In the final chapters of the book of Leviticus, the material value of servants, animals, houses and lands was estimated in the context of redemption. Calculating the value of material possessions as we call it is not unusual, however, estimating the value of a human being is (Leviticus 27:2-7):
“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate a person to the Lord by giving the equivalent value, set the value of a male between the ages of twenty and sixty at fifty shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel; for a female, set her value at thirty shekels; for a person between the ages of five and twenty, set the value of a male at twenty shekels and of a female at ten shekels for a person between one month and five years, set the value of a male at five shekels of silver and that of a female at three shekels of silver; for a person sixty years old or more, set the value of a male at fifteen shekels and of a female at ten shekels.’”
Above quoted values of people in different age groups were driven by their profitability in the slave market, which meant the only thing that mattered was a person’s strength without taking into account the inherent worth of a human being.
Obviously, there are a couple of ways to look at value: material value and inherent value. It seems, the further away we drift from God the more we get stuck in the confines of material value. We live God-less, and our life soon becomes worthless. On the other side of the spectrum, knowing God will draw our focus to our inherent value. God confirms (Leviticus 26:12-13):
“I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.
Isn’t it interesting that attachment to God brings freedom while estrangement from God reduces us to slavery? A mere materialistic point of view is disrespectful of all living beings. We look for elephants because of their ivory; we hunt down beavers for their fur; and we sell people because of what they bring to the table in terms of profitability. This worldview really downgrades all of God’s creation spelling it out in no uncertain terms: it’s a curse to live our lives apart from God.
Thankfully, we can choose to live a blessed life. Attached to God, we’re led to appreciate our inherent value. Handcrafted by God and precious in His eyes, we are more than just meets the eye. Walking with Him, we will become more and more aware of this wonderful truth.