The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 01/16

Posted on | January 16, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 01/16

Scripture reading: I Peter 1:13–19

Nineteen Nuggets from Leviticus

I am the Lord who makes you holy. (Leviticus 22:32 NLT)

 

Leviticus has been the graveyard for more Read-Through-the-Bible-in-a- Year programs than probably any other book in the Bible. Many readers find the detailed instructions for ritual sacrifice and the minutiae about worship to be mind-numbing. They just get lost in the maze of regulations concerning diet, skin disease, economic justice, bodily discharges, mildew, and warnings about sleeping with their mother-in-law! But think again. If all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for training in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16), then even this book must have something to say to us today. Indeed it does!

If you approach Leviticus as a story book, you will undoubtedly be disappointed. But if you read it as a manual you will begin to understand its true purpose. Just as workers in a nuclear power plant need a manual to help them know how to handle radioactive materials, so worshippers of God need detailed instructions for dealing with holiness. If you don’t know what you are doing, you might get seriously hurt!

I recently re-read Leviticus and was profoundly impacted by its contemporary relevance. Far from being boring or obsolete, I found myself passionately engaged with its message. Allow me to share a few things I learned from this incredible book.

,. God is holy. I am not. But amazingly, he can make me holy too.

,. God is dangerous. Those who approach him improperly end up dead!

,. There is more going on in a worship service than I ever imagined.

,. Cleanliness really is next to godliness. Thus the ability to distinguish between what is clean and unclean may be the most important life skill I can ever master.

,. God cares about what I eat, what I wear, my personal hygiene, and the skin rash on my arm.

,. God is very interested in sex. My sexual thoughts, desires and behaviors matter a great deal to him.

,. Unintentional sins and even sins I don’t know I have committed, separate me from God just as intentional sins do.

,. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.

,. I need a scapegoat. God has provided one!

,. Detecting impurity and sin is a lot harder than I thought.

,. God will treat me in the same way that I treat my neighbor.

,. Few things make God angrier than when parents sacrifice their children to idols.

,. God has an opinion about tattoos, body piercing, and haircuts.

,. God cares about how we treat the environment (the land, animals, crops, etc.).

,. God has special concern for the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized.

,. If my lifestyle is indistinguishable from the pagans around me, then I will suffer the same fate they do.

,. God is watching how I respond when the offering plate is passed down my pew.

,. Without a perfect priest and perfect sacrifice, worship is a waste of time.

,. Just as tithing calls me to sanctify my money, so Sabbath observance calls me to sanctify my time.

 

Holiness, not happiness, is the chief end of man.—Oswald Chambers

 

point to ponder Some of the regulations in the book of Leviticus continue to get negative publicity in mainstream media. What lies behind the laws in Leviticus? Are they simply stodgy and archaic? Do they have a deeper meaning?

prayer focus Worship.

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