Tag Archives: responsibility

Numbers 18 – Weight & Wages

YHWH has shown who He has chosen.  He has made it clear that HE has chosen Aaron and his line for the priesthood.  This is the calling of the LORD.

Last chapter so many were seeking it, but only one was chosen.  Verse 1 of chapter 18 says, “So the LORD said to Aaron, ‘You and your sons and your father’s household with you shall bear the guilt in connection with the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the guilt in connection with your priesthood.”  Wait a minute?  I thought that the priesthood was supposed to be a blessing!  Yet as soon as it is clear that Aaron’s line is chose, the weight of that choice is laid out.

Oh, to be the chosen of the LORD!  Tevya (Fiddler on the Roof) said,  “I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can’t You choose someone else?”  The Levites are the chosen people, but it also means that they have a huge responsibility.  If anything goes wrong, the blame fell squarely on them.  Being chosen is a blessing, but it comes at a price.  Look at anyone chose of YHWH.  The prophets were chosen of God, yet so many of them were rejected and killed for speaking the truth.  Job was chosen to be blessed of the LORD, yet look at the trial he went through.  The disciples were chosen, yet martyrdom became their prize.  The Messiah Himself came and fulfilled His purpose.  The purpose outlined in Isaiah 52-53.  53:7 says,

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth. 

That’s what it means to truly means to be chosen.

That is not the end of the chapter.  That may be the weight, but there are still the wages.  The priests may have had to bear the weight and the responsibility of priesthood, but they were not without the wages.  Many of the sacrifices offered to YHWH were the priests payment.  In vs. 17, it says, “…they are a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD…”  Given to the LORD, yet payment to the priests.

This principle should still exist today.  Those called to be pastors have a HUGE responsibility.  More so than even they realize most times.  However, there should be no one more blessed in all the congregation than the pastor who has been called of God.  It comes at a price.  A price that is overwhelming.  BUT, it should not be without the blessing.  Keep that in mind if / when you are ready to be critical of a pastor.  Chances are, they are holding the responsibility, are you giving them the blessing?

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Leviticus 27 – Belonging to God

I was not expecting the last chapter of Leviticus (the book of the law) to be what it is.  I don’t quite know what i was expecting.  For some reason i figured it would be about some parting words the LORD had for Moses before leaving Mount Sinai, or that Moses and the sons of Israel packed up what they had and began to head out to Canaan.

Instead this last chapter is about value, ownership, dedication to the LORD, and tithe.  It starts out placing a monetary value on people of different ages.  Each has a different value depending on their age, sex, and the amount of time until the year of jubilee.  What i think is interesting about this is that it pushes this concept that ownership of people, animals, homes, and land only truly belongs to the LORD / YHWH.

When most things of true value are sold or redeemed, they are done so with reference to the year of Jubilee.  If a field is dedicated to the LORD, the priest places the value of that field at a certain price, related to how many years until the year of jubilee.  After which the LORD reverts that land back to the family that He initially gave it to.

Thus it is not slavery, but servanthood.  When a person is “sold”, they are done so in reference to the amount of labor that person would do between then and the year of jubilee.  It is understood that the “Master” is not “buying” a person.  They are simply paying for service from a person for a certain time period.  This would be similar to a person signing a contract to work for a company for a certain number of years.

The other major theme is that of tithe.  Of all of the animals that the people of Israel own, one out of every 10 must be returned to God.  As they go through the gate, every 10th, whether male or female, the pick of the flock or a little sickly one, the 10th gets dedicated to Him.  Also, the first that opens the womb is holy to YHWH.  Thus the first lamb, the first goat, the first bull, etc. that are born; they must be dedicated to YHWH and returned to Him.

The emphasis here is ownership.  Everything; the land, the people, the flocks, the fruit of the harvest, they all belong to YHWH.  We are simply caretakers receiving back a part of the profits from our hard work.  Do we view life and our work  that way?  Do we recognize that all that we “own” belongs not to us but to YHWH?  Do we treat people and our things as if this is the case?  Should we?

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Leviticus 22 – Priestly Laws

The priestly laws continue.  It must be hard to be a priest in Biblical times.  The rules and regulations you had to keep track of.  Some of them are obvious of course… like if you touch something unclean you will remain unclean until evening.  No leaper of the sons of Aaron may eat of the holy sacrifices, and while the family may eat, the married daughters may not eat unless she is divorced or widowed with no children and returns home to her father’s house.  It just seems like the laws and rules never end, but they are there for a reason.  An important reason.  Because someone needed to represent the people to YHWH, and YHWH to the people.

So the priests were responsible for the sins of the people and their relationship with YHWH.  They are the ones who placed their lives on the line day after day to make sure  that the people’s sins were covered.  They are the ones who had to do everything perfectly every day and every time.  They had to teach the people the precepts of YHWH.  It is their responsibility and their honor.  YHWH is a holy and a jealous God.  To serve Him day by day is an honor and a responsibility of a lifetime.

Do we take YHWH seriously, or do we just use Him as a rescue raft.  Do we worship the Holy God, or do we demand assistance from a galactic servant.  Do we pursue a relationship with Him in awe and wonder, or do we attempt to flippantly use Him for our advantage and advancement?  We are the servants of the Most High.  Maybe we need to start acting that way… if that’s alright with you.

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Leviticus 21 – Responsibility

Whenever YHWH sets a leader over His people, He sets up some pretty high expectations.  There are things that the people can do that the leaders must stay away from.  Those who act as priests, prophets, and kings are expected to live at a higher standard than those who do not have a direct connection and responsibility to YHWH.

In this chapter those of the priestly line and especially the priests who serve the LORD are instructed that they may not defile themselves by a corpse unless it is a direct family member.  Even then, the high priest may not even do that.  They may not marry a woman who has been widowed or divorced, or who has slept with any other man at any time in her life.  She must be a virgin or he may not marry her.  Nor may a priest tear his clothes in mourning or uncover his head.  If his daughter profanes herself in harlotry, it rests on him as well.  Then finally, if there is any physical defect in a man, He may not serve as priest before the LORD.  YHWH even goes so far as to say that if a man has a broken hand or foot, he may not serve the LORD.

Do we take our responsibility in representing the LORD seriously?  Do we set ourselves apart from the world, or do we do what everyone else is doing?  As people who pursue God and seek His work and will in our lives, we should be living examples of God and His work and will.  We should be truly pursuing Him in all holiness.

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Leviticus 20 – Profane

Leviticus 20 parallel’s chapter 18 in most ways.  They both deal with those things that profane the people and the land.  They both respond to sexual sins and blatant ungodliness.  Both refer to the corruption of the nation through the corruption of the people, and that the very land itself will spew them out when their actions come out this way.

All of this is important for all people.  These are sins that cause the land to become unfertile and to reject its inhabitants, whether they be Christians, or Muslims, or Jews, or Hindu’s, or Buddhists, or Atheists, or Animists, any others.  When we pursue sexual immorality and spiritists, we will find time and time again that our nations will become more and more corrupt and that we will lose what we cherish most.

On a more positive note, in this chapter we come across a new name of God; YHWH Qadash.  YHWH Qadash appears in verse 8, and it means the LORD (YHWH) who sanctifies you.  It is a beautiful picture of how YHWH cherishes His people and sets them apart for Himself.  Those who are His children are blessed and honored by His name and His work in and through us.  We are pursued and set apart by the Most Holy God.  It is both an honor and a responsibility, and it must not be taken lightly.  It must not be profaned.

John

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Leviticus 18 – Defiled

This chapter is a very controversial chapter and tends to bring up all kinds of questions and debate.  In it YHWH deals with defilement (primarily sexual defilement); what defiles the people and what defiles the land.  In this chapter YHWH gives instruction for the people not to uncover their relative’s nakedness (or have sexual relations with them).  Incest is forbidden including incestual relations between a man and his mother, a father and his daughter-in-law, a man and both a woman and her daughter, and other relations.

There are other issues at work in this chapter as well.  For instance there is the command not to uncover a woman’s nakedness during her menstrual period, not to sleep with a neighbor’s wife, and not to sacrifice your child to Molech (this doesn’t happen anymore… does it?).  Each of these issues is very important and significant and should in no way be minimized.

However, the most controversial verse in this chapter (according to the current cultural view) is verse 22: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”  You can see where a big part of the controversy begins here.  There are many that say that this passage does not apply anymore due to Christ having fulfilled the law.  That since Christ came and died and was raised again, and the curtain to the most holies was torn, we are no longer bound by the law.  We do not have to fulfill the sacrificial rules and regulations because Christ became the perfect sacrifice.  Since this passage is part of the legal instructions given to the Israelite people, it is completed and fulfilled and no longer applicable to us.

To some extent, that is an accurate (albeit flawed) understanding of Christ’s fulfillment of the law.  This entire chapter holds a different kind of sway than most of the rest of the law.  It is true to some extent that the law was for the nation of Israel, but this chapter is about what supersedes that law.  Verses 24-25 explain this a little bit better:
Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.  For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.
It doesn’t take an exegetical genius to understand that the commands in this chapter aren’t limited to the people of the Israelite nation.  These are laws that defy nature itself.  They are not limited to the people of Israel.  They apply to all people and all time.  It is because of these kinds of sins that the Israelites have the right, and the responsibility to not only conquer the land of Canaan, but to destroy its inhabitants as well.  The land itself has judged the Canaanites and is spewing them out because of the sins listed in this chapter.  The Israelites are simply tools to the fulfillment of that justice.

So how should we respond to those caught up in these kinds of sins?  Are we to judge and condemn them?  Is that our “right”?  I don’t believe so.  God says, “Judge not, lest you be judged.”  In that passage He is referring to not judging those of the world.  That judgment is His, not ours to dole out.  However, in I Corinthians 5 we are instructed to judge those within the body that are sinning against the body, and the sin refereed to there is a sin directly related to this chapter.  It was a sin being accepted and even praised within the church that should have been condemned.  That is a pattern we would be wise to heed.  The leaders of the church are responsible for understanding and responding appropriately to sin within the body.  In NO WAY should the church be lifting up and encouraging within the body what YHWH has condemned.  We are to be the light of hope to the troubled and struggling, not following in the defilement of the world.

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Leviticus 16 – Day of Atonement

Most of the sacrifices previously mentioned have been for the individual.  Whether it was a burnt offering, or a peace offering, or a wave offering, or a grain offering.  Each person would bring their sacrifice to the tabernacle to cover their own sins or for themselves and their families.  However, the day of atonement is different.

The day of atonement is very special in comparison to the other “daily” sacrifices.  The day of atonement occurs once per year on the 10th day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar.  It is a time when all of the congregation of Israel was to get together at the tabernacle / temple for a special sacrifice for all.  The day of atonement is about bringing cleansing to the high priest and his family; to the tabernacle, alter and tools of worship; and to the congregation of Israel as a whole.  It’s about purifying and bringing all to right.  It’s kind of like rebooting or restoring a computer.  It cleans out the system and gives a fresh start.

This is very important over the succeeding centuries, and if it had been done and taken seriously as it should have been, it would have gone a long way to help prevent the corruption and downfall of the nations of Israel and Judah.  Yet it didn’t.

This principle still applies today.  While it is important for each individual to come to repentance before the LORD, and that seems to be a lost art.  Even more so the repentance of the nation.  How often do we take responsibility for the sins of the nation.  How often do we come to YHWH in worship of Him and seeking not only forgiveness and healing for our own sins but for those of our nation.  How often do we take responsibility for the decisions and direction of the nation.  It is something that the leaders of the nation especially are to do, but that the people of the nation need to pursue and take accountability for as well.  It is our nation and our responsibility.

Rev. John Camiolo

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