-Some more sacrificial statutes are added in this chapter with the emphasis on uniformity in the camp with both the native and the alien sojourner. Offerings by fire such as burnt offerings, freewill offerings, peace offerings, and sin offerings were given requirements as a command from God to Moses for the people. Grain offerings of fine flour and drink offerings of wine culminated in making “a soothing aroma to the LORD (Numbers 15:1-16). This soothing aroma simply means that the LORD would be well pleased with their sacrifice and accept it for reconciliation. Then, the LORD offers a command for the sons of Israel when they would eventually enter into the Promised Land. When they would be able to eat of the food of the land, they were ordered to offer the first of their dough lifted up as a cake offering, as the offering of the threshing floor (Exodus 34:26, Numbers 15:17-21). God expected their best, as always (Genesis 4:3-7, Exodus 23:16-19, Leviticus 23:10, Nehemiah 10:35, Revelation 14:4).
-The sins and failure of those who make unintentional mistakes was given some attention in the next portion of this passage. Some would lack knowledge and make inadvertent mistakes without realizing what they have done against Almighty God. For this, the LORD allows repentant sacrifices from the priest to make atonement for the whole congregation of Israel. Forgiveness is extended in His mercy both for the alien and the foreigner through humbling their hearts and following His directions (Numbers 15:22-29).
-“But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is a native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on Him (Numbers 15:30-31).” As fate would have it, some of the sons of Israel observed a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. This man was brought before Moses and Aaron to see what should be done. Until the LORD spoke, he was put in custody. Then the LORD spoke to Moses declaring that this man be put to death with stoning for his intentional despising of the word of God in performing laborious work on the holy day. The congregation brought this man outside the camp and followed the LORD’s orders in putting him to death (Numbers 15:32-36). The LORD further spoke with Moses saying to have the sons of Israel make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations (this will help us understand Orthodox Jews a little better). They were informed to put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. This tassel was instituted for them to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, “so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot (idolatry, unfaithfulness).” God further stated that this would help them to remain focused on holiness unto their Creator and Sustainer since He was the One who brought them out of slavery in Egypt and they had consecrated themselves as His chosen people (Numbers 15:37-41).
-*Application* We have a lot of debate and consternation about what to do with foreigners in our United States of America these days. In fact, this struggle is nothing new and the biblical principles laid out here should be considered by those in governmental authority. Notice that there was just one law, and that everyone was expected to abide by that law in uniformity with justice and equality for all. Where there is a distinction, it is between unintentional crimes against the law and a purposeful despising of the law of the land. More mercy is certainly and justly given to those who are ignorant of the law. While the truly-knowing guilty are punished severely for an example not to facsimile. Remember this biblical and secular fact: The law is meant to restrain evil, but it falls short in imputing righteousness. Righteousness comes from a heart surrendered to what God can do to cleanse, restore, revive, and redeem.
-*Application Too* There are reminders for us as well in the ways that we should go. We may not wear tassels as Gentiles, but God’s Word is certainly our plumb-line, and we dare not go off its course as faithful and abiding believers. God is our salvation, and He has brought us out of the pit of despair desiring for us to make Him the Lord of our lives, holy and pure before Him in the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
Verse to Memorize: Numbers 15:25