Read Leviticus 27
Redeeming What Is the Lord’s
27 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate a person to the Lord by giving the equivalent value, 3 set the value of a male between the ages of twenty and sixty at fifty shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel; 4 for a female, set her value at thirty shekels; 5 for a person between the ages of five and twenty, set the value of a male at twenty shekels and of a female at ten shekels; 6 for a person between one month and five years, set the value of a male at five shekels of silver and that of a female at three shekels of silver; 7 for a person sixty years old or more, set the value of a male at fifteen shekels and of a female at ten shekels. 8 If anyone making the vow is too poor to pay the specified amount, the person being dedicated is to be presented to the priest, who will set the value according to what the one making the vow can afford.
9 “‘If what they vowed is an animal that is acceptable as an offering to the Lord, such an animal given to the Lord becomes holy. 10 They must not exchange it or substitute a good one for a bad one, or a bad one for a good one; if they should substitute one animal for another, both it and the substitute become holy. 11 If what they vowed is a ceremonially unclean animal—one that is not acceptable as an offering to the Lord—the animal must be presented to the priest, 12 who will judge its quality as good or bad. Whatever value the priest then sets, that is what it will be. 13 If the owner wishes to redeem the animal, a fifth must be added to its value.
14 “‘If anyone dedicates their house as something holy to the Lord, the priest will judge its quality as good or bad. Whatever value the priest then sets, so it will remain. 15 If the one who dedicates their house wishes to redeem it, they must add a fifth to its value, and the house will again become theirs.
16 “‘If anyone dedicates to the Lord part of their family land, its value is to be set according to the amount of seed required for it—fifty shekels of silver to a homer of barley seed. 17 If they dedicate a field during the Year of Jubilee, the value that has been set remains. 18 But if they dedicate a field after the Jubilee, the priest will determine the value according to the number of years that remain until the next Year of Jubilee, and its set value will be reduced. 19 If the one who dedicates the field wishes to redeem it, they must add a fifth to its value, and the field will again become theirs. 20 If, however, they do not redeem the field, or if they have sold it to someone else, it can never be redeemed. 21 When the field is released in the Jubilee, it will become holy, like a field devoted to the Lord; it will become priestly property.
22 “‘If anyone dedicates to the Lord a field they have bought, which is not part of their family land, 23 the priest will determine its value up to the Year of Jubilee, and the owner must pay its value on that day as something holy to the Lord. 24 In the Year of Jubilee the field will revert to the person from whom it was bought, the one whose land it was. 25 Every value is to be set according to the sanctuary shekel, twenty gerahs to the shekel.
26 “‘No one, however, may dedicate the firstborn of an animal, since the firstborn already belongs to the Lord; whether an ox or a sheep, it is the Lord’s. 27 If it is one of the unclean animals, it may be bought back at its set value, adding a fifth of the value to it. If it is not redeemed, it is to be sold at its set value.
28 “‘But nothing that a person owns and devotes to the Lord—whether a human being or an animal or family land—may be sold or redeemed; everything so devoted is most holy to the Lord.
29 “‘No person devoted to destruction may be ransomed; they are to be put to death.
30 “‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. 31 Whoever would redeem any of their tithe must add a fifth of the value to it. 32 Every tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the Lord. 33 No one may pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If anyone does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.’”
34 These are the commands the Lord gave Moses at Mount Sinai for the Israelites.
Leviticus 27 serves as an appendix for the book, a way to wrap up “the commands the LORD gave Moses at Mount Sinai for the Israelites.” This chapter deals with, basically, funding the sanctuary and what happens with things redeemed and offered to the LORD. In all honesty, this can be a confusing chapter, and that’s okay. Read verses 28-29 again:
“But nothing that a person owns and devotes to the LORD—whether a human being or an animal or family land—may be sold or redeemed; everything so devoted is most holy to the LORD. No person devoted to destruction may be ransomed; they are to be put to death.”
Notice, first, that there are multiple things one can devote to the LORD: a person (often themselves), an animal, or land. The only people allowed to serve in the sanctuary proper were the Levites, so the devoting of these things allowed participation in the life and work of the sanctuary by the entire community. It gave everyone the opportunity and ability to make their faith their own, to invest in it. It was no longer something they passively participated in but rather took active ownership of. It made their faith real in a very tangible way.
But what do we do with v. 29? Remember that, in the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). Think about it. Those who were to be “set aside for destruction” had to die. God is just; He cannot and will not let justice be circumvented. Someone had to die. It was because of this very sense of justice that Jesus stepped down into our midst, became fully human while remaining fully God, and died this necessary and just death on our behalf. Someone from the “tribe of humanity,” if you will, had to die, so Jesus decided it would be Him.
It is because of this sacrifice that we can now go and serve the LORD as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9). Jesus, ultimately, served as the One “devoted to destruction” that we might love and serve the LORD. Praise God! :
- What are some ways you enjoy getting to “make your faith your own”? It could be a skill you enjoy cultivating or a way of serving that really stirs your affections for the Lord. Take inventory of 3-5 things that answer this question.
- Look at your list from the question above. What is one way you can actively pursue using these skills or filling these needs?
- As you reflect on all that you’ve read in Leviticus, what is your main takeaway from this book?
Author and theologian Frederick Buechner said once of one’s calling to serve the Lord, “The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
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