Sunday School is a vital part of any ministry. In it one is able to experience a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. We here at “Word For Life Says” want to help you help others. Below you will find resources to help you prepare for your upcoming lessons. May God bless you!
December 13, 2015
“Give God Your Best!”
Leviticus 22:17-33, 31-33
Uniform Series: “Acceptable Offerings”
PDF Lesson Print Out is now Located at the Bottom of the Lesson. Please Scroll Down, Click and Enjoy! Blessings.
Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2010 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited.
You are always encouraged to do your own personal studies as well. These lessons are written to reflect my personal style of writing; my voice (if you will) in a more devotional sense and format and is not to be the final say or authority on the matter. There are oodles of other resources that identify the specifics (who, what, where, when, how) of each lesson that I may or may not cover. These writings are simply from my heart to yours. God bless you!
December is the month we celebrate God’s greatest gift to mankind through the birth of Jesus Christ. He would become the Lamb without spot or wrinkle (1 Peter 1:19) that would be sacrificed for the salvation of all who would believe in Him.
Now one must question whether or not God is getting their best in return. Using examples of the once offered animal sacrifices of the Old Testament, we will learn and explore the idea behind it all: only the best for God will do.
Leviticus 22:17-25, 31-33
17) And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
18) Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a burnt offering;
19) Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats.
20) But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you.
21) And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein.
22) Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the Lord, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the Lord.
23) Either a bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted.
24) Ye shall not offer unto the Lord that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.
25) Neither from a stranger’s hand shall ye offer the bread of your God of any of these; because their corruption is in them, and blemishes be in them: they shall not be accepted for you.
31) Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the Lord.
32) Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lord which hallow you,
33) That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord.
Leviticus 22 opens specifically with instructions for the priests who would serve as God’s ministering agents to the children of Israel. Moses relayed to them God’s high standards and separation due to their interaction with the holy things.
Now Moses’s job is to relay to the priests God’s high standards for the offerings that were to be brought before Him as well. These offerings were to respect and reflect the pure holiness of God and to represent a foreshadowing of what Christ would do: “offered himself without spot to God,” (Hebrews 9:14). Jesus Christ would eventually be the final atoning sacrifice offered without blemish for the sins of mankind (Romans 5:11).
The message of the LORD Moses passes on in today’s lesson states, “Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the LORD for a burnt offering; Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats” (Lev. 22:18-19).
The book of Leviticus is very detail oriented on the ins and outs of what is approved or not by God in relation to people, rituals, and sacrifices/offerings all with the end goal of holiness. It is a book many try to skip over but shouldn’t. From a literary point of view it may not be seen as exciting as some of the other stories in the Bible, but it is one that sheds light on what is pleasing to God. This fervor of holiness seems to be lost in our modern society. Perhaps lessons such as these would rekindle the fire.
In dealing with the sacrifice and offerings alone, Leviticus covers everything from the burnt offering, grain/meal offering, peace offering, to the offering for sin. There were many specifics for each to be followed (too much to name here).
In the verses above Moses is dealing with offering surrounding “vows” and “freewill offerings” that fall under the cover of “burnt offerings.” These offerings were given “of his own voluntary will,” (Lev. 1:3), and were to be, as our lessons states, “a male without blemish,” (Lev. 1:3).
(Please note: to familiarize yourself with the burnt offering I suggest reading all of Leviticus 1 and 6:8-13.)
They were permitted to offer of the “beeves [beef], of the sheep, or the goats.” But, one thing they must all have in common is they are “without blemish,” (vs. 19).
In bringing an offering unto God under this category it had to be the best one could give. When walking through their herds and flocks, they were to be very careful in choosing their presentation before God. He was and is to be honored above all.
Therefore, no deformities or defects were to be present; it couldn’t have any faults or imperfections. God requires more! The ordinary just won’t do. One should always desire to honor and please God in all they bring to Him.
As a matter of fact, “whatsoever hath a blemish, that ye shall not: for it shall not be acceptable for you,” (Lev. 22:20; see also Deut. 15:21). These will not be received by God. He takes no pleasure in half—hearted less than fully devoted worship (and, not just with offerings, either – wink, wink). One should always want God to be pleased with what they offer Him.
Deuteronomy 17:1 called it an “abomination” to bring such less-than offerings to God. An “abomination” speaks of God’s hatred and disgust toward such. So much so that Malachi 1:14 pronounced through that prophet, “But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the LORD a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.” A curse is spoken.
Keep in mind, it is never wasteful to give God one’s best.
Then Moses proceeds to lay out the specifics for “a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering.” Some of the differences between the “burnt offering” and the “peace offering” is with the peace offering the proffered animal could be either male or female (see Lev. 3:1, 6). Also, a portion of the peace offering is given back to the one who offered it to eat within a certain amount of time and a portion is given to the priest as well (see Lev. 10:14 and 19:5-8). Peace offerings were also offered with “unleavened cakes mingled with oil” and more (see Lev. 7:11-13).
The very word peace stands for reconciliation and some see it as fellowship. True peace between God and man can only be found in the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ who, through His death, became our peace (see Eph. 2:13-14; Col. 1:19-20).
Whether it was for a “vow” or a “freewill” offering, this too shall be “perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein.” God’s measuring rod against everything one brings to Him is holiness. If it doesn’t fall in line with His high standards it is not accepted.
Again, only the best for God will do. As with last week’s lesson in regard to the Sabbath, the followers of these untainted and undefiled offerings show that God has priority in one’s life. He doesn’t get the dejected leftovers – He gets the best. He doesn’t get the stuff nobody wants – He gets the cream of the crop – the crème de la crème.
God is perfect and when one brings that which falls short of honoring Him as such then they have misplaced the priority of Him in their lives.
The Bible tells us, “Be holy; for I am holy,” (1 Peter 1:16; see also Leviticus 20:7-8). The way we honor Him in our Christian lives is not in the form of lambs and sheep (Christ already paid the price), but in a life lived for Him. In Romans 12:1 Paul teaches that we are to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
For the ancient Israelites, their offerings were to remain pure. None that is “blind, or broken, or maimed, or having wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD.” All of these maladies speak of imperfections when God wants the “perfect.” There’s something lacking in them that is not right before Him.
Using their offerings as a backdrop one must examine what they bring to the Lord. Do they come with half-hearted devotion or a life of total commitment? William Law states, “This, and this alone, is Christianity, a universal holiness in every part of life, a heavenly wisdom in all our actions, not conforming to the spirit and temper of the world but turning all worldly enjoyments into means of piety and devotion to God,” (Quote Source: Searchquotes.com).
With that being said, one must ask if we are operating in “universal holiness in every part of life;” or, are we looking to “heavenly wisdom in all our actions?” Could this be the untainted, sacrificial offering of our lives that Paul spoke of in Romans 12:1-2?
In Leviticus God wanted the best of the herd and flock in the holy sacrifice, set apart for His use. Are we living lives that are set apart for the Master’s use? For that’s what this holiness He speaks of demands.
In verse 23 speaks of a “freewill offering” which is not covered in previous descriptions. Of these, they may offer “either bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts.” These, in dealing with this particular offering, God will accept. But, since a “vow” is more serious and requires more “it shall not be accepted.”
God does not leave His worshippers blind to His expectations. In all of the “shall’s” and “shall not’s” listed in His word, God openly shows people what to do and what not to do. The time of ignorance is over (Acts 17:30). God has laid out the standards for living and worshipping. In the Old Testament it was through the law and rituals and sacrifices. Since, Christ came to fulfill all of that (Rom. 10:4; Mat. 5:17-20), we are now to have our lives found in Him and live as such (Phil. 3:9).
With the repetition of what God doesn’t accept: “bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut” or “bread” from a “stranger’s hand” (vss. 24-25), God continues to nail home the idea the quality of worship He desires. God expects the best. God expects the superior. God expects excellence when we come before Him. That which is tainted, marred, or filled with “corruptness” (the stranger’s hand which may be tainted by their pagan worship and ideologies) will not be received.
Moses continues to explain, “Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD. Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you, that brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD,” (vss. 31-33).
“I am the LORD” is repeated three times in the above verses and seven times throughout all of Leviticus 22. It is God that mandates all of these instructions. It is God that remains at the center of all worship. And, it is God that is to be revered. The worshipper has the responsibility to honor God’s name and protect the sanctity of it. “Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed . . .” The worshipper, be it through the Old Testament sacrifices or our Christian lives today, are to live in such a way that magnifies God’s holy name and not be a cause for the world to disrespect it.
Even when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He opened by teaching them, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name,” (Mat. 6:9). Respect His holiness! His name is holy (Isaiah 57:15), and He is the one who “dwell in the high and holy place.”
In a previous article I wrote titled “I am the Lord!” is says:
“The gist of it all is what I think most, even in our modern churches and lives forget about, everything we do we do for the Lord. Our lives; our worship are not our own. We are to be dedicated to Him and give Him what is due His holy name.
When we come before Him we are to have a devoted mindset and a devoted heart. Our worship is to be as pure as any sacrifice that was offered unblemished before the Lord in the Old Testament. Our lives are to be pure and open vessels ready to receive of His Spirit in us and ready to pour out of His blessings into the lives of others.
What are we really giving to God on a daily basis? What are we really offering to Him in our times of worship?
God wants the best of us!
He wants holy lives that recognize and live for Him because of who He is: the LORD! He is God the Author and Creator of the universe and beyond. He is as supreme as supreme can get and He deserves to be reverenced as such. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy,” (1 Peter 1:15-16). Other parts of Leviticus tells us, “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God,” (20:7).
God wants holiness in our lives and in our worship. I love a message that pronounces blessings just as much as the next person, but without holiness, it means absolutely nothing in His sight. As a whole we need to come back to the central theme of holiness because the LORD requires nothing less.
I am not talking about rules and regulations, but rather hearts fully dedicated to Him because they recognize that He is the LORD and they want to give Him the best of themselves. And, that’s a holy life.
We must never lose sight of, diminish, or bring down to our level the glory and honor He deserves. He is the LORD! He is Sovereign over all! He is Master! He is Savior! He is King! “I AM THE LORD!” he exclaimed, and holiness before Him is what He desires.” (©Wordforlifesays.com)
God wants to be our God as expressed by verse 33 of our lesson. He is the one that delivers and brings out. But, a relationship is a two-way street. God expects our reverence of Him in all we bring before Him be it our lives, time, gifts, worship, etc.
God gave His best gift to us in Jesus Christ. What do we give Him? We give Him the best of all that we are.
(Click here for PDF: Give God Your Best Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print button below. Enjoy!)
Below are activities to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Baby Jesus Best Gift Craft: BABY JESUS GIFT CRAFT_2 (This craft will remind students of God’s best gift He gave us in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should offer Him no less than our best. Enjoy!) – Use this PDF link for accurate printing. Simply print out, color, and cut. Cut construction paper in half. Glue tab for gift box and attach. Next, glue baby Jesus under the gift box and close. Last, attach the “God’s Best Gift!” label with glue. And, there you have it. When students open the “gift box” they can view God’s best gift: Jesus Christ.
Draw the Scene: Give God Your Best Draw the Scene (Here, students can draw a picture of baby Jesus to put into the empty manger. In this season this is a great reminder for the celebration. It also serves as a reminder for us to give our best. Enjoy!)
How Many Words?: Give God Your Best How Many Words
Below are more Activities/Links/Resources to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!