“And if it is any unclean animal that may not be offered as an offering to the LORD, then he shall stand the animal before the priest, and the priest shall value it as either good or bad; as the priest values it, so it shall be.”
We’ve spoken at length of God’s desire to co-labor with His people, but this delegation of power to Aaron here in Leviticus 27 is the most enigmatic aspect of that collaboration. Quite literally, God gives Aaron the license to make calculated decisions that will have great significance on the people. To do that, Aaron will need godlike integrity so that he’ll never be bribed into accepting something unworthy. He’ll need godlike patience to evaluate the horde of pilgrims on an individual basis. And he’ll need godlike humility to never exploit his power for selfish gain but to always use it in service of the people.
This role of discernment has been active throughout Church history, friend, and its part and parcel to man’s greatest failures as well as his greatest achievements. It’s behind the evils of crusades and inquisitions and witch trials, yet it’s also behind the virtues of missionary endeavors and reformations and biblical translations. But herein lies the mystery of redemptive history: that Christ is building His Church against all the powers of hell, yet He’s doing it in part through the hands, feet, voices, and minds of fallible men like you and me. That He endows us as priests with the sacred commission to evaluate between what is good and bad, profitable and wasteful, noble and vain, and that sacred commission leads us to new crossroads every day.
Think of Church history. After Judas’ betrayal, the eleven remaining disciples cast lots to choose Mathias as a replacement. After Pentecost reached the Gentiles, the apostles convened at Jerusalem to evaluate how best to integrate their new brothers. After Constantine called bishops to Nicaea to formulate a unifying Creed, churches in the East and West divided over differences. After reformers rose up to speak out against the idolatrous practices of their day, new denominations needed forming in the void. And on and on.
Friend, the decisions you’ll make in your little life of faith today might seem inconsequential, but they’re history-altering. So choose wisely.