Leviticus 9

Leviticus 9 Devotional
by Pastor Mark Hudson


“Regulations explaining which sacrifices ought to be offered form the subject matter of Lev. 1-7.  But there was still no order of priests to carry out the ministry of atonement.  Chs. 8-10 tell how the priesthood was instituted and the first sacrifices offered.”  Wenham p 130.  One should reread Exodus 29 for an earlier explanation of the ordination of the priests.  This is a week long process.  This will come into significance in 10:7.  See also 8:33 that describes the week long process of ordination.

This service is done before the elders of the people (9:1) so this is a public ceremony.  This is similar to Lev 16 but here there is no scapegoat.  Here is one way to outline the chapter:

1-4       Moses’ command to Aaron and the congregation

5-6       The congregation obeys

7          Moses’ command to Aaron

8-21     Aaron obeys

8-11     by offering his purification offering

12-21   by offering other sacrifices

22-24   Fire from the Lord

Notice that Moses is the one performing the ordination in chapter 8 but also take care to watch the phrases, “The lord spoke to Moses (8:1), Moses did as the Lord commanded him (v. 4), This is the thing that that the Lord has commanded to be done (v. 5), as the Lord commanded Moses (9), as the Lord commanded Moses 13, 17), etc. In chapter 9, Aaron and his sons are called to begin sacrificing.  But again Moses (9:1, 2, 5, 6, 7) is telling the high priest what to do.  We are to notice God is commanding all these things and they are careful to obey.  This is a very significant theme for all believers.

The sinfulness of man is also highlighted when the first thing Aaron is to sacrifice is a bull possibly recalling the idolatry he led in Ex 32.  Then he offers a ram, the same animal that Abraham offers in place of Isaac (Gen 22).

The purpose of these sacrifices are stated twice

  1. 4 for today the Lord will appear to you
  2. 6 that the glory of the Lord may appear to you

The glory of God is the visible presence of God among His people.  In Ex 24:16-17, “The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days.   . . . Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on top of the mountain . . . .”  This is a major theme in the exodus (the event), in the O.T., and in the N.T.  If not for the presence of God in our lives and our worship, we are left to our own strength.  These sacrifices are God’s ordained way to restore fellowship after a break in that relationship.  We will find this same pattern throughout Scripture: God is the One sinned against yet He tells His people how to be restored and how to renew that relationship and therefore God’s presence will remain with them.  Constantly we see that God cares more about this relationship than we do.  This is such a stunning thought.  We will only grow in our understanding of God’s love for us.  I wonder if that knowledge continues to grow in heaven.

In 9:8-14, Aaron offers sacrifices for himself.  This follows the normal order except no blood is smeared on the altar of incense (4:3ff).  “The reason for this deviation may be that the incense altar did not yet need cleansing, since Aaron had not yet entered the tent of meeting where it stood”  (Wenham p. 149).  Then in vs. 15-21, there are four sacrifices offered on behalf of the people: a goat as purification offering to cleanse the altar “according to the rule”; a calf and lamb as a burnt offering (v. 16); a grain or cereal offering (v. 17), then an ox and ran as a peace offering v. 18.  The offerings Aaron makes “indicates that the purpose of these sacrifices was not to atone for specific sins, but for the general sinfulness  of the nation, to dedicate the who people to the worship of God according to his appointed means, and to pray for God’s blessing on them”  (Ibid.)

Then Aaron pronounces God’s blessing on the elders (v. 22) possibly Numbers 6:23ff).  He and Aaron go into the the tent of meeting, possibly to pray and ask for God’s blessing.  They return to the people and are in the middle of blessing the people, probably concluding the ceremony and God interrupts them with . .  . fire!  The fire on the altar was already burning but God’s glory consumed the meat and the people cried out in joy and fell on their faces.  God shows His approval by fire in three other places in the Hebrew Bible: Judges 13:15ff; 2 Chr. 7:1ff; I K. 18:38ff.  We assume the cry was a shout of joy since that word is associated with praise and joy in God (Is 49:13; Jer 31:7; Ps 20:5; 33:1; 35:27; 59:16; 95:1).

Father, we admit to you that probably none of us have ever experienced Your presence in such a powerful way.  While maybe we should not ask for signs and wonders, we do pray that You would work in and through us to bring glory to Your Son Jesus Christ.  We are so very, very concerned with our nation, our culture and many churches.  Revive us!  Pour out Your Holy Spirit upon these dry bones (Ez. 37) and make us awake and alive to You, Your Word, and Your Spirit.  We so desperately need Your presence with us.  What we can do, accomplish, and complete will not last.  What you can do invisibly and in less than a second is real power.  Burn away our sin so we can burn brightly for the Risen King.   Amen.