Lev 7:20 But if anyone who is unclean eats any meat of the fellowship offering belonging to the Lord, they must be cut off from their people. 21 Anyone who touches something unclean—whether human uncleanness or an unclean animal or any unclean creature that moves along the ground—and then eats any of the meat of the fellowship offering belonging to the Lord must be cut off from their people.’”
It sounds scary. If you do not come to bring your offering to the Lord in a “clean” way, and then you eat the meat of the fellowship offering, you could be cut off from your people. If you touched human uncleanness, an unclean animal and did not first make yourself “clean” prior to eating the offering you could be cut off from the people.
The LORD was teaching something here. You do not approach something that is holy as if it were common (a theme found elsewhere in Scripture). It was so serious to come to the Lord and take of the offering that to do so casually would mean to be cut off from their people. That’s tough.
When I first read this it made me think of the Scripture in the New Testament centered around communion:
1 Cor 11:27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
When it comes to communion we are to examine ourselves first, prefer the body of Christ and not come and act and eat in an unworthy manner. To do so promotes sickness and even brings the judgment of death at times. That’s disturbing.
Now I can’t say for sure that these two Scriptures go together, Lev 7 and 1 Cor 11, but there is an underlying theme that when we approach the holiness of God in worship, our manner matters. There is to be a distinction between the holy and the common. And in the Old Testament it was an external cleanliness was primary to teach what we fully understand in the New Testament, that it is an inward cleanliness and holiness. It is the condition of our hearts.
There are times when I have passed on communion as my heart was not in the right place. It was harder than anticipated more for social reasons and wondering what others would think. Perhaps this shows the shallowness with which I have come to communion.
Perhaps this whole book of Leviticus and understanding the holiness of God needs to become commonplace again. In that there is still a distinction between the holy and the common. In Christ we are made holy, yes. But it’s because of that we give even greater honor.
Thinking on these things.