Tag Archives: Leviticus

B90X2016D9 Rough sledding- Leviticus

Difficult reading today for sure.  I can see why it is hard to get through this book. This in no way keeps me from giving up, oh on the contrary, I dive in deeper.  It is not time to quit. It is time to be disciples and forge ahead.  To challenge ourselves to daily living in the presence of the Lord.

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So what does reading about skin diseases, bodily emissions, sex with relatives, mildew, various punishments, priestly rules, feasts and festivals, tell me about the presence of the Lord?  Both the presence of the Lord for them then and the presence of the Lord for me now?

Initially, it speaks of the Lord’s desire for our best.  We are the creation, he is the creator.  Typically the creator knows best.  The creator has the plan, the schematic, the ingredients, and the wisdom to know how the creation ought to work best.  All we have is what is written for us in the scriptures about Father’s love for us and His desire for us to live the best lives possible.  There was an old TV show called, “Father Knows Best.”  Anyone remember it? When in doubt, fall back on that saying.  One place says, “His ways are higher than our ways, his thoughts above ours.” Now this doesn’t exempt us from further study.  For me it is an invitation to understand Him deeper and more intimately.

Secondly, we have a lifetime on this planet of seventy or so years, give or take a few here and there.  It is the Lord’s desire that we live it healthily, well, fully blessed, and prosperous.  I would say that if some or many of the things listed as ‘don’ts’ are done, ones life would be pretty jacked up.  Regardless of what you think of the law, it was designed and spoken for the best of folks’ lives, not their suffering or torture.  The Lord gave the Law so folks could live well.

And lastly, even though we are on this side of the cross, there are some things listed and present in Leviticus that when ongoingly adhered to bring a blessing and grace on one’s life.  That is an continual presence of the Lord in our life.  A daily recognition of His wisdom and design for the best life today even though we don’t have Levitical priests helping us with sacrifices and skin inspections.

Father does know best.

B90X- Alter fire in Leviticus

I can remember the last thing the best man said at my wedding to Christie and I in his toast.  His name was Jeff.  He was a pretty lanky and thin fellow, as we all were back then.  And in typical Wildwood fashion, why do something once when you can do it twice as aggressive and with gusto, he raise not one, but two glasses of champagne.  Then said, “Keep the faith.”

That was approaching 32 years ago.  Little did I know how poignant his concluding words would be.

Faith must be kindled, stoked, maintained, perpetuated, supported, watered, fertilized, sustained, conserved, preserved, protected, upheld, and prolonged.

And most of all it must be kept.  It cannot be ignored, neglected, disregarded, abandoned, shirked, deserted, disclaimed, disowned, or disavowed.

I love reading the Bible.  I love reading the Bible in 90 days.  I love how the discipline of reading cover to cover forces me to read through material I normally would not.  I love how some ideas, words, or scenes of what may be happening in the text, come to life.

Last night I was reading through Leviticus.  First, I want to say that folks who disparage Leviticus and call it a sleeping aid, should stop that.  It is one of God’s words and needs to be treated thoughtfully and with care.

Three verses or ideas popped out at me:

brazen alter fireLeviticus 6:9 “Give Aaron and his sons this command: ‘These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar.”

Leviticus 6:12 “The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it.”

Leviticus 6:13 “The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.”

If I understand this correctly, for nearly 40 years or more, the fire of the brazen alter was never extinguished or went out naturally.  Wow.  That required vigilance.  That required much help and attention.

Where did all that wood come from in the desert?  Did that mean someone had to carry ashes on their head from one camp location to another?  Who was responsible to find, fell, chop, split, haul, and maintain a wood pile for the alter?  What kind of wood was it typically? Did it burn hot and clean like scrub oak or messy like pine?  I digress.

The point Father was trying to make to me last night was that this fire could not be ignored.  It had to be kept and maintained.  Much like out faith, it can’t just go on cruise control, one will eventually run out of gas.

As my friend Jeff said, “Keep the faith.”  And not just with one glass, but with two, both hands raised, with gusto, with emphasis, and forever.

B90X Leviticus Explained

leviticus redrawnOne of the stubbornly enduring habits of the human race is to insist on domesticating God. We are determined to tame him. We figure out ways to harness God to our projects. We try to reduce God to a size that conveniently fits our plans and ambitions and tastes.

But our Scriptures are even more stubborn in telling us that we can’t do it. God cannot be fit into our plans, we must fit into his.  We can’t use God– God is not a tool or appliance or credit card.

“Holy” is the word that sets God apart and above our attempts to enlist him in our wish-fulfillment fantasies or our utopian schemes for making our mark in the world. Holy means that God is alive on God’s terms, alive in a way that exceeds our experience and imagination.  Holy refers to the life burning with an intense purity that transforms everything it touches into itself.

Because the core of all living is God, and God is a holy God, we require much teaching and long training for living in response to God as he is and not as we want him to be.  The book of Leviticus is a narrative pause in the story of our ancestors as they are on their way, saved out of Egypt, to settle in the land of Canaan.  It is a kind of extended time-out of instruction, a detailed and meticulous preparation for living ‘holy’ in a culture that doesn’t have the faintest idea what “holy” is. The moment these people enter Canaan they will be picking their way through a lethal minefield of gods and goddesses that are designed to appeal to our god-fantasies: “Give us what we want when we want it on our own terms.”  What these god-fantasies in fact do is cripple or kill us.  Leviticus is a start at the “much teaching and long training” that continues to be adapted and reworked in every country and culture where God is forming a saved people to live as he created them to live– holy as God is holy.

The first thing that strikes us as we read Leviticus in this light is that this holy God is actually present with us and virtually every detail of our lives is affected by the presence of this holy God; nothing in us, our relationships, or environment is left out. The second thing is that God provides a way (sacrifices and feasts and Sabbaths) to bring everything in and about us into his holy presence, transformed in the fiery blaze of the holy. It is an awesome thing to come into his presence, and we, like ancient Israel, stand in his presence at every moment (Psalm 139). Our Lord is not dwelling in a tent or house in our neighborhood. But he makes his habitation in us and among us as believers and says, “I am holy, you be holy” (1 Peter 1:16, citing Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7).

Once we realize this, the seemingly endless details and instructions of Leviticus become sign posts of good news to us: God cares that much about the details of our lives, willing everything in and about us into transformation that St. Paul later commended:

So her’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life– your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life– and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you in the best thing you can do for him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you (Romans 12:1-2).

The above is the introduction to Leviticus in the Message Bible.  How often have I ridiculed and made jokes of the book.  Too many to count.  Instead it is one of Father’s most important bits of instruction on how to live life and He leaves no stone unturned.  Blessings as you plow through.

B90X- Why such disdain for Leviticus?

LeviticusEven 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.

Dia Diez B90X (Le 26:27- Nu 8:14)

Good morning Kingdom Seekers!
 
I heard so many positive comments regarding our guest.  Heaps of you got a whole lot out of it and enjoyed hearing The Word from a different voice and paradigm. Rick really challenged some folks in The Word and in life.  He brought out some really good points and the way he wove the three blessings into the lives of Abraham, Jesus, and then to us was masterful.  I was blessed to have a day to enjoy and to be really fed in some areas.  It helps to be hungry, amen?  And we can only be hungry be eating more.  Remember it is not like natural hunger.
 
Thank you to everyone who talked to him afterwards.  That is so very important.  To acknowledge him with a thanks, a question, or an introduction from as many of you as possible is part of being a Kingdom Subject.  Recognizing his scholasticism and dedication to The Word and teaching it to others was so very important.  I know that many of you did that.  You blessed me in that.
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