Even some pastors I know have said if they have trouble falling asleep they break out Leviticus.
I’ll admit left to itself, without any understanding of context, it can lack capturing our attention. Hollywood has so destroyed our ability to read literature any more.
Here is what must be known to read Leviticus:
*God is holy.
*God expects his people to be holy.
*God desire to live among his people but has high standards that must be maintained.
*God is serious about holiness.
Look at the word cloud above for the book of Leviticus. What word and whose name appears more than any other in the book? The Lord. He is the most important thing in the whole book. Not us and not our ideas.
Because God does have a pretty good idea about what it looks like to live with people in harmony. That lack of harmony is sin. Sin has consequences. The cost of those consequences is high and time consuming. Look at all they had to do to fix the error of their ways.
We have Jesus now. Our sins are forgiven at the mere awareness of our sin by the Holy Spirit and confession of that sin to Father. However, we still may have to deal with the consequences of our sin. Many times our decisions and sins get us in a real pickle. It destroys a whole bunch of stuff. That is why the saying, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, cost you more than you are willing to pay, and keep you longer than you are willing to stay” reverberates in my memory. Sin is ugly. Sin stinks. Sin is messy. God hates sin and so should we.
Leviticus contains information given to the Israelites while they were camped in the wilderness by Mount Sinai: instructions regarding management of sacred space (the tabernacle), sacred status (God’s people), and sacred time (in the festivals). These were considered important for maintaining holiness for God’s presence, which was at the center of their lives. Sacred times must be identified, maintained by the priests, and observed. Sacred space must be guarded and its holiness preserved. The status of priests and people must be regulated by specific guidelines so they don’t desecrate God’s presence. God is holy, and Israel is expected to be holy so his presence can remain in their midst.
Walton, Strauss, Cooper. The Essential Bible Companion. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.
Psalm 25:22 “Redeem Israel, O God, Out of all their troubles!”
Abigail Adams, the wife of one American President and the mother of another, knew the omnipotent power of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:
“The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; but the God of Israel is He that giveth strength and power unto His people. Trust in Him at all times, ye people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us.”
Jehovah God, You alone are able to protect Israel from the enemies that constantly surround her on every side, attacking from every angle. Open the eyes of her adversaries, that they might be able to clearly see that Israel is the apple of Your eye, a holy city created by Your divine hand. Lord, we know that Israel resides under the shadow of the Almighty. May our nation come to be the strong earthly support that she needs in her darkest hour. May we not forsake Jerusalem and instead begin the daily ritual of praying for her peace, as Your word commands. Let the world know that there is no God like Jehovah and You have not forgotten Your people. For He who keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. Amen.
(Thank you to John Hagee Ministries for these daily updates.)
Imagine for a moment you are a citizen of Judah during the prophetic span of Isaiah’s ministry. The dates maybe somewhere around 740-700 BC. You saw your brothers in the North fall under siege to the Assyrians and there are strong, very strong warnings that the Babylonians are coming your way to do the same to you in the South. Mingled in Isaiah’s words are those of hope. A surprising mention of a servant. In obviously distinctive and fresh language, a vision and an application of a servant who will do things for the nation never before seen or heard. The ‘servant of God’ strand flowing through Isaiah marks a significant mysterious character whose qualities rival any prophet, priest, or king. Five ‘songs’ are featured in the latter portions of Isaiah.
Who is this servant? If you were hearing Isaiah’s words, you would truly be baffled. Is it Cyrus, Hezekiah, Eliakim, a missionary, Isaiah himself, a reincarnated Moses or Elijah, the nation of Israel, another king, God himself, is it the people of God corporately, are they individual ‘believers’, or is it an individual who is a messianic figure? The options abound for the hearers. He is a mystery man!
The servant is first introduced in Is. 42:1-9 “Here is my servant” the great solution.
Vv. 1-4 God addresses Israel. Justice is used three times in these verses (1, 3, and 4). He is not just for Israel, but for the nations (Gentiles) (1). Notice how gentile he is and full of humility (2, 3).
Vv. 5-7 God (Ha’ El- “He who is indeed the true transcendent God”) addresses the Servant. His purpose is delineated in (6,7) “a light for the Gentiles.” There is a future reference to Is. 61 in v. 7 “to free the captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” Also this verse looks back at Isaiah 7.
Vv. 8-9 God address Israel again.
There is a hint of opposition; his task is not easy, but doable. The character and mission of the Servant: will bring salvation and a new world order. The Spirit and justice dominate this ‘song.’
Posted in B90X
Tagged Assyrians, Babylonians, Cyrus, Elijah, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Israel, Judah, Moses, servant, Servant Song
Archaeologists digging near the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City unearthed a rare find used in the daily work of the ancient Jewish Temple.
The small clay seal is inscribed with two words in Aramaic meaning “pure to God.”
“This is the first time we got [found] something that belongs to God, belongs to something that came from the temple,” Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Eli Shukron said.
Archaeologists say the seal is the first archaeological evidence of the administrative workings of the Second Temple. That temple was built around 500 B.C. after Solomon’s Temple had been destroyed. More here.
Who says there isn’t anything good in the last twelve books of the Old Testament? It is packed full of many verses we see on calendars, daily scripture flip charts, and encouraging verses of the day. Yah sure there is some of the difficult stuff we don’t understand because of culture and when it happened, but who doesn’t like “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” (Nahum 1:7)? That is hopeful material!
Posted in B90X
Tagged Amos, Assyrians, Bethlehem, David, discipline, Holy Spirit, Hosea, Israel, Joel, Jonah, Judah, judgment, Lord, Micah, Nahum, Nineveh, Obadiah, Old Testament, refuge, repentance, Zion