Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Journey Through the Bible: Exodus 30

Exodus 30:15—“The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves.” There was a “ransom,” or monetary atonement, required of all the Israelite men, aged 20 and above. The purpose of it was “for the service of the tabernacle of meeting” (v. 16), and for a memorial. This appears to have been a one-time tax, “when you take the census of the children of Israel” (v. 12); obviously future “atonements” were through the sacrificial system, and the priestly tribe was supported in other ways. It is interesting that everyone, rich and poor alike, paid the same amount. There was no “graduated tax,” which is a Marxist concept of the 19th century. Since everyone, equally, would be benefited by the service of the tabernacle, everyone, equally, paid the same amount. This seems fair, and gives us a pretty good indication of who has the most influence on our tax system today—an atheist, Karl Marx, not the Lord Jehovah. But, sadly, it’s been a long, long time since God had much influence on the policy decisions of the United States.

One more point about this chapter, in general. It discusses the altar of incense, the bronze laver, and the composition of the holy anointing oil and the incense. All of it was holy, and reserved strictly for the Lord’s use. Any profaning of that which was holy led to severe consequences (e.g., verse 33). It is a good lesson for us today, who rarely distinguish between the holy and the common (Ezek. 22:26).

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