In yesterday's study we talked about the guilt offering the cleansed leper was to bring. Today the sin offering and the burnt offerings are made. The Lord will make allowances for healed lepers who are poor who may not be able to afford the things that are to be brought to the tabernacle on the eighth day after presenting themselves to the priest: two male lambs, one female lamb, eleven pounds of the finest flour mixed with olive oil, and 1/3 quart of oil. (Leviticus 14:10)
After the guilt offering has been made, we are told, "Then the priest is to sacrifice the sin offering and make atonement for the one to be cleansed from their uncleanness. After that, the priest shall slaughter the burnt offering and offer it on the altar, together with the grain offering, and make atonement for them, and they will be clean." (Leviticus 14:19-20) These are offerings we've studied before in detail. They are offerings all the citizens of Israel would have made at various and proper times; they are not connected only with cases of healed leprosy.
Next we'll take a look at what the leper can bring if he can't afford the items listed in verse 10. As in any culture, not everyone in Israel is on the same economic level. The Lord is going to allow a poor person to bring more affordable offerings to the tabernacle and these cheaper alternatives will be looked upon by the Lord in exactly the same way He looks upon the offerings the more affluent citizens bring. The Lord doesn't show more favor to the rich than to the poor. Our fellow man may sometimes harbor that attitude but the Lord never does.
"If, however, they are poor and cannot afford these, they must take one male lamb as a guilt offering to be waved to make atonement for them, together with a tenth of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, a log of oil, and two doves or two young pigeons, such as they can afford, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering." (Leviticus 14:21-22) The poor don't have to bring two male lambs and one ewe lamb along with the flour and oil offerings. They can bring one male lamb and two birds. They are not required to bring as large of an amount of fine flour mixed with olive oil as the person who can easily afford a grain offering.
The Lord looks at what is in the heart, not at what is in the wallet. A poor person may have a very strong desire to bring the Lord an abundance of offerings but he may not be financially able to do so. Likewise, some of the wealthy may be able to afford to bring lavish and excessive offerings and yet have no real interest in displaying thankfulness to God. The Lord knows the motives of anyone who brings an offering. In our times, when we no longer bring sacrifices to a tabernacle, He knows whether we do good works in His name out of a sincere love for Him and for our fellow man or whether we're doing it to receive approval and admiration, or whether we're doing it simply to fit in, or whether we're doing it because we think giving generously saves our souls even though our hearts might be far from God. This is why the Apostle Paul told the members of the Corinthian church, "If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have." (2 Corinthians 8:12) In other words, if a person genuinely loves the Lord and has a grateful heart, his offering may be small if he's poor but the Lord regards it as if it's the finest offering that could be brought. And if a person has little or no regard for the Lord but brings the best offerings money can buy, the Lord would just as soon the person had stayed home instead of putting on a false front of thankfulness and humility. We can clearly see He feels this way when many in the nation later fall away from Him in their hearts or fall into idolatry, yet they still keep going through the motions of bringing the prescribed offerings even though they don't care about the Lord. He says, "Stop bringing meaningless offerings!" (Isaiah 1:13a)
The poor person's offerings are handled by the priest in much the same way as the way the more financially stable person's offerings were handled in yesterday's passage. "On the eighth day they must bring them for their cleansing to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the Lord. The priest is to take the lamb for the guilt offering, together with the log of oil, and wave them before the Lord as a wave offering. He shall slaughter the lamb for the guilt offering and take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on their thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot." (Leviticus 14:23-25) As we've discussed before, this ritual probably indicate the person's willingness to have his ears open to the Lord's voice and to use his hands and feet in the Lord's service.
"The priest is to pour some of the oil into his own left hand, and with his right forefinger sprinkle some of the oil from his palm seven times before the Lord. Some of the oil in his palm he is to put on the same places he put the blood of the guilt offering---on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. The rest of the oil in his palm the priest shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed, to make atonement for them before the Lord." (Leviticus 14:26-29) Yesterday we talked about how oil usually represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We talked about how this mirrors what happens when a person is saved through faith in Christ. The blood of Christ atones for our guilt and then the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts to guide and direct our lives as we walk through this world as representatives of our Redeemer.
"Then he shall sacrifice the doves or the young pigeons, such as the person can afford, one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, together with the grain offering. In this way the priest will make atonement before the Lord on behalf of the one to be cleansed." (Leviticus 14:30-31) The atonement for the poor person is just as valid and effective as the atonement for the middle class person or for the wealthy person.
This concludes the section we've been studying for three days. "These are the regulations for anyone who has a defiling skin disease and who cannot afford the regular offerings for their cleansing." (Leviticus 14:32)