Sunday, November 7, 2010

Finishing Leviticus: Some Final Thoughts

I finished Leviticus today and rather than clutter up the blog with multiple posts and stress out myself with the time-consuming task of writing them, I want to mention a few things that stood out to me.

Moses wrote the book of Leviticus as a book of laws.  It describes the way to live, the way to worship, the way to treat other people.  And I like that.  These were passionate people, but justice rarely results from emotional reactions.

Some of God's instructions are difficult to understand.

Think about the "unclean" laws.  If someone has a rash, if someone has a discharge, if someone has a sore that doesn't heal . . . We know about bacteria and infectious diseases today, but they didn't understand those things then.  Even though the people didn't understand why, God set up these laws to protect them.

Sometimes God asks us to things we don't understand, and like the people of Israel, we have to obey by faith, trusting that God knows more and understands more thank we do.

God makes it very clear that the people must not eat or drink blood because "the life of every creature is in its blood" (17:17).  God does two things here.  First, we know that some diseases are spread through blood, and he protects them from those diseases.  Second, he begins to show them the plan of salvation, first through burnt offerings and then by Christ's death on the cross.   Without shedding of blood, giving up life, there is no forgiveness of sins.

Over and over, God says, "Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy"  (19:1).  Life according to God's laws, for his purposes.

I think we forget to do that sometimes.  I do.  Sometimes my purposes seem more urgent thank God's purposes.

I'm not saying that we need to follow all the laws in the Old Testament in over to be holy.

Christ's death on the cross eliminated the need for multiple animal sacrifices, and so parts of this book don't apply to us anymore.  We understand bacterial infections, and we don't need to quarantine every disease, and so we don't follow those rules anymore either.  We live by grace, and the New Testament tells us all foods are clean, so we don't live by those rules.

Peter tells us that instead of following the evil desires we had when we lived in ignorance, we should "be holy in all" we do.  Living separated for God's purposes, serving him in all we do.  Because God is holy.  (1 Peter 1:13-16)

Being holy is far more than following a long list of rules.  We tend to understand imperfectly, and part of living holy lives, separated for his purposes, is to prayerfully seek God and his purposes.  We seek God through his Word, through prayer, through humility.

Everything we are, everything we have, everything we do belongs to God.

No comments: