Monthly Archives: October 2012

Leviticus 11: How Can We Be Holy?

In Leviticus chapter 11, we finally get to the definitive list of dietary restrictions that God placed on the Israelites. Obviously, I’m not going to go into detail for all of them, but let’s take a passage from the end of the chapter to talk about a little bit more.

Lev 11:44  For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Lev 11:45  For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

Verse 44 does talk about not eating anything that creeps on the earth, but that is not really the main point of these verses in my opinion. God is calling the Israelites to be holy because He is holy.

Perfection is of course an impossible standard for us to achieve because we are already imperfect people, but it is interesting that we are called to be holy here. What is the difference?

I think that the most relevant definition from The Free Dictionary explains that holy is “specified or set apart for a religious purpose.” That is how we are supposed to act in our lives. We are supposed to be set apart for the purposes of God rather than set aside for our own purposes.

In a way, this is exactly what Jesus was called to do while He was on earth. He always did the will of His Father because He was set aside for a specific purpose. He could have bailed out at any time, and Satan gave Him plenty of opportunities in the wilderness.

Just like Jesus, we need to do what we set aside to do. The Bible is essentially our handbook that helps us determine what we should do, and we need to use it for the glory of God.

Leviticus 10: Sin Can Have Huge Consequences

Leviticus chapter 10 discusses what seems to be a very challenging time for the Israelites.

Lev 10:1  And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.

Lev 10:2  And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

Lev 10:3  Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.

Two of Aaron’s sons used the wrong type of fire in the censer. God had commanded them not to do that, and they ended up dying because of it.

Although it might seem a little bit cold coming from me, I keep coming back to a New Testament verse when I think about this passage.

Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Wages are earned when services are performed. When sin is performed, in order to satisfy that sin, death is what is required. Jesus paid that debt for us when He died on the cross almost 2000 years ago.

Of course, we do not all physically die when we sin. If that was the case, there’d be no one left alive on earth right now. Jesus would have been the only human being to make it through life.

However, our sin is a type of spiritual death. It separates us from the life of God. In a physical sense, when we are separated from life, we are dead.

It is hard to tell exactly what made the sin of the sons of Aaron so bad that they needed to be killed, but this passage did make me think about how bad sin really can be. Because of all of our sin, we do not deserve the eternal life of God, but Jesus died in our place so that we might live eternally with Him. Forgiveness is a major gift to say the least. I know that I departed from Leviticus a little bit, but I hope that these two passages made some amount of sense when they were put together.

Leviticus 9: Be Available for God’s Use

Leviticus chapter 9 is interesting because we can see the power of God in action.

Lev 9:23  And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.

Lev 9:24  And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

When Moses and Aaron did what God commanded, they were able to witness His true power. I think that a lot of that is applicable to us as well.

When we do what God wants us to do, His power is really able to shine through. It is kind of what happened to Jonah. When Jonah finally got to Nineveh (albeit not very willingly) and started preaching like God had told him to do in the beginning, many people repented of their sins. While Jonah may have been a great preacher, the power to make that type of change in the hearts of many different people must have come from God.

While I do not believe in salvation by works, I will say that works are very important in our testimony. If we are Christians, we definitely should act like it so that we are good witnesses for other people who want to know more about God. This verse explains our purpose very well.

Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We are created by God, and we should act like we are. When we do that, God will use it to help advance His kingdom. Not only that, but as we do what God wants us to do, we will draw closer to Him which will help us build a stronger relationship.

Leviticus 8: Follow God in Everything

I know this has become a rather common theme on my blog, but Leviticus chapter 8 gives us another image of the power of obedience.

Lev 8:36  So Aaron and his sons did all things which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.

This is a rather simple verse, and it might not seem overly significant, but I think that we can again understand how we are supposed to do what God says.

What I like about this verse is the fact that Aaron and his sons did everything that God commanded. Notice that it does not say that they did what they wanted to. They did absolutely everything.

I think that it is really easy for all of us fall into the trap of convenient Christianity. What I mean by that is that we will do what we are supposed when we want to. For example, we don’t mind going to church and participating, but the minute we are supposed to tithe, our obedience stopped right there. That is just one example though, that I think you get the point.

Developing a relationship with someone, in this case with God, takes time. If we are going to follow God, we need to follow wholeheartedly. I’m not saying that we are not going to mess up, because that would not only be unrealistic but downright wrong, but I am saying that we need to put in the effort.

David is a great example of that. He definitely had some flaws in his character to say the least, but he received some of the biggest compliments in the Bible.

Act 13:22  And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

David was a man after God’s own heart, and the evidence is that came from the fact that he would follow the will of God.

Aaron and his sons also had struggles, and they were by no means perfect either, but in Leviticus 8, we can clearly see them following the will of God by performing all of the sacrifices correctly. We need to have this type of diligence as we follow God every day.

Leviticus 7: The Sacrifice of Praise

Everything we have been talking about so far has been a sacrifice to account for some sin. However, we have just come across a different type of sacrifice in Leviticus 7.

Lev 7:11  And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the LORD.

Lev 7:12  If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried.

There is a legitimate sacrifice of thanksgiving. If people wanted to give thanks to God for all the things that He had done, they had a more formal opportunity to do that.

This is obviously very important than. Praise needs to be an important part of our lives as well.

Psa 34:1  A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed. I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Psa 84:4  Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.

Both of these verses are pretty self-explanatory. David said that he was praising God at all times. As we know, David was also labeled as a man after God’s own heart. While he definitely struggled at times and was still a human, this is one feature of his character that we should try to emulate.

In Psalm 84, we find out that because people live in the house of God or are followers of Him, they will be praising. It seems as if praise should be a consequence of our relationship with God.

So, I think that the application here is rather direct. Praise is a very important part of our Christian life because of all the things we have that we don’t deserve. God is good to us, and we need to thank Him.

Leviticus 6: Finders Keepers

Leviticus chapter 6 starts with the problem of lying and how to atone for it.

Lev 6:2  If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour;

Lev 6:3  Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein:

Notice that in verse three, we have been basically told that the idea of finders keepers is entirely false. If somebody loses something that you find and they ask about it, you’re supposed to give it back to them. You can’t simply say that it is yours and move on.

Of course, if you find something that doesn’t belong to anybody or nobody ever asks or nobody knows who the owner is, then it seems like you are allowed to keep it, but the main problem here is the lying about it.

All that being said, this is pretty normal process in the world. Finders keepers is generally accepted in our culture. Even if people find something that belongs to other people, many people argue that it just belongs to us now because we found it.

While this isn’t necessarily a huge example, I think that it shows the conflict between culture and Christianity. Sometimes, what is generally accepted in society will go in direct conflict with what we believe as Christians, and we need to quite honestly accept that.

Joh 15:18  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

Joh 15:19  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

I think that these verses obviously indicate that there will be some type of conflict between the world and Christianity.

However, right before those two verses, there’s one more thing that we need to remember about these conflicts.

Joh 15:17  These things I command you, that ye love one another.

It is important to remember that even if there are conflicts, we need to reach out and love people all the same.

Leviticus 5: Confession Leads to Forgiveness

In Leviticus chapter 5, we have found another set of sacrifices for another set of sins. However, in my opinion, the most interesting part of this chapter lies in between the sin and sacrifice.

Lev 5:5  And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing:

Confessing that we have messed up is the first step to asking for forgiveness from God. Even though we don’t literally need to sacrifice animals like they did in the Old Testament, we need to confess our sins to God and He will be faithful to forgive us.

1Jn 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psa 32:5  I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

In both of these instances, it is obvious that confession comes before forgiveness. While confession may obviously be intimidating because nobody likes to admit they did something wrong, God will always take us back like prodigal children.

We shouldn’t have wandered at the beginning, but isn’t it nice to know that we can be forgiven when we mess up? It would be inaccurate to take this as a free pass to do whatever we want, but we know that we can be forgiven from all of our sins.

Here is an excellent verse that speaks to the power of the forgiveness of God.

Mic 7:18  Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

Mic 7:19  He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

God will forgive us, and He will throw all of our sins into the depths of the sea. They will not be with us anymore, and God will have mercy on us.

So, starting from this idea of forgiveness that we find in Leviticus, we can follow the entire path to forgiveness which we don’t deserve, but because God is merciful, we can be forgiven.

Leviticus 4: We Still Slip into Sin

Leviticus chapter 4 gives us a scenario that probably doesn’t sound too unfamiliar. Basically, the premise of the problem is that someone has committed a sin that they didn’t realize was a sin at the time.

Lev 4:27  And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty;

Lev 4:28  Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned.

There are separate categories for priests and rulers who need to provide a larger sacrifice, but the point is still the same. We are talking about people who sin through ignorance.

Another way to think about this is sinning by mistake. We all have moments where we slip and do something wrong. While we might not worship idols, we are definitely capable of putting other things ahead of God at times. Sometimes we worry more about our money or our time rather than putting God first on our priority list.

It is not that we are always committing this sin, but we sometimes fall into it without even thinking.

This passage then is somewhat comforting in the fact that there can be the forgiveness of sin. We shouldn’t sin, and in Old Testament times, there needed to be a sacrifice to balance the books so to speak. In New Testament times, Jesus paid for all of our sins, so we can have forgiveness without all of the sacrifices mentioned here.

Nevertheless, I think that the concept applies here as well. We still do things that we don’t make a habit of. We sometimes mess up, and we definitely still have that annoying sin nature. Sin still requires forgiveness, and that forgiveness is here. We need to be grateful that we have forgiveness. It is truly a privilege.

1Jn 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Leviticus 3: Give unto God What Is God’s

It is interesting that I’m going to highlight verse 16 (and 17) from the third chapter of Leviticus. Another interesting verse has a similar reference…

Anyway, here are the verses for you.

Lev 3:16  And the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savour: all the fat is the LORD’S.

Lev 3:17  It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.

While we could focus on the fact that this is the first dietary restriction that is mentioned in the book of Leviticus, but I want to take a little bit of a different route.

More specifically, these verses show that there is something significant to separating what belongs to God. This makes me think about a New Testament passage referencing giving to God what is truly His.

Mat 22:17  Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

Mat 22:18  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

Mat 22:19  Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

Mat 22:20  And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

Mat 22:21  They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Think about the implications of this passage. If something belongs to God, you absolutely must give that only to God. In Leviticus, what needed to be sacrificed to God was not allowed to be eaten by people.

There are certain things that are only for God, and one that immediately comes to my mind is worship. We are not supposed to worship people because that is only meant for God. He is the only one who deserves our praise.

Even though these verses do not necessarily specify worship, that is where my mind went with this. It is one very important thing that we should only give to God just like certain parts of the animal were only to be sacrificed and not consumed by people.

Leviticus 2: God is Special

I think that we are going to run into a lot of parallel passages as we go through Leviticus. Today in Chapter 2, something particularly caught my eye as we are still talking about the meat offering.

Lev 2:13  And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.

This might bring another passage to mind about salt.

Mat 5:13  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Again, the purpose of salt is to add flavor, and the New Testament passage I mentioned is basically saying that Christians need to act like Christians and not lose their flavor so to speak. What makes Christians different every act like everyone else?

Similarly, in order to be a proper meat offering, there needed to be salt. I don’t think that God necessarily cared about the physical flavor of the sacrifice, but perhaps it is the same idea as the New Testament.

The offering needed to be somewhat different and special. Adding salt to the meat and preparing it the right way took a little more time and care. This type of attention is what we need to give to God.

That is obviously the application when you look at the passage in this way. In both of these passages, salt is mentioned to make something different than something else. This can extend to anything we do for God as our sacrifice since we are supposed to be living sacrifices.

It is important to do everything in the right mindset. God is incredibly special, and we need to remember that. He should be our number one priority.