03(Lev 05) The Need to Restore
Leviticus 5,6 (p. 84)
Here we deal with the last of the five basic offerings: the trespass offering.
Unlike the previous, this deals with our relationships to other people, how to maintain a working relationship, and how to restore one that has been broken.
Here we are dealing, not with the overriding state of sin that enables these acts, but the acts of evil themselves, the injury they cause, and how to remedy.
Each of the offerings had a distinctive character. The distinction of this offering was the restitution required. There is a need to go back and straighten the past, as much as possible.
Five categories of sin covered by this offering:
I. Sins of silence (5:1)
A person saw a crime committed or knew of one, and the authorities need help or testimony, and this person remained silent.
This is not about hearing someone swear a curse, but of being a “witness”.
The reference is either to one who, having heard another testify on oath to what was false, and neglected to give information of the perjury; or to one who had not gone before a court to give the evidence which he possessed. A proclamation was issued, calling any one who could give information to come before the court and bear testimony to the guilt of a criminal; and the manner in which witnesses were interrogated in the Jewish courts of justice was not by swearing them directly, but adjuring them by reading the words of an oath-"the voice of swearing." The offence, then, for the expiation of which this law provides, was that of a person who neglected or avoided the opportunity of lodging the information which it was in his power to communicate.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
This was a sin of omission. Today people say, “I don’t want to get involved.” So when corruption or crime takes place, they just hide it.
Some won’t report a crime that is committed right before their eyes. This makes government impossible.
II. Sins against Ecology (5:2,3)
God, in His wisdom, knew that certain things were unhealthy and therefore destructive to people and to society.
He is teaching man what things will ultimately destroy him, if they are permitted to continue, and thus constitute an offense against society.
III. A Rash Oath (5:4)
An oath is a promise or vow to accomplish something. A rash oath is one impossible to perform.
Any rash oath, whether for something good or evil, is guilt before God. Why?
Because in attempting the impossible, he puts himself in the place of God and not man.
Today we have those who claim to be the masters of their own fate. They answer to no one.
The sacrifice for all three of these categories was the same: (5-6)
This was to be a female animal – we are dealing with man in his weakness.
If poor, turtledoves or a handful of flour was accepted.
One inflexible requirement: the person had to admit the offense.
This meant he had to first understand that what was done was wrong. He had to see it.
1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God insists on our admitting, our confessing, not to humiliate us, but because it is necessary for us to receive the forgiveness that he has already provided.
It isn’t that God forgives us at that moment. He has already forgiven us. But we cant accept that forgiveness until we understand the truth about what has happened.
This is the fundamental cure for broken relationships – face what is wrong and admit it.
Not, “If I have offended you, I’m sorry.”
IV. Religious Offense (5:14-16)
This sacrifice had to be a male because the offense was against things of God.
The offense was committed ignorantly. They didn’t think they were doing anything wrong at the time.
But when he learned about it he was not merely to pass it off, “Well I didn’t know…”
He was to make restitution and add 1/5 to it, as determined by priests.
What sin? It was to do something with deep sincerity, utter conviction that what you were doing was right, do it in the name of the Lord, and then find out it was wrong.
We have often been loveless in the name of Christ. We have attacked one another in the name of Christ, and thought we were honoring God in the doing!
There has been a great deal of unwitting harm done in the name of Christ, and when we become aware of it, we need to make it right!
V. Deception of another (6:1-7)
When this is faced, it must be restored. Time will not heal this wound. The relationship is broken, and the offense must be admitted before any healing takes place.
You might injure someone this way and 50 years go by, but when you then see them again the hurt is still there.
This is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew:
Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. - Matthew 5:23-24
Jesus says, if that is the case, leave the altar, let God wait for awhile, and make it right with your brother first. Then come with joy to the altar.
And so this trespass offering is provided for us, and fulfilled in Christ, that we might heal all the broken relationships of the past. This is essential to a clear conscience.
If you want to clear conscience before God, some of you may have to go back and heal some broken relationships. You may have to make some restitution. You may have to admit some errors.
But once you do, those relationships will be healed before God, and will be a glory and a blessing to you for the rest of your life.
God knows us. He knows we can’t live with this kind of broken relationship hanging over our head. It will trouble us in all areas of life.
But as we bring it to Jesus, he will work even in the other person’s life, to make him willing to listen, if necessary, or he will do whatever needs to be done in order to heal these relationships and cure the problem of human hurt.