Again, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying… (27:1).
Leviticus 26 concludes, “These are the statutes and ordinances and laws which the Lord established between Himself and the sons of Israel through Moses at Mount Sinai,” (Leviticus 26:46).
The statutes and the ordinances and laws had been established. It would seem the subject had been thoroughly expounded.
But… “Again the Lord spoke to Moses,” and Leviticus 27 brings an addendum concerning vows and valuation of vows; honestly it was a bit confusing, but what I did see, clearly, was His Grace When He Spoke Again.
Consider His Grace When He Spoke Again
His people had just heard all the statutes and ordinances and laws, but more than that, they had heard His repeated promise to be their God, that He would make His dwelling among them and the unbelievable proclamation: He was setting them apart from the nations to be His. “Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine,” (Leviticus 20:26).
It’s quite reasonable to imagine many were moved by an overwhelming gratitude, feeling they just had to give back, somehow. These were vows of choice, not obligatory, and in His Grace, He Spoke Again to protect His children from the danger of not fulfilling an oath to holy God.
His Grace When He Spoke Again made provision for vows made that could not be humanly kept, “When a man makes a difficult vow, he shall be valued according to your valuation…” (27:2). When someone vowed himself or herself, a family member, animals, houses or property there was a valuation, or equivalent value, set that could be paid as a way of meeting the obligation of the vow.
In His Grace When He Spoke Again He secured the means whereby His people might become people of their word.
How do we respond to His Grace When He Spoke Again?
There is a warning in His addendum. Rushing into emotionally driven promises is regarded as rash and foolish in the Wisdom literature of Scripture. The Lord desires we become people of our word.
- It is a trap for a man to say rashly, “It is holy!”
And after the vows to make inquiry, (Proverbs 20:25).
- When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay, (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5).
Making an oath is considered rash or foolish, as we have no power in ourselves to guarantee we can, in fact, keep our word; and who knows what tomorrow may bring.
- “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil,” (Matthew 5:33-37).
- Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that,” (James 4:13-15).
Jesus calls His disciples to become people of their word, people who can be trusted to speak from the heart, to simply speak truth. He calls us to let our yes be yes and our no, no. It is His Grace that transforms and accomplishes this on our behalf, not our own resolve.
It is His Grace that transforms us, growing us to become people of our word as He faithfully strengthens us to become people of His Word.
Let us trust His Grace to become people of our word as we walk in humility.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).
Let us trust His Grace to become people of our word as we present our whole selves to God.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, (Romans 12:1).
Let us trust His Grace to become people of our word as we live by faith, as one crucified with Christ.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me, (Galatians 2:20).
Let us trust His Grace to become people of our word as His Word dwells richly within us.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God, (Colossians 3:16).