Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found. — Leviticus 6:4
Restitution is a Biblical principle and as important in our time as it was when God expected it of the Children of Israel. Although it may be a trial in the process, in the end it is a blessing. A late member of our Portland congregation spoke of the trial and blessing of restitution:
“I [had] promised God I would clean up the past. It was not easy to write back to people who had highly respected me and tell them of the shrewd business deals I had turned, how I had double-crossed them and taken advantage of them. It was difficult to write to institutions of learning and confess that I had stolen things out of the laboratory. God also showed me I needed to get things straight with the men in my employ whom I had underpaid.
“I just didn’t know if I could do it, and I backed off for a night or two. But finally I said yes to God. The next morning, I began to write letters, and the Lord was right there to remind me of every crooked deal. They all came before me as vividly as though I had committed them just the day before. I didn’t beat around the bush or make excuses. I just came right out and told the people I had wronged all about it. I knew I was dealing with God, as well as man. I spent nearly the whole day writing letters of restitution, enclosing checks to cover the wrongs that I had done. But oh, the joy that came into my heart!”
While we now have the Spirit of God to show us how to right past wrongs, Leviticus 6:1-7 laid out for the Children of Israel what they were to do with regard to injuries done to a neighbor in matters of property. In the cases noted, restitution was not enough. In addition, the guilty person was required to add twenty percent over and above the value of the injured party’s loss. Even though Christ’s Blood has made trespass offerings unnecessary today, it is still essential to make things right with those we have hurt, whenever that is possible, and great joy will follow our efforts.
One of the purposes of God’s Law was to make the Israelites aware of their sins and unintentional trespasses so that they would not repeat them, and so that they could be forgiven for them.
Leviticus 5:1-13 refers to the sin offering. In ancient Israel, everything was divided into categories of “clean” or “unclean.” For instance, certain animals, foods, and practices were considered “unclean.” If any person touched or violated the unclean thing, they sinned against the Lord and a sin offering was required.
The people were exhorted to bring offerings proportionate to their economic status. For those who could do so, a lamb or goat was required. If this was not possible, they could bring two turtledoves or young pigeons. If they were really poor, they could bring fine flour.
Leviticus 5:14-6:7 refers to the trespass (or guilt) offerings. This was similar to the sin offering but required restitution. This offering was to be made when someone had been harmed in some way, even if the wrongdoing was unintentional. For Israel, the guilt offering was the way to handle sins that had a certain monetary value associated with them.
Leviticus 6:8-30 focuses on the priests’ responsibilities in performing the sacrifices. In order for the sacrifice to be accepted by God, it was necessary for the priests to carefully follow the instructions given by God.
The burnt offerings were to be burned continuously throughout the night. The priests were to wear special clothing when taking ashes off the altar, signifying the importance of the Lord’s sacrifices. The priest was to take off his special linen clothes and put on other clothes to carry the ashes out of the camp to a “clean” place. The fire on the altar was not allowed to go out day or night, and it appears that the burnt offering was a daily routine.
Some of the sacrifices provided food for the priests. Part of the meat (grain) offering was consumed on the altar and part was eaten by the priests. No one else was allowed to eat of this offering because it was holy, or set apart for the Lord.
Sin offerings could be eaten by the priest that performed the sacrifice and shared with the other priests. One exception to this rule was the special sacrifices that were brought to the holy place in the Tabernacle, which were to be completely burned on the altar. If any blood was splattered on the priests’ clothes during the sacrifice, they were to wash their clothes in the holy place. The priests needed to understand the holiness of the sacrifices and the need to follow God’s instructions when eating the sacrifices.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The way of access to God
A. By sacrifice
1. General instructions to all
b. The second utterance — the non-sweet-savor offerings
(1) The sin offering
(f) The sin offering for special offenses (5:1-13)
 The special offenses (5:1-4)
 The specific recourse (5:5-13)
(2) The trespass offering (5:14 — 6:7)
(a) Trespass against the Lord (5:14-19)
(b) Trespass against a man (6:1-7)
2. Specific instructions to the priests
a. The law of the burnt offering (6:8-13)
b. The law of the meal offering (6:14-23)
(1) The peoples (6:14-18)
(2) The priests (ordination offering) (6:19-23)
c. The law of the sin offering (6:24-30)
Have you done wrong? The message from God’s Word is simple: make it right!