Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Huh? Leviticus? Really?


Leviticus 1:1-2
The LORD called to Moses from the Tabernacle and said to him...."Give the following instructions to the Israelites...."
I do love me some Leviticus.
"What?"
"Are you crazy....Leviticus is the dullest of the dull. Why I'd just as soon watch paint dry as to read this book!"
I use to think that until I began to see what was going on, and how it applied to my every-day-walking-around-eating-sleeping-life.
Lets take a look at how we got to the book of Leviticus.

God has delivered and removed Israel from the land of Egypt.
This was the land where they lived 400+ years.
I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I do believe if a group of people live in the same spot....the same country for an extended period of time, they would tend to take on the customs and habits of the society. You would have a tendency to lose your cultural identity to some degree.
Bingo! That is exactly what happened to Israel. They (As the Bangles so aptly put it) walked like an Egyptian, talked like an Egyptian, acted like an Egyptian. Now I don't want to stretch this to a view that isn't realistic. There were people within the Hebrew community who still tried to follow God.

Anywho, the people began to cry out to God to come and deliver them. God heard. God acted.
God delivered them with power and took them away from the influence of the Egyptian culture.
But as the old saying goes...you can take the boy out of Egypt but you can't take Egypt out of the boy. Well, in this case, you can.
You see God instituted rules for living.
Rules of righteous and right living because he knew it was going to take time for the people to adapt to a new way of seeing life.
That is why Leviticus and Number as well as the book of Deuteronomy is so exciting to me. Here we have the standards for life in this new community of people. 

So how does this all apply to me?
First off...I have not been called to live by the dietary or religious rules found in these books. It is helpful, however, for me to understand the extent that God does want to invade my life and change for his kingdom and his plans. I am not free to run willy-nilly through my day with an occasional passing thought on God and his purposes. He is center and at the front of every thing I say and do. I want to please him. I want to grow in him. I want to learn to "hear" him better and then follow the dictates of his will. I can't do this if I am steeped in the culture of today. I have to live in this culture, but I don't have to be a part of it. I don't have to sell myself to it and embrace its beliefs. 

The Life Recovery Bible states the purpose of the book of Leviticus:
To show that God desires to have personal fellowship with those who turn to him. Only through the channels of worship and personal obedience to God can we fully experience the cleansing and freedom he offers to those who believe.

The book of Leviticus shows us a God who is beyond our imagination. A God who is holy, pure, clean, sinless and perfect. As you read the book you'll come across countless rules and regulations given to the Israelites. These only confirm to us the truth of God's nature and character. The people needed to humbly obey God if they wanted to live in close fellowship with him. But despite his holiness, God reached (and still does so) out to a broken and sinful people. He provides a way---(though the path is difficult)  for all to recover from their past failures.

The laws and sacrifices we read about in Leviticus point to or can be viewed as a type and shadow of God's later provision of the perfect sacrifice...........Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus' death and resurrection, we no longer need animal sacrifices to atone for our sins. Instead, it is through believing in God's loving forgiveness and in Christ's power over sin and death that we are saved.

Is that cool or what?
God on you....
mb

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