And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the Lord, offer it at your own will. — Leviticus 22:29
“Just give it to the Lord.” How many times have you heard that comment related to a difficult situation in your life? From personal experience, I know this is much easier to say than to do.
I live in a large city with all the diversity you can imagine. As a single woman, I am solely responsible for the finances of my home, and I have a job that I believe came directly from the Hand of the Lord. The environment where I work is not conducive to living a holy life — my supervisor is a militant, vocal lesbian. My lifestyle as a celibate Christian conflicts with everything in her belief system. Her comments and actions toward me make my workplace a hostile environment — yet, I feel that the Lord has put me in this position for a purpose. My supervisor and my other co-workers are closely monitoring my reactions.
I choose to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, even for this difficult position. That choice does not make the outward situation any different, but it does help me to remember that God is still in control of everything in the world and especially the things that concern me — His child! If I can wrap myself in this thankful spirit, I will have the victory!
Does this mean that if I have a heart full of thankfulness to the Lord for His goodness, this situation will all be gone by next week? I don’t think so, but I need to be thankful anyway. The chorus from my youth starts singing itself in my head, “Hallelujah anyhow. Never, never let your troubles get you down.” That is easy to do when you are on a spiritual mountaintop, but it’s not quite so simple when you are in a valley.
The Children of Israel were told many dos and don’ts in this text. Yet, in the midst of the list, a choice was given to willingly offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Though at times it may seem a sacrifice on our part, we need to be thankful as well. When we are thankful in the middle of difficult situations, we will be a shining light to those around us.
The priests were “chief” men, or spiritual leaders, among the people of Israel. They stood between God and the people, instructing the people in what God wanted them to do, and offering to God the people’s sacrifices. God had additional requirements for them.
Personal holiness was mandatory for the priests, and some of the requirements extended to their families. They had to select their companions, bury their dead, and choose their food within the parameters God gave them. God did not want Israel to adopt pagan ways, and the priests needed to be examples in following God. The requirements for the high priest were even more stringent because he had been anointed with oil and consecrated to put on the high priest’s garments.
The priests could have no physical defects. This was not because God discriminated against or thought less of such people, but the priests represented God to the people. Their role pointed ahead to Jesus Christ, who would be the perfect High Priest. Also, the offerings of the people had to be unblemished because they, too, pointed toward Jesus, who would be the Perfect Sacrifice. Those priests who had physical blemishes were not banished from the tribe. They ate the priests’ food and lived in the priests’ area, but they could not go into the Holy Place or offer sacrifices.
The priests were required to be ceremonially pure. They had to be careful even about what they touched. Day after day, time after time, they offered sacrifices. How easily that could have become routine, and they could have become careless. God wanted the priests to show respect in their rituals and in their treatment of the items that had been consecrated to God. They were to share their food only with those who were qualified to eat it.
For priests, the requirements were high, but the rewards were great. They had the privilege of serving God as representatives of the whole congregation.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The way of fellowship with God
A. By separation unto holiness
2. The holiness of the priests (21:1—22:33)
a. The personal holiness of the priests (21:1-15)
(1) The regular priests (21:1-9)
(2) The high priest (21:10-15)
b. The physical disqualification of a priest (21:16-24)
c. The ceremonial purity of a priest (22:1-9)
d. The reverence of holy things by a non-priest (22:10-16)
e. The care in selection of animal sacrifices by a priest (22:17-33)
Maybe today you are facing unpleasant circumstances. Will you truly give the Lord a sacrifice of thanksgiving anyway?