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

Leviticus: Fellowship With A Holy God
Part III: Acceptable Living Before A Holy God, Leviticus 11:1-27:34
S. Learning To Practice Voluntary Worship Of The Lord
(Leviticus 27:1-34)
  1. Introduction
    1. The Law was fulfilled by loving God with one's whole being, and his neighbor as himself, Matt. 22:37-40.
    2. Thus, the loftiest part of the worship of God is that which springs from one's freewill love for the Lord.
    3. Well, where Leviticus 1-26 presents the obligations of fellowship with a Holy God, Leviticus 27 ends the book with its loftiest call, that of freewill vows that exhibit what is voluntary, J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible, vol. I, p. 447. We view this chapter for its insight on the voluntary worship of God (as follows):
  2. Learning To Practice Voluntary Worship Of The Lord, Leviticus 27:1-34.
    1. Though some see Leviticus 27 as an unusual addition to the obligatory laws of chapters 1-26, Leviticus 27:1 that notes God was directing Moses to provide this chapter shows Leviticus 27 is an intentional part of the book's central them on fellowship with a holy God, Ibid.; Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 213.
    2. Leviticus 27:1-13 then describes voluntary vows one could make that involved people and animals:
      1. People could be given to the Lord at the temple, and since only priests could serve in the temple, the "equivalent value" of the person would be paid to the priest in place of the person, Ibid.; Lev. 27:1-2.
      2. The payment varied in line with the labor production value of the one vowed to God, so one's age and gender affected the cost of this "equivalent value" payment, Lev. 27:3-7 Ibid.; Op. cit., McGee, p. 448.
      3. Clean (sacrificial) animals given could be exchanged for other equally valuable clean animals, and unclean animals not sacrificed could be redeemed for 120 percent of their value, Lev. 27:9-10, 11-13.
    3. Leviticus 27:14-25 also describes voluntary vows the people could make involving houses and lands:
      1. A house could be dedicated to the Lord, and it would be used by the priests, Leviticus 27:14, Ibid., Bible Know. Com., O. T. If the one who made the vow wanted to redeem the house, he had to pay the price of the house's value plus twenty per cent to the priest who had initially received it, Lev. 27:15.
      2. The dedication of land was more complex, for the value had to be set according to how many years of sowing could be made on the land before the Year of Jubilee when it reverted to the owner, 27:16-18.
      3. Again, the donor could redeem the land providing he paid 120 percent of its value, Leviticus 27:19.
      4. If the donor failed to redeem the land by the Year of Jubilee, he permanently forfeited right to its title, and the land became the permanent possession of the priest to whom it had been given, Lev . 27:20-21.
      5. Since land generally reverted to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee (Lev. 27:24-25), leased land that did not originate in the donor's ownership reverted back to the initial owner, Lev. 27:22-23a, so the leasee who vowed land had to pay the redemption price the day it was dedicated, Lev. 27:23b; Ibid.
    4. Leviticus 27:26-34 describes objects that could not qualify as voluntary gifts to the Lord because some Biblical truth about them removed them from the possessor's full ownership, Ibid., McGee, p. 450-451:
      1. First, the firstborn of man and beast already belonged to the Lord, so they could not be given in a vow to the Lord since they were not in the giver's true ownership to donate, Leviticus 27:26.
      2. Second, whatever was placed under a divine ban could not be redeemed or ransomed, but was to be put to death (as in the case of Achan and his goods in "holy war"), Lev. 27:28-29; Joshua 7:17-19, 20-26.
      3. Third, though land produce tithes could be redeemed by paying 120 percent of their value (Lev. 27:31), tithed animals could not be redeemed; rather, these were to be paid by having every tenth animal, whether good or bad, that "randomly" passed under a herdsman's rod (to avoid human greed) be given to the Lord, Leviticus 27:32-34; Ibid., Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978 ed., ftn. to Lev. 27:30-33.
Lesson: The people of Israel could worship God VOLUNTARILY in granting some possession to the Lord either directly or by way of equivalent value, and the priests would be the beneficiaries. However, what was given (a) had to belong to the donor in some way, (b) it had to be given unaffected by false motives like greed (c) and it had to cost enough to reflect one's TRUE appreciation for the Lord.

Application: May our worship of God arise from the HEART by giving (a) what is TRULY OURS, (b) what reflects TRUE MOTIVES in our worship and (c) what is NOT CHEAP, but COSTLY to us.