Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: The Path Of Walking In Fellowship With God (Leviticus 11-27)
L. God's Call For The Respectful Worship Of Himself
(Leviticus 22:17-33 with Malachi 1:6-14)
  1. Introduction
    1. Christian churches are experimenting with a wide variety of forms of worship in their worship services.
    2. With this experimentation comes a debate as to what is acceptable worship forms and styles in a church.
    3. Leviticus 22:17-33 in view of Malachi 1:6-14 in very instructive on a great guiding principle in worship that makes a clear-cut line between what is acceptable and what is unacceptable worship to God.
  2. God's Call For The Respectful Worship Of Himself, Leviticus 22:17-33 with Malachi 1:6-14.
    1. The Lord commanded Moses to tell Aaron, his sons and the congregation that the animals they were to bring for offerings had to be without defect, Leviticus 22:17-19, 20-21.
    2. We know from how these sacrifices pictured Christ's atonement on the cross, it was important that the sacrificial animals used be without defect to reveal the perfection of Christ: only because Christ was without the defect of sin could His atonement adequately cover our sins before God, cf. 1 Peter 1:18-19.
    3. We also know that respecting the perfection of Christ respects God and His view of the importance of His Son's death in our place: Peter speaks of the need to respect God in our lives due to the awful price the Son of God in all His perfect humanity and deity paid for us on the cross, 1 Peter 1:17 with 18-19.
    4. To settle questions on specific qualifications of animals, the Lord named them in Leviticus 22:22-33:
      1. Animals with deformities, such as blindness, a broken bone or maimed, were unacceptable, 22a.
      2. Animals with disease such as running sores, warts or festering sores were unacceptable to God, 22b.
      3. God did make an exception regarding freewill offerings made at the motivation of the offerer: a deformed or growth-stunted animal for such an offering was permitted, Leviticus 22:23.
      4. However, animals with crushed, torn, bruised or cut parts were unacceptable for offerings, 22:24.
      5. Furthermore, God did not want the people to offer animals that had been given to them by an alien: He wanted only those animals that represented the flocks of Israel, indicating worship that came genuinely from the people themselves rather than from aliens to the commonwealth of God, Leviticus 22:25.
      6. God wanted animals that had lived the full cycle of a week, representing a complete cycle of time and illustrating the need for Christ's earthly life to occur before the cross to show His credibility as a sacrifice for our sins, Lev. 22:26-28; J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible, v. I, p. 425.
      7. The Lord prohibited killing an animal that was a nursing mother with its nursing calf on the same day as this would show disrespect for the procreative part of God's creation: they were to be sacrificed on different days out of respect for the Creator who caused His creatures to procreate, Lev. 22:28.
      8. Additionally, any sacrifice that was a thanksgiving had to be eaten the day it was sacrificed to minimize any spoilage that would show disrespect to God's holiness, Leviticus 22:29-30.
      9. All of these commands were to be heeded out of respect for the separation of God from sin, 22:31-33.
    5. Indeed, when Israel became lax in heeding these things, the Lord became angry with her, Malachi 1:6-14:
      1. God later complained the people of Israel had despised His name by polluting His altar, Malachi 1:6-7.
      2. When Israel asked how she had despised His name, God detailed His complaint in Israel's offering blind, lame and sick animals in contrast to what He had ordered in Leviticus 22, Malachi 1:8a.
      3. God then asked them to try offering such animals to their human governor and see if he would be pleased, something the people would not have even dared to try, Malachi 1:8b!
      4. God also noted the imperfect animals revealed the people had come to see God's worship as boring, infuriating the Lord, Malachi 1:11-13, 14.
Lesson: Our privilege just to worship God ACCEPTABLY rises out of the COSTLY death of His Precious Son, Jesus Christ: hence, our worship of God requires the BEST we can offer in every way!

Application: Since how we view God and His Son's costly atonement and how we view the impression about God that we leave on others around us in a worship meeting are VERY important to GOD, all of our worship attitudes and acts MUST reflect PROFOUND respect, praise and thanksgiving to Him!