Even after new birth, as a priest a believer must not have “any thing superfluous”, Lev. 21. 18. Well might we understand the disciples’ cry, “Who then can be saved?”, Matt. 19. 25, as we ask the question, “Who then can act as a priest?”. The reply to both questions is the same, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible”, v. 26. It is the Lord who will accomplish this, for the new song of the redeemed in glory is this, “thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood… and hast made us unto our God kings and priests”, Rev. 5. 9-10. We cannot be perfect in ourselves, but “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”, Phil. 1. 6. Press onward in your priestly order, and get rid of the blemishes in His strength. How often do we look at fellow-believers and fail fully to understand the strictness of their pathway, describing them as “narrow”. Might it not be that they have seen something of the truth and requirement that a priest must have “nothing superfluous”. It is a straight path and a narrow way; but let us remember where the broad way leads.
“Brokenfooted, or brokenhanded”: these are further restrictions in Leviticus 21. 19. Is the first the same as being lame?; not necessarily so. A man may have a broke foot and yet still be able to walk so that his infirmity is not apparent. Similarly a man with a broken hand may be able to overcome his disability to the extent that he can use that member in an almost normal fashion. What are the lessons? Men, both believers and unbelievers, look upon the priest and should see a perfect, upright walk and conduct. The priest himself should know that walk and conduct must be made with whole hands and feet. In other words, the priest must not be a hypocrite and put on an act when in reality there is a blemish known to him but hidden from others. Brethren, we cannot take the work of priesthood lightly, yet if we take it seriously how can we fulfil our duties, for we are so inadequate? Take heart, and remember that, we have “a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin…”, Heb. 4. 14-16.
The “dwarf’ in Leviticus 21. 20 needs little comment, in that he has not grown or developed in a normal manner. So also the priest who has a blemish in his eye; although he may not be blind yet his vision may be impaired, or at least it may look as though his vision is impaired.
How about the man who has “scurvy” or is “scabbed”? Most skin diseases like scurvy come from a deficient diet or a wrongly balanced diet. There is only one food given to the priest, “He shall eat the bread of his God”, Lev. 21. 22. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven”, John 6. 51. Make sure that your spiritual food is not covered with the “sauces and spices” of man’s additions, and that it is not eaten with the “onions and cucumbers” etc. of Egypt, otherwise your skin will show defects and your priestly service be damaged.
Finally, the priest who “had his stones broken”, Lev. 21. 20. We must comment on this as in the Scriptures, for the priest must be a fruitful man. There must be nothing to impair his having children, and as spiritual priests there must be nothing in our lives which will prevent us from having spiritual children. How often do we find ourselves in a position where we cannot effectively plant the seed of the word because what we are doing at the moment is inconsistent with the Lord’s will, and thereby we become impotent.
It is sometimes necessary in this present promiscuous age to give a word of warning about sexual behaviour. This appears to count for a lot in God’s sight. Much is said about the priest, as to his wife, and how his children should conduct themselves. Sexual behaviour is important in the sight of God; remember that Noah found favour in the sight of God because, “he was a just man and perfect in his generations”. Noah lived in a promiscuous age when men, and also the sons of God “took them wives of all which they chose”, Gen. 6. 2, Noah conducted himself, with regard to his sex life, in a way pleasing to God.
There was nothing that was excessive or promiscuous. In these days when sex seems to be regarded by many as the great game and objective of life, remember Noah, for as it was in his day so shall it be in the day of the coming of the Son of man. As a priest, make sure that when the day of the judgment seat of Christ dawns, as it surely will, it may be written of us, “He was righteous in his generations”.