Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dedicated or Devoted?

I was out on the chair swing tonight, next to the pond, with a couple of Bibles, a composition book and some verse references from the Strong's number for the next compound name of Jehovah. What a pleasant time on a warm summer evening in the golden hour of the day, as photographers call the light in the last couple of hours before sunset.

The next name that I will do in the compound names is Jehovah-Go'el, the Lord My Redeemer. I really don't have a good feel for the Biblical usage of the word 'redeemer', so I was doing a study on that when I ran into a section in:

Leviticus 27 (NIV):

22 " 'If a man dedicates to the LORD a field he has bought, which is not part of his family land, 23 the priest will determine its value up to the Year of Jubilee, and the man must pay its value on that day as something holy to the LORD. 24 In the Year of Jubilee the field will revert to the person from whom he bought it, the one whose land it was. 25 Every value is to be set according to the sanctuary shekel, twenty gerahs to the shekel.

26 " 'No one, however, may dedicate the firstborn of an animal, since the firstborn already belongs to the LORD; whether an ox or a sheep, it is the LORD's. 27 If it is one of the unclean animals, he may buy it back at its set value, adding a fifth of the value to it. If he does not redeem it, it is to be sold at its set value.

28 " 'But nothing that a man owns and devotes to the LORD -whether man or animal or family land—may be sold or redeemed; everything so devoted is most holy to the LORD.

29 " 'No person devoted to destruction [m] may be ransomed; he must be put to death.

What a fascinating little section of verses this is. There is a clear difference between something a man dedicates to the Lord and something that a man devotes to the Lord. . . I love it. . . What does this mean?

Here is the Strong's Hebrew definition for the word that the KVJ translates as sanctify and NIV translates as dedicate(s)
A primitive root; to be (causatively make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally): - appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, (be, keep) holy (-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify (-ied one, self), X wholly.
Translated as: (KJV)
sanctified, sanctify, holy, hallowed, consecrate, hallow, defiled, appointed, dedicated, dedicate, purified, proclaim, prepare, bid,

Both the KJV and the NIV translated the following word as devoted:
A primitive root; to seclude; specifically (by a ban) to devote to religious uses (especially destruction); physically and reflexively to be blunt as to the nose: - make accursed, consecrate, (utterly) destroy, devote, forfeit, have a flat nose, utterly (slay, make away).
Translated as:
(KJV) utterly destroyed, flat nose, devote, accursed, utterly to slay, forfeited, utterly to make away, consecrate,

In Leviticus it is described the rules for offering up your house, a field, a life as dedicated, qâdash, to God. If you later decided that you wanted the field, the house, the life back then that was possible. In essence you just paid a 20% premium over its value and the ownership would return to you. If on the other hand you devoted, châram, those same things to God they were forever gone, no changing your mind, no going back. . . .

The intent of each word is in the same direction. The world of difference is in the degree.

God told Saul:

1 Samuel 15:2-3
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel , how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. (3) Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

Saul was to châram the Amalekites. He was to utterly irrevocably offer them to God, no going back, no compromise. . . Saul disobeyed:

1 Samuel 15:13-23 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. (14) And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? (15) And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. (16) Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. (17) And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? (18) And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. (19) Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD? (20) And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. (21) But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. (22) And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (23) For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Our God is not a God of halfway measures. There are no exceptions to châram. It is clear he demands holiness without compromise. What is that noise? He has an ear for the bleating sheep. Are we qa ̂dash? Have we washed our hands? Do we claim to be ceremonially pure? That condition changes . It is not possible to have bleating sheep without eventually also having piles of manure. . . He asks that we not merely wash them but we are to utterly destroy those things in our life not pleasing to Him? There is no going back from cha ̂ram, no lowing of oxen. There is silence.

I think this is what the Pharisee's got confused with. They were experts on qâ dash. They were confused, thinking themselves being dedicated to cleaning things up, thereby being the same as being devoted to holiness. . . Jesus was not concerned with our dedication to the cleanness of the cup. He doesn't want us to be mere dishwashers, endlessly washing the dirty cups in our lives. He wants us to be surgeons. . .slicing out those things, cutting off, plucking out and throwing away those things not pleasing to him. He requires more than the washing of our hands. . .He requires the irrevocable devotion of our heart to Him. . . .

I love you all. I'm off to Canada. Talk to you all again probably Friday or Saturday.


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