Worship: Confession, Gratitude, and Sanctification

external-content.duckduckgo.comWhen is the last time that you studied the book of Leviticus? I hear many people complain about Leviticus, about how boring it is or about how it is a bunch of rules and regulations that don’t apply to modern man. I kind of felt that way until I actually studied the book of Leviticus and understood what the Lord is communicating to us through the beautiful book of the Bible. Take a look at what the great Apostle Paul has to teach us about the Old Testament, including the book of Leviticus.

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable . . . (II Timothy 3:16)

If we really believe what the Apostle Paul wrote in the above two verses then there is much to learn from the book of Leviticus.

In our modern times, as a Christian, you can have a very bad week in your struggle to overcome sin yet when you walk in the church and the pastor asks, “how was your week?“, you can put on the fake banana smile and reply, “just fine“. In the Old Testament, when you brought your sacrifice to the priest, he knew right away what kind of week you had in your struggle to overcome sin. How would he know? Leviticus reveals to us how the priest would know how you were doing in your struggle to overcome sin. Let’s find out.

I. Your burnt offering

In the book of Leviticus, God taught the people how to live a life of worship with Him in their midst. This was very important because for a Holy God to dwell among an unholy people, the problem of sin had to be dealt with, constantly. The book of Leviticus teaches us how to live a life of worship in the presence of a Holy God.

8 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
9 “Command Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the law for the burnt offering: the burnt offering itself shall remain on the hearth on the altar all night until the morning, and the fire on the altar is to be kept burning on it.
12 ‘The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it. It shall not go out, but the priest shall burn wood on it every morning; and he shall lay out the burnt offering on it, and offer up in smoke the fat portions of the peace offerings on it. (Leviticus 6)

The burnt offerings were daily offerings that the children of Israel would offer up before the Lord. They were free will offerings, meaning that they were not mandatory offerings. Leviticus chapter one offers more insight into why these burnt offerings were brought before the Lord daily.

1 Then the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying,
2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When any man of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock.
3 ‘If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD.
4 ‘He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf.
5 ‘He shall slay the young bull before the LORD; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. (Leviticus 1)

This burn offering was offered as an atonement on behalf of the person who had sinned. The word atonement means to cover over. Every time a person sinned, he would have to bring an burnt offering to the altar in the presence of the priest and the sinner would have to put the animal to death. The animal would be similar to a visible confession of sin. If we turn back to our analogy earlier in the article, the pastor who asks how your week was would not know the level of success that you had in your battle against temptation and sin. In ancient Israel, on the other hand, if you were dragging two bulls behind you instead of carrying two turtle doves, the priest did not even need to ask how your week was. He could see the results with his own two eyes. The children of Israel were very aware of their sin nature because they had to offer up daily sacrifices as a result of their sin nature. Imagine having to do this every time we sin today. We would be much more aware of our attitudes, actions, and words, I guarantee it! Praise the Lord that we do not have to offer a sacrifice every time that we sin today because the ultimate sacrifice has already been made by Jesus Christ on the cross. But, the same way that the children of Israel had to confess to the priests in ancient Israel, it is also good for us today to confess our sins, not for the sake of forgiveness, but for the sake of accountability.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:16)

Do you have an accountability partner to whom you confess so that you can receive help in your daily battle with your sin nature?

II. Your grain offering

The second offering of worship that we want to consider in Leviticus is the grain offering. The grain offering was also voluntary. It was a reminder to have an attitude of gratitude.

14 ‘Now this is the law of the grain offering: the sons of Aaron shall present it before the LORD in front of the altar.
15 ‘Then one of them shall lift up from it a handful of the fine flour of the grain offering, with its oil and all the incense that is on the grain offering, and he shall offer it up in smoke on the altar, a soothing aroma, as its memorial offering to the LORD. (Leviticus 6)

Gratitude is not something that we are born with, instead, it is something that we have to learn. Jesus connects faith with gratitude. The children of Israel had a daily reminder, the grain offering, to remind them to be grateful to God for all that He had, was doing, and was going to do. They were also reminded to be grateful to others by sharing their grain offerings with the priests. As I read through this passage in Leviticus, I could not help but be reminded of three examples in the Bible about the importance of being grateful.

  1. Lot
    Lot was an orphan who was taken in and raised by his uncle Abraham. Abraham taught Lot faith. Abraham also taught Lot how to work hard. Lot became rich and prestigious because of Abraham. Lot, instead of being appreciative, became proud. When Abraham’s people could not get along with Lot’s people, Lot chose to take advantage of Abraham instead of appreciating all that Abraham had done for him. Lot chose the fertile valley and left Abraham on the side of a mountain. God had the last laugh because Lot ended up choosing to live in Sodom. He paid a heavy price for his lack of appreciation. Abraham, in contrast, came to faith and as a result he was a grateful person.
  2. 10 Lepers
    There were 10 lepers who were together in a leper colony. Jesus chose to pass by them and they cried out to Him to heal them. He took time to listen to them and He sent them to go to the priest. The priest was the one who could declare them healed. While on their way, they realized that they had all been healed. One of the former lepers turned back and bowed at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. He was the only 1 of the 10 who was grateful. The others were probably in a hurry to see the priest so that he could send them home to their families. They were probably noble in their intentions yet they were still ungrateful.
  3. Simon the Pharisee
    Jesus came to visit Simon the Pharisee. Simon was blessed to have the Savior of the world walk into his house. He should have been humbled by this gesture and he should have shown great appreciation to Jesus. Simon was actually very offensive to Jesus. In the culture of the day, when a person entered a home, the fist thing that happened was that the visitor was offered water to wash his feet and hands. Jesus lets us know that Simon did not offer Him water to wash His feet. There is a woman in the passage who is described as a sinner. She comes to Jesus and washes His feet with her tears and hair. She recognized who Jesus was and was appreciative, thankful to be able to see Him and meet with Him. Simon did not respect Jesus with a holy kiss of the day yet the woman was kissing Jesus’ feet. All Simon did was pass judgment. He judged the sinful woman for being sinful. He also judged Jesus for allowing the sinful woman to touch Him. As a result of her appreciative attitude, her sins were forgiven because she came to faith in Christ. The result of faith is being appreciative. A thankful person is demonstrating that his faith is real.

Are you a grateful person? Has God changed you from a selfish person to a selfless person who is able to be appreciative? Are you being reminded of your need to be appreciative? How do you show your appreciation to God? Do you worship and serve the Lord? Do you seek to serve the people around you? Are you teaching your children to be appreciative? Are you demonstrating gratefulness to your kids?

III. Your sin offering

The final offering that we will examine in this lesson is the sin offering. This is a mandatory offering which reveals the fact that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God.

24 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
25 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘This is the law of the sin offering: in the place where the burnt offering is slain the sin offering shall be slain before the LORD; it is most holy.

30 ‘But no sin offering of which any of the blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the holy place shall be eaten; it shall be burned with fire. (Leviticus 6)

This command was given to Moses and Moses was to pass it on to Aaron and the children of Israel. This offering was brought as atonement for sin, very similar to what we saw with the burn offering earlier. The blood of the animal was a temporary cover over the sin of the worshiper. This sacrifice took place daily among the children of Israel for almost 1,600 until the Lord Jesus Christ came to be the ultimate sacrifice.

35 Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples,
36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” (John 1)

There is a second aspect of this offering that I would like to focus on in this section.

‘Anyone who touches its flesh will become consecrated; and when any of its blood splashes on a garment, in a holy place you shall wash what was splashed on. (Leviticus 6:27)

The Hebrew word that is translated in English here as “consecrated” is the word “qadash“. In other places in the Old Testament it is translated “sanctified“. This is where we get the word “saint” from in the English language. It means to be set apart, different. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, God sets us apart from the rest of the world so that we can go out to the ends of the earth and proclaim this Jesus in whom we have believed.

But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (I Peter 2:9)

The blood of Jesus Christ consecrates us. Jesus Christ equips us as priests. What do priests do? Proclaim the excellencies of God who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

What about you my dear friend, are you confessing your sin regularly so that you can have close, personal relationship with God? What are you doing on a daily basis to remind yourself to be grateful to God and to others? Are you living a sanctified life each day? Do you proclaim the excellencies of God to the people around you? Do you see why the book of Leviticus is so practical?

May the Lord help us understand these truths, internalize them, and apply them immediately in our daily lives!

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