Restitution to God
Leviticus 5:15, 16
If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the LORD…

The trespass for which "God spake unto Moses" that the children of Israel should make atonement, was an offense in which there was present the element of reparable wrong-doing. Something, it was contemplated, would be done which could be in some respects made good, and where this was possible it was to be done. In most cases this would refer to wrong done to man; but here we have the truth that God may be wronged, and that he condescends to receive restitution at our hands. We may look at -

I. SIN REGARDED AS A DEBT WHICH IS DUE TO GOD. Jehovah was sovereign Lord of the Hebrew commonwealth, and actual proprietor of all; anything withheld from those who were his ministers was a sacred due withheld, a debt undischarged. Our God is he:

1. Who has placed us under immeasurable obligation - by creation, preservation, benefaction, fatherly love, Divine interposition.

2. To whom we owe everything we are and have - our hearts and lives.

3. From whom we have withheld that which we shall never be able to pay: our reverence, gratitude, obedience, submission; "ten thousand talents" (Matthew 18:24). But there are some special defaults: -

II. ARREARS IS HOLY THINGS. "If a soul commit a trespass.., in the holy things of the Lord" (verse 15). The Israelites were under many injunctions; they probably received professional instruction from the Levites, as well as religious teaching at home (Deuteronomy 6:7). But they might be betrayed into ignorance or fall into forgetfulness, and they might come short of their duty

(1) in the offerings they were to bring to the altar,

(2) in the contributions they were to make to the ministers of God. They might ignorantly rob God in offerings and in tithes, as they even did intentionally (Malachi 3:8). We also may fall far short of what we should bring to God; we may take a totally inadequate view

(1) of the nature of the worship we should render,

(2) of the frequency of our devotional engagements,

(3) of the contribution we should give to the support of the Christian ministry,

(4) of our due share in the maintenance of the cause and the extension of the kingdom of Christ. Thus we may ignorantly but guiltily (verse 17) fall short of our sacred obligations.

III. THE ATONEMENT WHICH MUST BE FIRST PRESENTED. First of all, there was the offering "not without blood" to be made: the ram must be brought by the offender, and" the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram.... and it shall be forgiven him." First, we must plead the atoning blood of the slain lamb, seeking and finding forgiveness through the Saviour's sacrifice. But this is not all; there is -

IV. THE RESTITUTION WHICH SHOULD SUBSEQUENTLY BE MADE. The Jew was required to "make amends for the harm he had done in the holy things," and not only to give an equivalent to that which he had withheld, but to "add the fifth part thereto;" he was not only to make up, but do more than make up for his default. We cannot and we need not attempt to act according to the letter of this injunction, but we may and should act in the spirit of it, by letting our consciousness of past deficiency in the worship and the service of Christ incite us to multiplied endeavours in the future. In looking back we recall negligences to attend the sanctuary, to come to the table of the Lord, to worship God in the secret chamber of devotion; therefore let us seek his face and his favour with constancy and earnestness in the days to come. We have not served his cause and our generation according to the measure of his bountiful dealings with us; therefore let us open our hand freely, and give far more generously than we should otherwise have done to those various agencies of beneficence which are turning the wilderness of wrong into the garden of the Lord. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the LORD; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the LORD a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering:

WEB: "If anyone commits a trespass, and sins unwittingly, in the holy things of Yahweh; then he shall bring his trespass offering to Yahweh, a ram without blemish from the flock, according to your estimation in silver by shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering.

Trespass in Sacrilege
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