Leviticus 24 & Psalm 31

Leviticus 24

    The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil from beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly. Outside the veil of the testimony, in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall arrange it from evening to morning before the LORD regularly. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. He shall arrange the lamps on the lampstand of pure gold before the LORD regularly.

    “You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves from it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. And you shall set them in two piles, six in a pile, on the table of pure gold before the LORD. And you shall put pure frankincense on each pile, that it may go with the bread as a memorial portion as a food offering to the LORD. Every Sabbath day Aaron shall arrange it before the LORD regularly; it is from the people of Israel as a covenant forever. And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place, since it is for him a most holy portion out of the LORD's food offerings, a perpetual due.”

    Now an Israelite woman's son, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the people of Israel. And the Israelite woman's son and a man of Israel fought in the camp, and the Israelite woman's son blasphemed the Name, and cursed. Then they brought him to Moses. His mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. And they put him in custody, till the will of the LORD should be clear to them.

    Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.

    “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death. Whoever takes an animal's life shall make it good, life for life. If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him. Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, and whoever kills a person shall be put to death. You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the LORD your God.” So Moses spoke to the people of Israel, and they brought out of the camp the one who had cursed and stoned him with stones. Thus the people of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.

(Leviticus 24 ESV)

Psalm 31

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

    In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
        let me never be put to shame;
        in your righteousness deliver me!
    Incline your ear to me;
        rescue me speedily!
    Be a rock of refuge for me,
        a strong fortress to save me!
    For you are my rock and my fortress;
        and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;
    you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
        for you are my refuge.
    Into your hand I commit my spirit;
        you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
    I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
        but I trust in the LORD.
    I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
        because you have seen my affliction;
        you have known the distress of my soul,
    and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
        you have set my feet in a broad place.
    Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
        my eye is wasted from grief;
        my soul and my body also.
    For my life is spent with sorrow,
        and my years with sighing;
    my strength fails because of my iniquity,
        and my bones waste away.
    Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
        especially to my neighbors,
    and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
        those who see me in the street flee from me.
    I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
        I have become like a broken vessel.
    For I hear the whispering of many—
        terror on every side!—
    as they scheme together against me,
        as they plot to take my life.
    But I trust in you, O LORD;
        I say, “You are my God.”
    My times are in your hand;
        rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
    Make your face shine on your servant;
        save me in your steadfast love!
    O LORD, let me not be put to shame,
        for I call upon you;
    let the wicked be put to shame;
        let them go silently to Sheol.
    Let the lying lips be mute,
        which speak insolently against the righteous
        in pride and contempt.
    Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
        which you have stored up for those who fear you
    and worked for those who take refuge in you,
        in the sight of the children of mankind!
    In the cover of your presence you hide them
        from the plots of men;
    you store them in your shelter
        from the strife of tongues.
    Blessed be the LORD,
        for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
        when I was in a besieged city.
    I had said in my alarm,
        “I am cut off from your sight.”
    But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
        when I cried to you for help.
    Love the LORD, all you his saints!
        The LORD preserves the faithful
        but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
    Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
        all you who wait for the LORD!

(Psalm 31 ESV)

Something to Consider

Leviticus 24: After providing a list of annual feasts that were to be observed for the remembrance and rejoicing of God's redemptive work, Moses writes instructions to remind the Israelites of their daily works of worship as well. Two works in particular were providing pure oil for the burning of a continual light within the tabernacle and providing twelves loaves for the continual nourishment of bread for the priests of the tabernacle.

The order to keep a continual light burning within the tabernacle among the people served as a visual reminder that nothing is more opposed to the worship of God than darkness and the absence of His spiritual light. God's priests were to be ministers of light who continually guided the people in their spiritual journeys. God's light should shine upon His people in a continual flow serving as a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119). 

This work of burning a continual light was to be "statute forever" throughout the generations until the manifestation of an even greater Light that would come proclaiming to be the Light of the world. Christ is not only the greater Priest and Minister of spiritual light, but He is also the greater continual Light itself who exposes the things hidden in darkness and provides guidance for His people upon their spiritual journey.  

Next, the order to provide continual bread within the tabernacle served as a sign of the on-going never-ending covenant between Israel and God in which He promised to be their God and provide for their every need. The bread symbolized God's promise to protect, preserve and provide for His people. We should remember that our God is a personal God who makes promises to His people and has proven Himself faithful to fulfill all He has promised.

God's promise to provide for His people finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ who declared Himself as the Bread of life. Never has our God been more personal than when He entered into this world among us as a person Himself. His work in Christ proves without a doubt that God remains and will forever remain to be a continual Protector, Provider and Preserver of His people. "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8)

Just as the feasts foreshadowed an ultimate manifestation of the very things they memorialized, so also the daily activities of tabernacle worship symbolized an ultimate manifestation that would one day be revealed in Christ our Savior. Although the Law and ordinances of ancient Israel can prove to be difficult to read and adore, may we take time to consider their significance in the spiritual lives of our Israelite ancestors and find them as new ways of worshipping and adoring Christ who fulfills their spiritual significance.