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Making Vows to the Lord
This section of Leviticus deals with making vows to the Lord and dedicating people, animals, and property to Him in the process. There are many instances in the Old Testament of people requesting something of God and making a vow to Him contingent upon that request. Later we'll read about the infertile Hannah vowing that if God would give her a child, she would dedicate him to service in the Temple. That child turns out to be Samuel. And another example involves a judge named Jephthah, who vowed to dedicate the first thing he saw upon returning home from battle if the Lord would grant him victory. It turns out to be his daughter. These vows are kind-of like what we sometimes do when we say "Lord if you'll get me out of this mess, I'll __________________ for you." If we get the desired outcome, rarely do we follow through on our end of the desperate vow. These Old Testament regulations ensured that the Israelites did. If they dedicated something to God in a vow, it could be bought back with "interest", which provided money for the operating expenses of the Tabernacle and enabled the Israelites to reclaim the desired person, animal, property.
An itemized accounting of the value of men and women, boys and girls, seems degrading and discriminatory to us, but not so in a culture unconcerned with political correctness. The values were simply based on the estimated amount of work that could be expected from each people group. Children and the elderly could not work as hard and were considered of lesser value. Women could not perform the same degree of physical labor that men could, resulting in their lesser value. It was not a commentary on their worth as human beings but simply a realistic measure of their value as "work-horses".
Finally, what is the difference between dedicating and devoting something or someone? Everything devoted to God was done so as an obligation and could not be redeemed. It had to be either destroyed (as in a sacrifice) or reserved exclusively for sanctuary service. Something dedicated to the Lord could be redeemed, or bought back, for the price of it's value plus 20%.
Tomorrow's reading; Numbers 2-3
About Melissa Gibbs:
Melissa is the mother of four boys and the wife of her junior high sweetheart, JD. He is the President of Joe Gibbs Racing and the son of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs. JD and Melissa have been married 16 years and are actively involved with Young Life, Motor Racing Outreach, their church, and other ministries. Their youngest son Taylor is nearing completion of a 3 year treatment protocol for leukemia, which has been a powerful faith walk for their family. Since his diagnosis, Melissa has been called upon to share their family's testimony with many local churches.
Visit Melissa at http://chronologicalbiblein2010.blogspot.com/
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