retired couple sitting in the same seats every week? We expect the busy, travelling businessman who has a young family to get involved in every homegroup, men’s meeting, morning prayer time and Sunday service.
I’m not trying to state God’s expectations of people, I just want to suggest that maybe God is more gracious with His practical expectation of people than we are ourselves.