OT Fire Starters – Day 53: Leviticus 21-22
THINK: Does God discriminate? The Bible tells us that God does not show favoritism in His purposes or His judgments (cf. Acts10:34; Colossians 3:25), and He looks at a person’s heart (1 Samuel 16:7) not their outward appearance. So why would God make regulations that restricted people from serving in priestly roles because of physical issues beyond their control? We must understand that most of the laws and rituals surrounding the Old Testament priesthood were meant to serve as object lessons regarding the destruction of sin, the perfection of God and the resulting separation between people and Him. That doesn’t mean that the physical maladies described in the passage were the direct result of an individual’s sin. They simply illustrated the pervasive nature of sin and its ill effects on all creation since the first humans defied God. Since the priests represented God to the people and the people to God, they had to symbolize perfection. Not that they were perfect, but their role and responsibilities pointed to the One who would ultimately bridge the gap between God and people by laying down His own perfect life. This passage provides a physical picture of the spiritual requirements that we can meet only through a relationship with Christ.
RESPOND: Why are the standards strict and the qualifications high for those who serve as ministers for God’s people? (See 21:1 and 21:6 notes.) Why did the Old Testament law restrict people with physical “defects” from serving as priests? (See 21:17 note.) Though this may seem unfair or discriminatory to us, what principle did this illustrate for ancient Israel? (See 21:17 note, subpoint 1.) In what way do these physical restrictions illustrate a spiritual standard for New Testament church leaders? (See 21:17 note, subpoint 2 and article on Moral Qualifications for Ministers, p. 1772 in the FBSE.) Why and how must minsters today treat people’s “offerings” with respect (cf. 22:1- 2)? Why do you think a sacrifice had to be “without defect or blemish” (22:21) to be acceptable to God?
PRAY: Pray for your church and ministry leaders, that they would be examples of moral purity and spiritual integrity.
ACT: Call one of your pastors, teachers or ministry leaders and thank him or her for something specific regarding the example they have set for you.