Monday, February 18, 2013

The Chronological Bible- Week 7

As we continue in our Chronological reading this week, we enter into some portions of the Bible that may be described as heavy sledding. The sacrificial and covenant language, along with the myriad amount of laws and commands, makes Leviticus one of the most difficult books for the modern reader to appreciate. I joked this weekend that more one-year Bible reading plans have died in the desert than anywhere else!

I encourage you, though, to read carefully and to persevere. While some of these texts may feel a bit dry, hidden within them are some great nuggets of truth. Additionally, a basic understanding of the Old Testament law will make other parts of Scripture come to life. The rebukes of God through the prophets make much more sense when we understand the backdrop of a neglected sacrificial system. The significance of Christ's statements and activities take on more depth when the OT context is known. The book of Hebrews jumps to life when the source material of Leviticus is kept in view. So take heart, read on, and allow God to direct your thoughts.

It may be helpful to see Leviticus in four main parts: The Sacrificial Laws (ch. 1-7), the Priestly Beginnings (ch. 8-10), the Purification Laws (ch. 11-16) and the Holiness Code (ch. 17-27). These four movements of the book all center around one pivotal theme: God is holy. In many ways, Leviticus 11:45 serves as the theme verse of everything else, "For I the Lord am the One who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy." It would be an understatement to say that holiness is a big deal to God!

As we come to grips with the extreme requirements of God's holy standard, we can begin to appreciate the significance of Christ's sacrifice for us. Jesus has imparted to us his perfect holiness, so that we can stand before the Almighty God without spot, blemish or defect. God's holiness standards have not changed one bit since the book of Leviticus. The method of becoming holy, however, has changed completely. How awesome is that? I am so glad today to be clinging to Christ, and not headed out to sacrifice some animals so I can be made clean.

May you also cling to Christ as you read Leviticus. Peace-
Nick

4 comments:

Josh said...

Anybody else picture Aaron and his family waking up in the morning and having this conversation:

"Lets see what on the docket today. Looks like we're having bull, goat, and unleavened bread for dinner tonight." "Who's bringing the sacrifices today?""Mr. Smith is bringing the bull (you should hear what he did!), Mrs. Kovalchek is bringing the goat, and - oh!- Mrs. McGreavey is bringing the bread.""Oh good, her bread is always the best!"

Maybe that's just the conversation I would have. :)

Don Jen said...

I know this portion of Scripture can be tedious, but I get a lot out of it. Admittedly I skim over parts of it, but the repetition, the formality, the orderliness, and the purpose guiding these practices reveal much of God's character and also testifies to how we should shape our own character. Confessing our guilt (even if it was unintentional), bringing offerings, treating one another fairly, cleanliness, celebrating, etc are things we should strive to incorporate into our lives because these are things that we see are important to the Lord.

On a separate note, as a visual learner I really need to do a Google images search for what the tabernacle, ark of the covenant, the ephod and breastplate all look like. I would find that very interesting!

Pastor Nick said...

Good comments, you guys! Josh- thanks for the humor. I do wonder if the priests tired of the same meals being brought over and over. I would think grain and olive oil got a little old after the first year! Jen- if you find some good visuals, pass on some links! I'm sure you're not alone in needing some visuals of all these descriptions.

Don Jen said...

mishkanministries.org is a "traveling Biblical museum" and has some recreations - haven't been through the whole site yet, but it looks promising