Leviticus 27:1-4,26,28,30,34 The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate a person to the LORD by giving the equivalent value, set the value of a male between the ages of twenty and sixty at fifty shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel; for a female, set her value at thirty shekels... “‘No one, however, may dedicate the firstborn of an animal, since the firstborn already belongs to the LORD; whether an ox or a sheep, it is the LORD’s... “‘But nothing that a person owns and devotes to the LORD—whether a human being or an animal or family land—may be sold or redeemed; everything so devoted is most holy to the LORD... “‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD... These are the commands the LORD gave Moses at Mount Sinai for the Israelites.
The last chapter of the book of Leviticus is upon us and at first glance, it seems bizarre because it puts value to human life by age and gender, value to livestock, property, etc.
What is the point to this chapter and how relevant is it to us today or is this just a lesson in history?
Some Israelites dedicated themselves, their livestock or even their property to God as a gesture of love or as a way of asking God to fix a situation or as gratefulness to God for His goodness to them.
The motivations were many but sometimes these commitments were not well thought out and the consequence was confusion which caused God to lay the law regarding this.
The value God put to each human life by way of silver shekels was not to show that kids were of less important than adults or that seniors fell in worth but to show the physical worthiness of each.
Adults between the age of twenty to sixty were considered strong and able to work hardest and therefore had the highest value put to them.
The priests were given the task of checking the quality of the livestock or property dedicated and were also assigned the role of assigning value to them.
These values were literally written in stone and redemption of any dedicated item was a fifth of it's value more because everything dedicated to God now belonged to God.
To God, a yes is a yes and a covenant will never be broken. God is never flippant about anything He says and His word has stood the test of time to prove it.
We however are not the same as we live mostly for ourselves and therefore don't always stand for what we say if it eventually does not benefit us or seem acceptable to us.
We are reminded today about not making sweeping statements or commitments to God because He will hold us accountable to them.
We are also reminded about our tithes or first fruits of all that we receive which is to be given back to God for His glory. We cannot commit to giving to God that which is His in the first place.
Before Jesus came into this world, He knew the painful sacrifice He would have to make for each of us and did not falter from making it.
His commitment to doing God's work and His dedication to providing a way back for all humanity back to God was sincere and He did not fail His task.
Today two thousand years later, you and I can stand on God's word knowing it is true and will not fail us but can God say the same of us?
In His Loving Service,