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In Case You Missed It -- Leviticus 27, Psalm 73

Many describe the last chapter in Leviticus as an appendix to the book. Though this chapter does not fit naturally into the flow of the story, its purpose in Israel’s worship is clear. People could make donations of sacrifices to Israel’s tabernacle worship and even make vows of lifelong service. However, since people may have wanted to purchase back any donated property (redemption) or even buy themselves out of a vow they had made, Leviticus ends by making allowances for the redemption of certain goods and services. Redemption comes with a cost, usually of twenty percent or one fifth of something’s value in addition to the redemption value. This cost ensured that there were fair ways for people to reacquire property when necessary, but it also guaranteed that the sanctuary service wouldn’t be depleted by the work of managing all these transactions.

Today’s Psalm tells us that God’s sanctuary is the very place where the writer discovered the end of those who live in wickedness (Psalm 73:16). Like the appointed place of worship in Leviticus, God’s sanctuary always is the place Israel learns God’s ways. Though the details of the tabernacle and in later readings about the temple might seem tedious to us, recognize that God is providing physical institutions to teach Israel to ask, “Whom have I in heaven but you?” —leading to the humble recognition, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26) Some of God’s building programs are intricate and detailed, but the fact that someone attended to these details enables worship for many. May you have learned to appreciate and love God more through learning about the details of the tabernacle and priestly service in the book of Leviticus!

Jeremiah Vaught