Sermon Summary

Leviticus 17: Marriage Vow

Scripture: Leviticus 27:1-2, 26-30

Who is God to you? Is He the One that you love so much, so intimate and close? Or is He the God who is there to cater to your needs?

In the closing chapter of Leviticus, God speaks about two things: (1) making a vow and (2) tithing. The purpose of giving Leviticus to the people of Israel was to restore their dwelling in the house of God together with Him. Now God is telling His people, “We are now family.” Just as husband and wife are bound in the marriage covenant through marriage vows, God is confirming Israel’s commitment and dedication to live with Him. This promise is called a vow, and tithe is the aspect of becoming one, sharing time, resources, and love together. Vows and tithes are confessions of our faith to God.

1. What is a Vow?

Leviticus chapter 27, today’s passage, refers to a vow as consecrating something—myself, my property, my offering, my animal—holy to the Lord. What is given in a vow becomes holy; what is given to God becomes holy. That’s a vow. It speaks of four different cases of vowing:

(1) Vowing oneself, my life, my family.
(2) Vowing to give an animal as an offering.
(3) Vowing to give a house as an offering.
(4) Vowing a part of the fields of one’s property.

A vow is what I voluntarily promise to dedicate and give to God in response to the grace and blessings that He has given to us. So it’s not forced. The Bible says anything that is given to God is consecrated and holy. But what I have vowed, I must keep my promise. God holds us accountable to it (Deut 23:21-23).

Leviticus 27 says the cows and animals have value. When you cannot give the animal itself as an offering due to blemish, you then give the equivalent value of the animal to the Lord, adding one-fifth more.

So let’s apply that to us. We were dedicated to the Lord, but something went wrong; corruption took place. We became blemished. Somebody needed to pay for that value. Paying that value is called redemption. God says the value is the life of His Son. That’s what He paid to redeem us.

We know the story in Acts chapter 5, about Ananias and Sapphira changing their minds after making a vow to God. God struck them to death because they ended up lying to Him. This story shows us the weight and importance of making vows. One very important vow we make with God is during baptism. When we are baptized into Christ, we are dedicating and confessing that our new life belongs to Him.

What is dedication here? How do we dedicate to God? Micah 6:6-8 says dedicating is to do justice; that is, to follow the Word of God, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God. That’s the great offering that He’s expecting of us.

2. What is a Tithe?

(Lev 27:26-34) God wants the firstborns, firstfruits, and the tithes.

Leviticus focuses on how to live as true people of God. God created the whole universe, and we are the receivers of His blessings and life. Just realizing that will start to make a change.

In the Old Testament, people of God had signs on one part of their bodies, called circumcision, to designate that their whole body and life belong to God. Tithe has the same meaning. It’s only one part out of ten that we give to God, but it represents the whole. Tithing is an acknowledgment that everything I have belongs to God. When I give that one part, God says the rest is also sanctified.

The first tithes in the Bible were given by Abraham and Jacob. A common thing about them is that they were given before the Law was established. So it was not forced. It was a natural and joyful response when they encountered God, received answers to their prayers, and truly believed that God was working powerfully in their lives. Tithe was a confession that they believed and knew God was present in their lives every moment.

In Isaiah 43:1, God says, “I have redeemed you; I have paid the price you are valued for. So He says, you are mine.” The overarching theme of Leviticus is God’s message to His people saying: “You are Mine, and I am yours.” May we be able to hear that in our lives. No matter what we are going through, just like Jacob, we may be aimlessly running away from something. But God says even there, “I am with you; wherever you go, I will be there with you.”

Jesus says in Luke 11:42 that He doesn’t want just physical offerings or lip service. He wants our hearts and love to move even our bodies in dedicating and giving to Him. We are not talking about dollar signs but about our lives. May our lives be consecrated by expressing our love to Him genuinely. May everything about us be consecrated and blessed.


Let’s ask ourselves:

– How close am I to God today?
– How close do I want to be with Him?
– What kind of relationship do I have with Him? What kind of relationship do I want with Him?


Pastor Samuel Kim

Summarized by Sandra Yong