We see in depth the law God gave to the children of Israel. We find the moral law in the Ten Commandments, but there is civil and ceremonial law as well. All of them stemmed from the moral law of the Ten Commandments. Though downed by many, the commandments have long been the basis of civilizations worldwide. This portion in Leviticus deals with the personal rules of ceremonial law because it is about a deep, personal thing. The Lord wants devotion. We tend to think of our daily devotional; they are good but God wants devotedness from people, and it must come un-coerced. It must come from an attitude of “I want to” not “I have to.” We do it because we love him. This gets to the heart of what God wants. Paul puts it this way in Romans 12:1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. When a person devotes himself to the Lord, he is the Lord’s and it is not to be taken back.
Leviticus 27: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the Lord by thy estimation. 28 Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the Lord of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord.29 None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death.30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.34 These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.
This can seem vague and hard to understand, but with thought we can see how specific the Lord is about our service and devotion to him. He chooses the way it is to be done; it’s not as we see fit but as He sees. Devotion to God is more than a good intention or a wishful thought. It’s more than a feeling or a desire to serve him better. These are good but must be backed up. If we say we want to put God first, we must put him first. We all intend to be devoted but giving ourselves to him is another matter.
We tend to be the kind of Christian we want and not the kind God wants. That’s why standards have changed. Christianity has been streamlined to be less about self-denial. We must remember that we conform to God; he doesn’t bend to our way of thinking. The easiest way to live a Christian life is to live it the way God wants. We change ourselves and don’t try to change God. The past decade has been about a moving away from God in America. The Word has not changed. The happiest we’ll ever be is when we’re devoted to God. The more we obey him, the happier we’ll be. We’ve been on both sides of the coin, so we know we’re happier in God’s will.
What does it mean to be devoted? It is to set something aside, clean it up, and give it to God. We had to turn our past over to God in order to be saved. He forgave us of our past and helps us with our present. He takes good care of us. It is easy to talk Christianity but another thing to really be one, to belong to God. It must be done God’s way and why not? He is a better manager of our lives than we are. He kept telling Israel he would have no other Gods before him. He still means it.
The middle of verse 28 says shall devote unto the Lord of all that he hath. God is Lord of all we have. This is why we should devote ourselves to him. None of us are good drivers of our own lives. God is the giver and provider of all we have. If we have a job, it is because God has blessed us with it. He’s Master and takes care of and watches over us. What we have is holy to the Lord. Whether it is our substance, our people, or our health, God is Lord of all and he is devoted to us.
He expects his part. In this scripture God speaks of the tithe. His percent is one tenth, and on a spiritual level it’s what he expects. He doesn’t expect us not to sleep or rest. Paul calls it our reasonable service. This is the required part. God knows our humanity and knows we can’t give 100%, but we can give a portion—what he requires. The Bible says to whom much is given, much is required and to whom little it given, little is required. The Holy Spirit will let us know where we fit in the realm of much and little. We can’t measure ourselves by someone else. It’s individual.
What we give is not to be taken back. The word used here is redeem. That means we don’t pull it back. Once devoted, don’t change it. Verse 33 says not to have second thoughts. It’s not to be taken back; any changes are to be for the better, not taken back. It’s because that what we give is holy to the Lord. When we live for God, we should give him our best. It’s a privilege to be a follower of God and be called a Christian. We should treat it as holy and never be ashamed. Don’t be ashamed to do right, to live right. It brings glory to the Lord and shows the reality of being a Christian.
Renege means to go back on a promise, to fail to follow through. Renege and redeem mean the same thing. What we devote to God belongs to him and is not to be used otherwise. What we devote should be considered settled or “dead” and to think otherwise is to invite trouble. God said if we’re going to be his, then this is how it’s done.
The book of Acts tells us the story of Ananias and Sapphira. At that time in the early church people were selling items and giving the money to the church. This couple decided to keep part of the money but act like they were giving it all. Both fell dead at Peter’s feet. Peter said they had not lied to men but to God. It was theirs to do with what they wanted but when they gave it to God, it was his. When we renege on what we’ve devoted to the Lord, there are serious consequences.
Let’s not pretend with God. Let’s make good on our devotion. Let’s not just say we’re going to do better, let’s do it. Let’s be known for living what we say.