Sunday, January 30, 2011

leviticus 7-9

Leviticus is a difficult book.  don't give up!!  The reward for completing this Bible reading discipline will be greater than you can imagine.  Hang in there.

Today's readings are about God's command to the ancient Israelites regarding sacrifice in the Temple/Tabernacle.  These forms of sacrifice are no longer practiced, but they do remind is that we serve a Holy, Righteous and Jealous God and that we are abundant in our sinful ways.

Among the levitical sacrifices demanded were sacrifices for guilt offerings, fellowship offerings, burnt offerings, ordination offerings, sin offerings (did I leave any out?).

Some are turned off by the bloody nature of some of the sacrifices.  Remember that the covenant agreement between God and Israel began with Abraham and the sacrifice of the heifer, goat, ram, pigeon and dove (Genesis 15).  In the sacrifice of animals, God reserved the blood (representing life) and fat (representing abundance) for himself.  Other parts were allotted to Aaron and the priestly line.  Remember too that this goes back to the division of the promised land when the tribe of Levi received no promise of land, but were to care for the Tabernacle and would be provided for by God.  A share of the offerings to God was God's way of accomplishing this.

The appearance of the Urim and Thummin will occur other times as we read the Old Testament.   We are not exactly sure what these were, but they were used from time to time to determine God's will and to determine guilt or innocence.  We will see them in a few chapters as the High Priest determines which of two goats will be sacrificed and which will be released.

I particularly like Chapter 9 as God appears to the people after all has been done according to his will in preparing the tabernacle, ordination and dressing of the Priests.  I do look forward every Sunday to God's appearance with us as we worship faithfully at Faith.  I do believe that God is palpably present with us and that he is moving, in the power of the Holy Spirit, upon the assembled hearts, when we are worshiping in Spirit and Truth.

The lesson of Nadab and Abihu in chapter 10 is that we are not to take worship or God's commands and ordinances lightly.  To mock God is to walk on extraordinarily thin ice and to invite his wrath upon us.  We should worship God in a right spirit with a contrite heart and while we do not offer blood sacrifices, we should come in an attitude of gratitude for the work that Jesus did for us that frees us from the Levitical sacrificial system and sets us free to worship freely.

Unrelated to our Bible reading, we are told that another heavy winter storm is moving into Kansas City.  Several of you have contacted us and advised us to delay our return.  We are heeding your advice since our friends here in Palm Desert have been kind enough to offer us their hospitality for a few more days.  We currently expect to be home late Wednesday night and back in the office Thursday.  Thanks to all of you who worshipped and welcomed my daughter, Angela, to the pulpit today.  She felt blessed by your presence and your kindness.  God Bless You All!!!

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