Leviticus 22 (NRSV)
The Use of Holy Offerings
“We Give Thee But Thine Own”
by William W. How, 1823-1897
We give Thee but Thine own,
Whate’er the gift may be;
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from Thee.
May we Thy bounties thus
As stewards true receive
And gladly, as Thou blessest us,
To Thee our first-fruits give!
To comfort and to bless,
To find a balm for woe,
To tend the lone and fatherless,
Is angels’ work below.
The captive to release,
To God the lost to bring,
To teach the way of life and peace,
It is a Christlike thing.
And we believe Thy Word,
Though dim our faith may be:
Whate’er for Thine we do, O Lord,
We do it unto Thee.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Direct Aaron and his sons to deal carefully with the sacred donations of the people of Israel, which they dedicate to me, so that they may not profane my holy name; I am the Lord.
3Say to them: If anyone among all your offspring throughout your generations comes near the sacred donations, which the people of Israel dedicate to the Lord, while he is in a state of uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord.
4No one of Aaron’s offspring who has a leprous disease or suffers a discharge may eat of the sacred donations until he is clean. Whoever touches anything made unclean by a corpse or a man who has had an emission of semen, 5and whoever touches any swarming thing by which he may be made unclean or any human being by whom he may be made unclean—whatever his uncleanness may be— 6the person who touches any such shall be unclean until evening and shall not eat of the sacred donations unless he has washed his body in water. 7When the sun sets he shall be clean; and afterward he may eat of the sacred donations, for they are his food.
The Jews start their days at sundown, not sunrise or midnight. With this description, God indicates that one can start the new day clean and pure to the Lord. No matter how we might have failed the day before, we can begin each new day pure and close to the Lord. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). In application, we can stop beating our selves up for yesterday’s sin. We should confess it, repent of it, and then get on with the business of walking with the Lord today.
8That which died or was torn by wild animals he shall not eat, becoming unclean by it: I am the Lord.
9They shall keep my charge, so that they may not incur guilt and die in the sanctuary for having profaned it: I am the Lord; I sanctify them.
10No lay person shall eat of the sacred donations. No bound or hired servant of the priest shall eat of the sacred donations; 11but if a priest acquires anyone by purchase, the person may eat of them; and those that are born in his house may eat of his food. 12If a priest’s daughter marries a layman, she shall not eat of the offering of the sacred donations; 13but if a priest’s daughter is widowed or divorced, without offspring, and returns to her father’s house, as in her youth, she may eat of her father’s food. No lay person shall eat of it.
14If a man eats of the sacred donation unintentionally, he shall add one-fifth of its value to it, and give the sacred donation to the priest. 15No one shall profane the sacred donations of the people of Israel, which they offer to the Lord, 16causing them to bear guilt requiring a guilt offering, by eating their sacred donations: for I am the Lord; I sanctify them.
17The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 18Speak to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel and say to them: When anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens residing in Israel presents an offering, whether in payment of a vow or as a freewill offering that is offered to the Lord as a burnt offering, 19to be acceptable in your behalf it shall be a male without blemish, of the cattle or the sheep or the goats. 20You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable in your behalf. 21When anyone offers a sacrifice of well-being to the Lord, in fulfillment of a vow or as a freewill offering, from the herd or from the flock, to be acceptable it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. 22Anything blind, or injured, or maimed, or having a discharge or an itch or scabs—these you shall not offer to the Lord or put any of them on the altar as offerings by fire to the Lord. 23An ox or a lamb that has a limb too long or too short you may present for a freewill offering; but it will not be accepted for a vow.
Animals with physical anomalies, such as this three-legged goat . . .
24Any animal that has its testicles bruised or crushed or torn or cut, you shall not offer to the Lord; such you shall not do within your land, 25nor shall you accept any such animals from a foreigner to offer as food to your God; since they are mutilated, with a blemish in them, they shall not be accepted in your behalf.
. . . or animals which had been castrated, such as the steers pictured above, were useful for food or for service in agricultural areas, but were not acceptable for sacrifice to God.
26The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall remain seven days with its mother, and from the eighth day on it shall be acceptable as the Lord’s offering by fire. 28But you shall not slaughter, from the herd or the flock, an animal with its young on the same day.
29When you sacrifice a thanksgiving offering to the Lord, you shall sacrifice it so that it may be acceptable in your behalf.
Psalm 107:22 (New International Version)
Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy.
30It shall be eaten on the same day; you shall not leave any of it until morning: I am the Lord.
31Thus you shall keep my commandments and observe them: I am the Lord. 32You shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel: I am the Lord; I sanctify you, 33I who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord.
“You Are Lord.” Written and sung HERE by Micah Stampley.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.