Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Leviticus 9:12-17

Then he slaughtered the burnt offering ; and Aaron's sons handed the blood to him and he sprinkled it around on the altar.
They handed the burnt offering to him in pieces, with the head, and he offered them up in smoke on the altar.
He also washed the entrails and the legs, and offered them up in smoke with the burnt offering on the altar.
Then he presented the people's offering, and took the goat of the sin offering which was for the people, and slaughtered it and offered it for sin, like the first.
He also presented the burnt offering, and offered it according to the ordinance.
Next he presented the grain offering, and filled his hand with some of it and offered it up in smoke on the altar, besides the burnt offering of the morning.

What struck me about this set of chapters and this passage was that most of what was sacrificed to the Lord was completely burnt up, whether it was animal innards, animal flesh, or bread. Even though I know in my head that these sacrifices were for the Lord, they seem wasteful to me! I remember reading sometime this semester reading that some people say our church buildings no longer need to be elaborate and expensive because the Holy Spirit now dwells in believers, rather than in a building (the tabernacle). I can relate to that way of thinking, only my mind is even more practical. It seems wasteful to me to spend a lot of money on elaborate church buildings and decorations when the money could go towards missions or assisting the needy. I know I’ve thought to myself, “Why does our church need to spend money on new decorations every week?” However, from this passage I learned that God does not see sacrifices as wasteful. He is deserving of having my possessions pledged solely to Him for His glory.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Leviticus Selections

Leviticus 4:2.
"Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them...

'Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, and they commit any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and they become guilty...

'When a leader sins and unintentionally does any one of all the things which the LORD his God has commanded not to be done, and he becomes guilty...

'Now if anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and becomes guilty...

'Now if a person sins after he hears a public adjuration to testify when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt.
"If a person acts unfaithfully and sins unintentionally against the LORD'S holy things, then he shall bring his guilt offering to the LORD : a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation in silver by shekels, in terms of the shekel of the sanctuary, for a guilt offering.
"Now if a person sins and does any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, though he was unaware , still he is guilty and shall bear his punishment.

It was difficult to select a passage of verses from this section, so I chose a selection instead. The common denominator in these verses is “now if a person sins” [insert appropriate situation here]. The scenarios cover unintentionally breaking a law, the entire congregation breaking a law, a leader breaking a law, offense against the holy thing, etc. What stood out to me as I read these chapters was that even as He gave the law, God knew that the Israelites would break it. He knew that even though He gave them the law to point the way to a good life, they would break His rules (just as He knew that I would sin against Him). And yet, God did not throw up His hands in disgust, as I would do, and give up. He still condescended to give the law to the Israelites. How patient, merciful, and kind He is!
What’s more, God knew the Israelites would sin and break His laws, so He made provision for them. Through sacrifice, He made a way for the people to atone for their sins and renew their relationship with Him. He knew that they would have to use the sacrificial system every day (they would sin every day), and yet He did not forsake them. This speaks to me of God’s love and grace. His love for mankind, for Israel, for people is far greater than I can comprehend! His lovingkindness is beyond my imagination! What a great God we have, that He would know in advance our stubbornness and waywardness; and still choose to hold on to us and shower us with His love.