Leviticus 6 Devotional
by Pastor Mark Hudson
If you have been reading the first few chapters, this chapter may feel like déjà vu all over again (quoting Yogi Bera). `I just read about these sacrifices. Why is the author covering the same content?’ If you look at verse 8, you will notice something. 6:8 is the start of a new section. This begins with, “ The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 9 “Command Aaron and his sons, saying. . . .”
Yet Lev 1:1-2 says, “The LORD called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, when any one of you . . . .” So we see these chapters are directed to different audiences. The first five chapters are written for the people, how and when to bring sacrifices. Chapters 6:8-7:38 is written to help the priests during these sacrifices: what they can eat, what the worshipper can eat, which parts need to be burned, etc.
So, the sacrifices are described again, in different order, and for a different audience. The sacrifices involved three parties: the priest, the worshipper, and God. In the first six chapters (and eight verses), God gives directions to His people. The initial chapter arrangement as well as the order of 6:8ff is difficult to determine. As Wenham speculates, “The reason for describing the burnt offering first is that it was the commonest of all the sacrifices, performed every morning and evening, and more frequently on holy days. It is followed by instruction for cereal offerings and peace offerings (chs 2-3), because they are like the burnt offering in being “food offering. . . .” (Wehham The Book of Leviticus p. 52).
Later, on p. 118-119, “In chs 1-5 the motive for the arrangement seems to be theological: the “food-offerings” producing “a soothing aroma for the Lord” are grouped together (chs. 1-3), and then come the purification and reparation offerings (chs 4-5) securing the forgiveness of sins. In chs. 6-7 the sacrifices are arranged in order of their frequency (see Num. 28-29). The regular daily sacrifices come first, i.e., the burnt offering, cereal, and priest’s cereal offering. This is followed by the purification offering, which was compulsory only at certain festivals or after someone had sinned. The reparation offering was never offered on a regular basis, but was mandatory following certain sins. Finally, the peace offering was generally an optional sacrifice.”
Repeated in vs. 9, 12, and 13 is the command that the fire must not go out on the altar of the burnt offering. Why is this? Since we are not told, inquiring minds can’t help but try to explain it. Calvin suggested it preserves the fact that the first burnt offering as lit by fire from heaven (Lev 9:24; 2 Chr. 7:1). “The priests had to keep this fire going so ‘that the offerings should be burnt with heavenly fire’ (Calvin’s Commentaries II p. 364). Keil thinks the fire had to be kept burning because the burnt offering “was the divinely appointed symbol and visible sign of the uninterrupted worship of Jehovah.” (Keil, C. F. The Pentateuch. p. 318). Gispen thinks that is repented the continual consecration of the people to God. If the burn offering was also seen as a propitiatory sacrifice, the perpetual fire served as a reminder of the constant need for atonement.”
You will notice in Leviticus the emphasis on the presence of God. “The enduring presence of God is one of the theological presuppositions running through the book” Wenham p. 16. “God is preeminently present in worship. The laws on sacrifice say repeatedly that the ceremonies take place, ‘before the Lord.’” God is present in all areas of life – in the worship and the monotony of daily life. “Leviticus knows of nothing that is beyond God’s control or concern. The whole of life must be lived out in the presence of God (Ibid. p. 17).
Reflect on this book and especially the relationship to this book and the New Testament which we will continue to bring out. But also ask the Holy Spirit to help you apply these truths. Do you practice the presence of God in every aspect of your life? Do you realize God watches how much screen time you have? Do you understand that some of the things you laugh at are not funny? You do realize, that when you are falling away from God, it is not intellectual reasons, but moral? And that God knows you are just throwing excuses at willful disobedience? God knows what you are thinking. God knows your motivation. And . . . God also knows when you are serving Him for the glory of God.
“Father, help me to understand this book where you keep speaking, directing worship, teaching, and drawing us into a deeper understanding of the gospel itself. Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is nothing on earth I desire besides Thee (Ps 73:25). Help me to deepen my worship of You and to comprehend that worship does not begin when I go to church and end at the benediction. Help me to long for your presence and to be holy and to love my neighbor as myself. Draw me into longer and deeper contemplation of what those phrases mean. Finally, Lord, keep my eyes on You because You are life itself. To the Lamb that was slain. Amen.