• By Pastor Boffey
  • on Friday, May 4, 2012
Lev 27:1-7 (1) And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (2) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the LORD by thy estimation. (3) And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. (4) And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels. (5) And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. (6) And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. (7) And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels. The Law of Moses provided for non-obligatory vows of persons as well as things unto the Lord. These verses speak of the “singular vow” (v. 2) of persons. The word singular means, “Living alone or apart from the herd. Alone; away from others; solitary.” Such a vow as is considered in our text would be appropriate for someone who dedicated himself, herself or another self unto the Lord to serve in some capacity in the tabernacle or temple. Such a vow might be one of thanksgiving, as when Hannah vowed to dedicate her prayed-for son unto God's service (1SAM 1:11). When God granted Hannah her petition (and since her husband had not overruled her vow by the rule of NUM 30:6-8), Hannah would have had to redeem him with money or leave Samuel in the service of the tabernacle (which she did). Vows unto God are serious matters: “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay” (ECC 5:4-5). Conceivably, piety might have motivated someone to dedicate himself or herself to service in God's house in a menial capacity to whatever they could do, though it be limited. But even menial service in God's house is better than a disservice without it: “...I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (PSA 84:10). Better are women who assemble at the door of God's house for its glory (EXO 38:8) than women who sit there weeping for Tammuz (EZE 8:14), abominating the holiness of the place with the mother-infant theology of paganism and dreading the thought of religion without syrup. We read of godly Anna the prophetess, “...which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day” (LUK 2:37), a great model for widows indeed (1TI 5:5). One need not be an apostle, evangelist, pastor or deacon to be a valuable asset to the house of God: fastings and prayers are weighty countermeasures against oppressive devils (MAT 17:14-21) and it has been sagely noted that a spiritually healthy church owes much to unsung heroes like godly, praying, older women. Our text shows that there were different values assigned to dedicated persons according to age and gender. Males were always worth more than females at any age level but the really interesting thing about that is the proportions of male value to female value at various age levels: One month to five years, 5:3 (1.67 to 1) Five years to twenty years, 20:10 (2 to 1) Twenty years to sixty years, 50:30 (1.67 to 1) Sixty years and over 15:10 (1.5 to 1) Now as touching eternal justification and the right to the Lord's Table in the house of God under the New Testament, “...there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (GAL 3:28). But notice how that the female's greatest value relative to a male's value under Moses' law was in the “60 and over” category. Correspondingly, the Apostle Paul shows us that in the church it is the aged women who are the most valuable because of their great power to positively teach and influence the younger women in domestic duties and submission to their husbands (TIT 2:3-5). As touching genuinely needy widows in the church, Paul follows suit with the pattern from our text today: only those 60 years and over are esteemed worthy of church support (1TI 5:9), “But the younger widows refuse...” (1TI 5:11). Our text sets forth the valued estimations of O.T. church members: there were differences in estimations, probably according to their serviceability to God's house. It may be noted that their “worth” in all instances was measured according to “...the shekel of the sanctuary” (LEV 27:3). The house of God set the standard of currency by which one was valued. No less is true of the N.T. church: judgment begins at the house of God (1PE 4:17) and a person's true spiritual worth is measured according to a believer's identity with Christ in His body, for it is in the church of the living God that saints are “...fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (EPH 4:11-16). The word estimation (see our text) derives from the word esteem. In the church of Jesus Christ, there are some who are “least esteemed” (1CO 6:4) and some of whom it is said, “...esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake...” (1TH 5:12-13). The least esteemed of all was the church's Head: ISA 53:3-4 (3) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (4) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Not only did the church to which He came not value (esteem) Him for His true worth, He also “...made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant...” (PHIL 2:7), coming “...not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (MAT 20:28). And in so doing, He showed us the best way to estimate our brethren's worth, male or female: PHIL 2:1-3 (1) If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, (2) Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (3) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

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