Today’s Scripture Focus: Leviticus 8:1-9, 36
In Exodus chapters 25-31, God gives commandments for constructing the Tabernacle, its furnishings, and the consecration of its priests. All commands are fulfilled in Exodus 35-40—except for the consecration of the priests. That would have to wait until instructions were given for offering sacrifices, since that would be an intricate part of the ordination ceremony. Sacrifice instructions have now been given in detail in Leviticus chapters 1-7. Regulations have now been given for what constitutes a proper sacrifice, various categories of sacrifice, what is to be burnt, what is to be taken outside the camp, and what is to be given to the priests.
So, in today’s scripture focus, it is now time to ordain those whom God has set aside to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people, and perform the daily worship rites in the Tabernacle. Remember, it is Aaron, the brother of Moses, and his male relatives who will serve as priests—in other words, only men of the tribe of Levi. Moses gathers what is needed according to earlier instructions, and commands all the people to “assemble”. This is the first time this word is used in scripture, and it is from the Greek translation of this word—ekklesia– that we get our word for “church”. So, in a way this is the first church service ever recorded in the Bible!
Though Moses was not a priest in the official sense used here, he was often referred to in scripture as God’s priest and prophet. As the leader of God’s people, it was Moses who performed the ordination of Aaron and the other male Levites. First, Moses “brought forward” the men. This is the same term used for what is done with the sacrificial offerings. The priests were the first sacrifices offered to God in the new Tabernacle. In the same way that animal sacrifices had to washed with water so as not to pollute the altar, the priests were ceremonially washed with water so that no incidental dirt would come in contact with their special garments.
Once Aaron is dressed, Moses anoints everything in the Tabernacle—including Aaron—with oil. This shows it all belongs to God. He then repeats this process with the rest of the priests. Finally, the very first sacrifices must now be offered in the Tabernacle. As we discussed last week—first a sin offering, in this case a bull, is offered to atone for the sins of the priests. Then, a burnt offering, this time a ram, is given to signify they are dedicated to God. Other special offerings of dedication are given. Finally, a wave offering shows the priests are unified with the people they are serving. Having performed the first sacrifices, the priests are put to work!
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
We will soon be in a building project. Once it is completed, our new addition will be “dedicated” to God in a special worship service. What does it mean to have a building dedicated to God? What limits does that put on its use? Should we treat the building differently than we do others, or behave differently in it?
Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?
What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?