Lev. 5:11, But if his means are insufficient even for two doves or two young pigeons, then he is to bring as his offering for the sin he committed two quarts of fine flour for a sin offering…(CJB)
By now it has become clear that YHWH is greatly interested in accessibility. The mitzvot makes provision for both rich and poor. For the wealthy, the burnt offering is required. For those who are less resourced, doves and pigeons will suffice. (Luke 2:24 indicates that Joseph and Mary were part of the poor class, as evidenced by the pauper’s sacrifice of turtledoves and pigeons.) But even this is beyond the means of some in the sacrificing community. And thus, a gracious provision: two quarts of fine flour.
YHWH is truly no respecter of persons. Provision is made for both rich and poor, universal provision revealing the universal nature of sin. It is truly endemic to us all.
Guilt builds up even through inadvertent, accidental sin. How many times does the child cry, “But I didn’t mean to?” when being scolded for misbehavior? Leviticus is a hard word about how quickly, even innocently, our guilt can accrue.
Lev. 5:21-24, “If someone sins and acts perversely against Adonai by dealing falsely with his neighbor in regard to a deposit or security entrusted to him, by stealing from him, by extorting him, or by dealing falsely in regard to a lost object he has found, or by swearing to a lie — if a person commits any of these sins, then, if he sinned and is guilty, he is to restore whatever it was he stole or obtained by extortion, or whatever was deposited with him, or the lost object which he found, or anything about which he has sworn falsely. He is to restore it in full plus an additional one-fifth…(CJB)
Reparations are an important part of reconciliation. I write this on MLK weekend in 2018 as racial tension in my country continue to escalate in alarming ways. We are repeatedly reminded that for all of the progress of the King and the Civil Rights Movement, fifty years later we continue to be a nation deeply divided along racial lines. And much of the rhetoric today is devoid of humility and understanding, replaced with a cacophony of tweets and counter-tweets and an avowed hostility to political correctness, as if gracious speech was the real threat.
Leviticus calls for an a generous commitment to reconciliation, a forerunner to the call for “ministers of reconciliation” in the New Testament (2 Cor. 5). Under Mosaic law, this required the restoration of that which was stolen or extorted, plus an additional 20%. And while I suspect my Christian friends will be quick to point out that this particular command is found in the Old Testament, can we not affirm the importance of this generous commitment to making things right as “the fulfillment of the law” (Gal. 5:14)? Against such things there is no law (Gal. 5:23).
Lev. 6:11, “Whatever touches those offerings will become holy.” (CJB)
Holiness is the intrinsic quality of God; He alone is sinless, perfect, transcendently other. But it is his prerogative to impart holiness, to imbue us with his immutable character. Our sin — no matter how great — cannot sully his reputation or mar his beauty. His holiness is the cleansing agent, eradicating our sin and making us new, whole, alive where we had only known decay. In this word about the offering yielding holiness, we find seeds of the Gospel, for in the self-sacrifice of Jesus, a path to holiness emerges for us.
Hebrews 10:10, And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.