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God's Fatherly Care: Leviticus 21-27

Torah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:00:32
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The Father cares deeply about how his children live in every area of their lives so he actively instructs and disciplines them for their good.

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God’s Fatherly Care

Leviticus 21-27

Lev 26 read & Pray

Good fathers try to create a world for their children where right thinking, right feeling, and right behavior is encouraged while wrong thinking, wrong feeling, and wrong behavior is discouraged. Teaching by words, teaching by modeling, and teaching by correction are the primary means to that end. The OT does not use the language of Father for God heavily, but the concepts are there throughout including the Torah. If you recall back to where we began this journey in Genesis, God after creating Adam & Eve was walking with them in the garden. The concept of Father and children was already present there. In the 1st genealogy of the Scriptures leads off with God creating Adam in his likeness, and then Adam “fathered a son in his own likeness.” The implication is clear Adam’s fatherhood and every fatherhood after that is patterned after God’s fatherhood of Adam and the entire human race. In Exodus when God rescues the Israelites from bondage, the point is, “I will take you to be my people.”(Ex 6:7a) Then upon God rescuing his people he provides food, water, and continues to protect them. He then brings them to the base of Mt Sinai where from Ex 19-Num 10 including all of Leviticus God instructs his people in how to live as his people. Much like if you had invited someone to live in your home, you might sit them down and communicate these are the rules of our household and the way we operate in our day-to-day life. So as we conclude the book of Leviticus today, I would like us to see these instructions in the context that I believe they are meant. These are the instruction of a loving Father who wants what is best for his children. He knows they only want ice cream and cake for supper, but he knows that will leave them empty and possibly sick. So I believe the main point is

Main Point: The Father cares deeply about how his children live in every area of their lives so he actively instructs and disciplines them for their good.

Outline: So our outline today will move quickly through eight ways the Fatherly care of God is visible in how God instructs and disciplines his children.

1. The Father Cares how spiritual leaders lead his children (Lev 21:1-22:16)

Spiritual leaders are held to a higher standard (21:1-22:16) If you will notice in 21:1 the LORD tells Moses to, “speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron” then again in 21:16, “Speak to Aaron” then 22:1, “Speak to Aaron and his sons”. Most of the instructions given in in these two chapters have already been given and include things such as not being able to become unclean in mourning for the death of most people, who they cannot marry, who of Aaron’s household can eat the priestly portion of sacrificed food, what kinds of “blemish” can prevent one of Aaron’s sons from serving in the temple, etc. The purposes of these regulations seems to be

1st to exalt the holy character of God.

2nd to protect the priests and the people from God’s holiness which will devour all impurity

3rd to communicate the special role and expectations that Aaron and his family have among God’s people.

The priests are expected to live in a way that is different than the rest of the people in many ways. Things that normal Israelites are allowed to do, the priests are not allowed to do and vice versa. Further even within the priesthood there are higher expectations for Aaron in certain areas than his sons. (21:10-14) For example the high priest is not allowed to touch the dead bodies of even his parents in the midst of mourning because it will make him unclean. God wants his spiritual leaders to be good examples because we all know that no matter how many times we might say, “Do what I say, not what I do,” our children will most often grow up and “do what we do, not what we say.” So Dads you want your kids to love Jesus, then love Jesus in front of them and model it. You want them to love money or the praise of men then love money and prioritize stuff while caring deeply about what others think about you. Paul encouraged his young ministers in training in this very thing telling them, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) &* “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,” (Titus 2:7)

2. The Father Cares how his children worship (Lev 22:17-33)

Offer the LORD your best: I will not belabor this point, because so much of Exodus & Leviticus have displayed God’s expectations for his people in regards to right worship. The primary purpose of these verses is to make sure they bring an appropriate sacrifice to the LORD. God should not get our leftovers, but the best we have to offer!

Offer obedience to the LORD (read 22:31-33) The section primarily aimed at the priests that concludes with content that affects the whole people of God ends here with the offering that honors and dishonors the LORD. “keep my commandments.” How you behave toward the LORD’s commands communicates what your heart is toward God. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) I have honestly been shocked to think about how much of the instruction the LORD gave to his people in the Law was about right worship. The more I have processed that I believe one of God’s primary intentions in worship is to capture the heart of his people. The more we love God the more will obey him and be conformed into his image. Worship, especially corporate worship is one of the primary ways God fans the flames of love in our hearts as we gather with other believers to hear about God, sing about God, confess our sins, and participate in the symbols of promise and more!

3. The Father Cares how his children prioritize their time (Lev 23:1-44)

Read 23:1-3: All of Leviticus 23 is a recounting of the weekly and annual expectations for God’s people to gather to worship Yahweh. Not only was there a cycle of working 6 days and resting on the 7th for special worship of Yahweh, but beyond that there were several holy days of Sabbath and weeks of special worship set aside each year for the Israelites. There were two large seasons of worship each year one in the Jewish 1st month and one in their 7th month. These times were for worship, instruction, sacrificial atonement, fellowship with God and one another. Though the Sabbath and its special days are fulfilled in Christ who is the LORD of the Sabbath, there is still a necessary rhythm of life. The older I get the more I realize the value of traditions and regularity in various areas of our life. In fact the things we schedule and never transgress upon are the things that are the most important to us. More than maybe ever before in our lives we need to take control of our time, there are more things in our world to sap time than have ever existed before including: sports, Netflix, social media, online shopping, books, music, activities for the kids and so on. If you do not fix some near immovable anchor points in your life and your family’s lives you will look back with regret. Make daily worship of God in your home personally and with your family one of those anchor points. Make the gathering of the saints each Sunday one of those anchor points. Do not be quick to move them. Because every anchor you hoist up, the easier it is to be driven adrift from God, his Word, and his people! Let me be clear, the anchors don’t save you but what you are anchored to is what saves you!

4. The Father Cares how symbols communicate his promises to his children (Lev 24:1-9)

Promises of Presence & fellowship (read 1-9) Again this is repetitive of things that have already been instructed at this point. But I found it especially instructive today on a day where by God’s grace we have the opportunity to celebrate both symbols he gave to his church to remember him. These verses remind us of the lampstand in the Holy place that was to never go out because all night every night when people looked toward the tabernacle they were to be reminded that God was present with them. And the break on the table in the holy place was a constant reminder that Israel was in fellowship with God. God has graciously given us baptism as a reminder of the old man dying in the waters of destruction, and our resurrection life as we raise up from the waters. “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:12–14) Further we are given communion as an ongoing reminder that Christ body was broken and his blood shed so that we can have forgiveness of sins and we are united to Christ therefore we have fellowship with God and the rest of his children through Christ.

Lightning round, these could all be greatly expanded but time does not allow so here we go: The Father also cares

5. The Father Cares how his children speak & behave (Lev 24:10-23)

Story of blasphemy: God cares deeply about the way we speak and the way we behave. God will not wink and forgive sin. The only forgiveness of sin is found in costly sacrifice. Justice demands that retribution be paid out for how you sin against another. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:29–30) Our words are to be edifying words!

6. The Father Cares how his children trust him (Lev 25:1-55)

Sabbath year and Year of Jubilee: Leviticus 25 is a long chapter with lots of instructions for buying things like property or even people back. I believe the theme of this chapter is trusting God, and the theme is seen very clearly in the instructions on the Sabbath year and year of jubilee. The people were told when they come into the promised land to work the land for six years and then every seventh year they were to let the land rest and only eat what came up naturally from the land. So they could still eat the fruit on trees or even grain that came up in the fields where they had planted the years before. Then after seven cycles of seven years they were to celebrate the year of jubilee which was another year of rest for the land, and a year where liberty was proclaimed throughout Israel and all land was restored to its original owners, with a few minor exceptions. This was to communicate that the land belonged in perpetuity to God not the people. But also these cycles of rest were to teach them to trust in the LORD and depend upon his provision. Most of us are living paycheck to paycheck, imagine what your life would be like if you could not make any money for the next 12 months. Israel was supposed to do this every seventh year. And if you did not notice on the 49th year is it Sabbath year and the 50th year is the year of jubilee a Sabbath year. So how would your personal finances be if you did not work for 24 months? God commands his people to trust him. While we are not called to frivolously throw caution into the wind, quit working and trust God for his needs. There are parents in here who have experienced God’s call to stop working for a wage outside of the home so they can invest in their family. It is not a call that is commanded for all, but if you have received that direction from the LORD can you trust him?

7. The Father Cares how his children follow through on commitments (Lev 27:1-34)

Keep the vows you make (1-29) If you make a commitment to the LORD or someone else you need to follow through. “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:37)

Give of what God has given you (read 30-33) God gives the land generously, and he expects the people to tithe on what they have been given. Tithing, or the giving of a tenth, is taught primarily in the OT though an argument can be made for it from the NT. It was a bit more complicated in an agrarian barter society, so if you had ten lambs in a year, one of them was to be given to the LORD. If you get 10 gallons of wheat from your harvest, one of them was to be given to the LORD. Paul summarized the principle of giving in the NT like this, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:6–8) So the less generous you are toward God the less generosity you should expect in return. We don’t like to beat people down here at Pathway about giving, but the clear biblical principle is you reap what you sow. So if you look at your life and you always needing more, then you are probably not giving enough to God in generosity. I can tell you this from my own experience and the lives of others. You can’t out give God. I have never felt in need from what I have given to God and often times when I hold my own stuff tightly I have greater and greater needs.

8. The Father Cares enough to discipline his children for their good (Lev 26:1-46)

If you obey God, he will bless (1-13) The primary blessing of obedience to God is life in his presence (11), but it is also fruitfulness and blessing.

If you do not obey God, he will discipline with increasing intensity (14-39) The heart of this chapter is a series of disciplines or punishments for disobedience. The disciplines include: “sickness, failing crops, subjugation by enemies, wild beasts, death of loved ones, famine, devastation of land, and exile from the land.” Just to name a few. But we need to be crystal clear, this is not judgment of judgment’s sake. Instead this is fatherly discipline, “if by this discipline you are not turned to me but walk contrary to me, then.”(23) The point of the punishments is to turn the hearts of the people back to him. We like Israel are so prone to wonder. We are so prone to chase after the little “g” gods of our society trying to find fulfillment in what they offer, but they are hollow and lifeless creations of our own hands. There is nothing divine or eternal in them. So hear me today the suffering in your life today, may be fatherly discipline so that you would turn from the path you are on. No person can tell you that for sure, but the remedy for God’s fatherly discipline is clearly laid out in this chapter too.

If you repent of sins, God will remember the covenant (40-45) If we will confess our sins and turn our hearts back to God he will remember the promises he has made to us! “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

All these laws that we find in Leviticus while instructive for how we should live, often condemn us for how we have miserably missed the mark. We are not faithful obedient children to God the Good Father. But we have tremendous hope because God sent his obedient Son, Jesus Christ into the world to obey the law in its entirety. Jesus lived in every way a holy life and then died as the sacrificial atonement for our sins.

If you are condemned this morning because you live a life of sin, then turn away from trying to be an obedient son or daughter to God and instead turn to the only obedient child. Trust in Jesus life for your righteous living and his death as a sacrifice for you sins. In trusting in him you will find freedom to obey because you are already accepted through what Christ has done for you!

Father’s Day Application: God is the Good loving Father who provides salvation for his children and we fathers can point our children to his good fatherhood even when we fail to be the fathers we should be.

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