Dave Burnette's Commentary

Leviticus Chapter 1

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1445-1444 BC)
Overview: A Handbook for the Priests and Levites (c 1-27)
Theme: Worshipping a Holy God (c 1-17)
Message: Instructions for the Offerings (v 1-17)

Leviticus 1 Commentary

(1:1) God's Character on Display - We may be tempted to dismiss Leviticus as a record of bizarre rituals of a different age. But its practices made sense to the people of the day and offer important insights for us into God's nature and character. Animal sacrifice seems obsolete and repulsive to many people today, but animal sacrifices were practiced in many cultures in the ancient Middle East. God used this form of sacrifice to teach his people about their sin and his holiness. Sin needed to be taken seriously. When people saw the sacrificial animals being killed, they were sensitized to the gravity of their sin and guilt. Our culture's casual attitude toward sin ignores its cost and the need for repentance and restoration. Although many of the rituals of Leviticus were designed for the culture of the day, their purpose was to reveal a high and holy God who should be loved, obeyed, and worshiped. God's laws and sacrifices were intended to foster true devotion of the heart. The ceremonies and rituals were the best way for the Israelites to focus their lives on God.

(1:1-7) Offering and Sacrifice -  Was there any difference between a sacrifice and an offering? In Leviticus the words are used interchangeably. Usually a specific sacrifice is called an offering (burnt offering, meat offering, peace offering). Offerings in general are called sacrifices. The point is that each person offered a gift to God by sacrificing it on the altar. In the Old Testament, sacrifices were the only way to approach God and restore a relationship with him. Each type of sacrifice is related to a specific life situation. Sacrifices were given in praise, worship, and thanksgiving, as well as for finding forgiveness and fellowship. The first seven chapters of Leviticus describe the variety of offerings and how they were to be used.

(1:11) A Lesson in Worship -  The book of Leviticus begins where the book of Exodus ends--at the foot of Mount Sinai. The tabernacle had just been completed (Exodus 35-40), and God was ready to teach the people how to worship there. Here "tabernacle of the congregation" or "tent of meeting" refers to the central structure of the tabernacle complex. This tent contained the sanctuary (or holy place) in one part and the most holy place with the ark in another part. These two sections were separated by a curtain. God revealed himself to Moses in the most holy place. Exodus 33:7 mentions a "Tabernacle of the congregation" where Moses met with God before the actual tabernacle was constructed. Many believe it served the same function as the one described here.

(1:12) Worship and Sacrifice - When God taught his people to worship him, he placed great emphasis on sacrifices. Why? Sacrifices were God's Old Testament way for people to ask forgiveness for their sins. Since Creation, God has made it clear that sin separates people from him and that those who sin deserve to die. Because "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23), God designed sacrifice as a way to seek forgiveness and restore a relationship with him. Because he is a God of love and mercy, God decided from the very first that he would come into our world and die to pay the penalty for all humans. This he did in his Son, who, while still God, became a human being. In the meantime, before God made this ultimate sacrifice of his Son, he instructed people to kill animals as sacrifices for sin.

(1:13) The Purpose of Sacrifice - Animal sacrifice accomplished two purposes: (1) The animal symbolically took the sinner's place and paid the penalty for sin, and (2) the animal's death represented one life given so that another life could be saved. This method of sacrifice continued throughout Old Testament times. It was effective in teaching and guiding the people and bringing them back to God. But in New Testament times, Christ's death became the last sacrifice needed. He took our punishment once and for all. Animal sacrifice is no longer required. Now any person can be freed from the penalty of sin by simply believing in Jesus, acknowledging Jesus' sacrifice in his or her place, and accepting the forgiveness Jesus offers.

(1:14) The Lesson in Sacrifice - What did sacrifices teach the people? (1) By requiring perfect animals and holy priests, they taught reverence for a holy God. (2) By demanding exact obedience, they taught total submission to God's laws. (3) By requiring an animal of great value, they showed the high cost of sin and demonstrated the sincerity of the people's commitment to God. (4) By their nature, sacrifices required the use of all the senses in worship, encouraging a whole-person response to God. Some sacrifices were voluntary, while others were required. The sacrificial system provided a combination of requirements to reconcile people to God, while also presenting opportunities for heartfelt, voluntary responses of gratitude.

(1:15) The Detail of Sacrifice - Why are there such detailed regulations for each offering? God had a purpose in giving these commands. Starting from scratch, he was teaching his people a whole new way of life, cleansing them from the many pagan practices they had learned in Egypt, and restoring true worship of him. The strict details kept the Israelites from slipping back into their old lifestyle. In addition, each law painted a graphic picture of the seriousness of sin and of God's great mercy in forgiving sinners



Dave Burnette's Life Application

A Holy God

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Start  in the book of Leviticus with Chapter 1 and in today's text we see a book that many have a struggle in reading. The book of Leviticus. Many start reading the Bible and go through the Books of Genesis and Exodus very intrigued. Then we they come to this Book they loose interest with all the sacrifices and give up on reading the Bible from cover to cover. Let me encourage you to continue reading with us and see the Symbolism and Application we make from this Book which was a handbook for the Priests and Leviticus outlining their duties in worship and Holy living. Holiness is mentioned 153 time in this Book which is more than any other Book in the Bible. God wants us to know that He is Holy. The word Holy means spiritually whole or spiritual perfection and God is Holy. In making application we see the character of God. He is perfect and it takes the appropriate sacrifice to pay for our imperfection. This simple truth is understanding for why we need Jesus to pay for our sins. Only a perfect sacrifice could satisfy a Holy God for all eternity and that sacrifice is the Lamb of God, Christ-Jesus. How about you? Do you see God as a Holy God? Do you then see a need for a Savior, Jesus-Christ? Let us learn from today's text and understand who God is, A Holy God.  


Leviticus 1

Leviticus 1

 1And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,

 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.

 3If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.

 4And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.

 5And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

 6And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces.

 7And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire:

 8And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:

 9But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

 10And if his offering be of the flocks, namely, of the sheep, or of the goats, for a burnt sacrifice; he shall bring it a male without blemish.

 11And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar.

 12And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:

 13But he shall wash the inwards and the legs with water: and the priest shall bring it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

 14And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the LORD be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons.

 15And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring off his head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof shall be wrung out at the side of the altar:

 16And he shall pluck away his crop with his feathers, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes:

 17And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.