WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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ACCEPTABLE WORSHIP AND OFFERINGS
(Giving acceptable sacrifices to GOD)
In the book of the prophet Malachi, the LORD sent a message to HIS servant to give to the people of Israel who were disrespecting HIM through their unacceptable, inferior offerings of sacrifice to HIM. In Malachi 1, verse 8 the LORD asks, “When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” (NLT)
Here in Leviticus 22, taking up at verse 17 the LORD tells Moses to give Aaron and his sons and all the Israelites, including the foreigners who lived among them, these instructions regarding their offerings of sacrifices to HIM. “If you offer a whole burnt offering to the LORD, whether to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering it will be accepted only if it is a male animal with no physical defects. It may be either a bull, a ram, or a male goat. Do not bring an animal with physical defects, because it won’t be accepted on your behalf” (NLT).
This passage is regarding personal disqualifications and limitations for any individuals who may wish to bring a burnt offering or fellowship offering to the LORD. Here the people are told that the giving of any defective animal, or a female animal, for sacrifice to the LORD, is prohibited. It is explained in terms that are very similar to those which prohibited physically impaired priests from serving in the inner sanctum of the temple. The only exception where a defected animal can be used is in the event of a “freewill offering”.
The book of Leviticus is a book of instructions for the worship of the Almighty GOD, our FATHER in Heaven. HE is a perfect Holy GOD WHO, in Old Testament times, demanded only perfect, unblemished animal sacrifices from HIS followers in worship services. And because perfect animals would bring top dollar if sold in the marketplace, or for breeding, that made them more precious to the owner and thereby, their perfection, and having to part with such an asset, showed a heart that really and truly valued GOD above their possessions.
By defining what is unacceptable in the Old Testament system of animal sacrifice, the LORD seeks to help us to better understand the true nature of worship itself. Here in Leviticus 22, we learn that neither physically and spiritually defected priests, nor animal sacrifices with defects, were acceptable to the LORD during sacrificial services.
Acceptable worship is worship that is approved by GOD HIMSELF, not by us. We are not allowed to worship GOD any way we please, but rather, we must worship HIM in ways that are pleasing to HIM. Acceptable worship by us must recognize the true greatness of GOD, and honor GOD at all times. We must bring our very best to GOD, and also, be our very best for GOD. Showing absolute reverence for GOD in our worship is essential if we want our worship to be accepted by GOD.
King David had the right attitude when he stated in 2 Samuel 24:24 that he would not sacrifice burnt offerings to the LORD that cost him nothing. Any person or priest who has respect for himself, and high reverence for GOD, will not attempt to worship GOD in ways that don’t meet GOD’s own requirements and standards as they are laid out in Old Testament or New Testament Scriptures.
It does our spiritual life much damage when we leave the altar carrying a false assurance of forgiveness, because we fail to understand the importance of how we are to extend our worship and praise to GOD in HIS sanctuary. As Christians, who have reached an age of accountability, we are responsible to know and understand just what GOD wants from us, and, expects of us.
When we fulfill our duties to GOD in worship, we must take care not to be heartless or uncaring in the way we use what GOD has blessed us with for worship, or provided us with for a sacrificial offering to HIM (v.28). The way we treat the things GOD has blessed us with, eventually becomes the way we treat each other as people, made in the spiritual image of GOD HIMSELF.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website