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Leviticus is the most boring book in the Bible, that’s what I used to think. Go ahead and try to make it through 3 chapters before you flip forward to see how many pages you have left before the end. Seriously it’s THAT boring.
In fact, it opens up with ridiculously long instructions about how to make five different sacrifices:
The Burned Offering.
The Grain Offering.
The Peace Offering.
The Sin Offering.
The Guilt Offering.
There were very specific ways to give these offerings for very specific occasions on very specific days with very specific lists of what to do and what not to do. It gives me lots of anxiety, to be honest, because God gave very specific instructions about what to do with the fat of an animal that was being offered and what to do with the loins and liver and the blood that was drained from it.
First of all, it’s gross. And secondly, what if I mess it up? I mean, what if I miss an ounce of fat? And what if I mistaken fat for meat? And what if a drip of blood hits the ground?
WAY too many things to think about.
Anyways, so a few chapters in and I’m already incredibly bored (and overwhelmed) because it feels like there’s nothing there for me to learn or takeaway or apply. And if you know me, you know that when it comes to the Bible I’m an application guy. I’m always listening to the text and letting it ask me questions about my life and my world.
Did you get that?
I try to LISTEN to the text.
Let the text ask ME questions.
(As opposed to me asking the TEXT questions.)
When you read the Bible, let it ask YOU questions. @GlennSiepert #MorningEncouragementClick To Tweet
Like a couple of weeks ago. We talked about Ananias and Sapphira and about how they both dropped cold dead after they hid some money from the disciples and claimed that they had given it all to them.
They dropped dead?
Who killed them?
Did God do it?
That’s mean of Him!
How could He do such a thing?!
WHY would He?!
We often bring so many questions to the text rather than letting the text look at US and ask US the questions …
Do you live life like Ananias and Sapphira?
Do you say you’ll do ONE thing and then do ANOTHER?
Do you tell people you’ll do something and then don’t do it?
Do you pretend to be something or someone you’re not?
Dang. Read the Bible like THAT and you’ll come away with some glowing flaws in your life that you need to address.
When I read the book of Leviticus, (to be honest) more often than not I come away thinking to myself, “What the heck is this? And what the heck does this mean? And why in the world is this in my Bible? What’s the point?!”
Let’s talk about the point.
I recently read Rob Bell’s new book, “What is the Bible?“ and in the book he has a super short piece about Leviticus and why it’s in the Bible. If you don’t know who Rob Bell is, he was the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Michigan and when he first opened the church he preached an entire series on Leviticus (yes, the most boring book in the BIble – THAT Leviticus).
He preached through the ENTIRE BOOK and in doing so grew the church into the thousands.
Rob says that Leviticus isn’t so much a boring book as it is a book that we don’t really understand because it was written in a time and in a place that’s much, much different than the 2017 North America that you and I live in.
The book opens up with the description of those 5 offerings that I mentioned earlier, but in the midst of all of that it says something that I’ve read a bazillion times, but never really took notice of.
Moses (or whoever wrote that part of the book) says …
When anyone among you brings an offering to the Lord…”
… And right there we gotta pause.
Because the name “Lord” that was used in reference to God wasn’t just any word, but a really, really important word to the people of Israel because it referred to God, the God who rescues people from whatever they’re enslaved to. It was a title that made reference to the God who took down Pharaoh and drowned his army in the Red Sea. It made reference to the God who took care of the Israelites as they wandered through the desert for 40 years.
It referred to the God who had your back.
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It referred to the God who would never leave you.
It referred to the God who protected you.
… “The Lord”.
And in that same verse, the word “offering” in Hebrew is “corban” and it refers to the act of drawing near.
And so right there, in just a few words, we see Moses painting a picture of a God who is the Protector of His people, a God to whom you and I can run to, a God we can draw near to and don’t need to be afraid of.
To you and me this isn’t that big of a deal, but to the Israelites this was HUGE.
Because the gods of the Old Testament times were gods that hated people and gods that wanted everything done just right or else they’d kill you, smite you, and make your life a living hell.
They were DISTANT.
They were DETACHED.
They were DEMANDING.
They constantly needed to be APPEASED.
And so when Moses told them that the offerings weren’t to appease God, but to help them draw near to Him so that He could be closer to them and that they could be closer to Him … that was mind blowing and a completely different way to understand spirituality.
I could keep going, but I’m going to stop here and let all of that sink in because I’m willing to wager a bet that many of YOU have grown to understand God in the same way that the Old Testament people understood the gods of their time.
And He needs to be APPEASED.
Mess up, and He’s ticked. Trip up, and you’re on the bad list. Sin, and you’re toast. Don’t believe the right thing, in the right way, with the right understanding, and you’re destined for hell forever and ever and ever and ever.
God is not out to get you! @GlennSiepert #MorningEncouragementClick To Tweet
Moses would say that’s a load of crap and I agree. The God of the Leviticus is the God of today and He’s a God who loves you and a God that you can draw near to. He’s a God who loves and protects and guides and gives wisdom.
He has rules, yes.
He has laws, yes.
He has a particular way in which He wants us to live, yes.
Those rules aren’t to appease Him, they’re to create the best life for you; they’re to create the best life for the world around you; they’re to help you become more like Him; they’re to help you draw nearer and closer to Him.
The God of Leviticus is the God of today and He loves you and wants nothing more than to draw near to you, and for you to draw near to Him. He’s not out to get you. He doesn’t hate you. He’s not disappointed in you. He’s not waiting to strike you down or throw you down or end your life. He’s not waiting for you to mess up.
Not at all.
He loves you, end of story.
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