Leviticus 22:20 (HCSB)
20 You are not to present anything that has a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf.
The previous pericope discussed the purity of the priests, this pericope covers the purity of the animals presented as sacrifices. Just as the priests are required to be holy and “unblemished”, the sacrifices presented to God should be the same. And this nothing that should surprise us: the perfect God deserves the best.
There are a few things to note here:
- Judging by Lev 22:17, it would appear that it is not solely the responsibility of the priest to ensure the sacrificial animal is of the expected quality. Since God commands Moses to, “Speak to Aaron, his sons, and all the Israelites,” it would seem that the laity are also expected to take part in this. Perhaps this suggests that even today we should take care to recognize the one pure sacrifice, Jesus, as our savior and substitution.
- There is an exception to the rules for the unblemished animals when it is a freewill offering. One possible explanation, as outlined in the Continental Commentary series volume on Leviticus, is the nature of the sacrifice that allows for this exception, although even then it is not a total exception, only the allowance of an “elongated or stunted limb”. (Lev 22:23) So again we see how God provides for worship of Him, in a spontaneous way, by allowing for this, yet when something is planned the expectation is greater.
- Again this passage emphasizes the fact that God is holy, and the real source of these requirements is to honor and glorify Him in a way that He deserves. If we are unable to give the best of what we have to God, then do we truly love, follow, honor, and glorify Him?
Lord, thank You for giving Yourself for us! Nothing we return to You can ever compare, but I pray that we hold back nothing, and give our most prized treasures to You, and keep You in the right position in our lives. Amen.