Leviticus 12… Consider His Reinforcing Reminders

Leviticus 12 is another chapter that leaves me with many unanswered questions. But one impression doggedly captured my thoughts; even in the midst of life’s most joyous occasions, we cannot escape the need for atonement and cleansing. These laws of purification after childbirth were given to reinstate mothers back into ceremonial worship through the burnt and sin offerings; and although not explicitly stated, there are several truths reinforced, serving as His Reinforcing Reminders regarding man’s condition and need for atonement, and the grace and faithfulness of God.

Consider His Reinforcing Reminders

  • His Reinforcing Reminder: The condition of man is sinful from birth.
    • Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
      And in sin my mother conceived me.
      [Psalm 51:5]
  • His Reinforcing Reminder: He Who established His covenant is faithful to keep it.
    • On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. [12:3]
  • His Reinforcing Reminder: There must be atonement for sin before one can approach Holy God.
    • When the days of her purification are completed, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the doorway of the tent of meeting a one year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. [12:6]
  • His Reinforcing Reminder: In His great grace and mercy He has provided the mediator to make atonement for all who would come by faith.
    •  But if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean. [12:8]

How do we respond to His Reinforcing Reminders?

  • The greatest joys and blessings do not remove the guilt of our sin or our need for salvation. We must never forget His Reinforcing Reminder of our condition apart from His saving grace.
    • for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [Romans 3:23]
  • He is faithful to keep His covenant. Circumcision did not save a child; rather it was the outward sign of a people kept by their faithful covenant keeping God. Partaking in the ordinances of believers’ baptism and communion do not save, but they do serve as His Reinforcing Reminders of His unending faithfulness to those who are His by His New Covenant of faith in Christ.
    • Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” [Matthew 3:13-15]
    • …and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” [1 Corinthians 11:24-26]
  • We cannot approach Him in our own merit; His Reinforcing Reminder emphasizes our need for His Mediator to make atonement on our behalf. There is One Mediator between God and man.
    • For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, [1 Timothy 2:5]
  • Praise Him daily for His Reinforcing Reminder of His Provision for our atonement made by His great grace and mercy.
    •  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. [Ephesians 2:8]
    • Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
      For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
      Let the redeemed of the Lord say so… [Psalm 107:1-2]

Let’s Grow Together!

Leviticus 11… Consider Him Who Brought His People Up

“For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. 45 For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.”

46 This is the law regarding the animal and the bird, and every living thing that moves in the waters and everything that swarms on the earth, 47 to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the edible creature and the creature which is not to be eaten. [11:44-47]

I admit I don’t quite understand the dietary laws, the laws of clean and unclean animals and carcasses laid out in Leviticus 11. I have heard it suggested all these laws were solely about health and disease concerns; but here in this chapter, in the giving of these laws, the LORD made no reference to physical health or disease. However, His purpose was clearly defined; He is the LORD their God Who Brought His People Up to be consecrated and holy; and in keeping these laws His people would be distinct from the surrounding nations.

Consider Him Who Brought His People Up

  • He brought His People Up to be in relationship and to know Him as their God.
    • “For I am the Lord your God… For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God…” [11:44-45]
  • He brought His People Up to reflect His character as set apart and holy.
    • “… Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth… thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.” [11:44-45]
  • He brought His People Up to obey and trust His distinctions.
    • This is the law regarding the animal and the bird, and every living thing that moves in the waters and everything that swarms on the earth, 47 to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the edible creature and the creature which is not to be eaten. [11:46-47]

How do we respond to Him Who Brought His People Up?

  • Have we been brought up out of the bondage of sin to know Him Who Brought His People Up as our God?
    • For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [Colossians 1:13-14]

(If you are not sure you have been brought up out of the bondage of sin, call out to Him in prayer, acknowledge you cannot save yourself, place your faith in His perfect redemption accomplished on the cross and you will be saved) “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” [Acts 16:30-31]

  • Are we walking in obedience as distinct, holy and set apart, reflecting His character to others who need to see and know Him Who Brought His People Up?
    • So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, [Philippians 2:12-15]
  • Are we committed by faith to trust Him Who Brought His People Up, even when we don’t fully understand His whys?
    • Though He slay me,
      I will hope in Him.
      [Job 13:15]
    • It is better to take refuge in the Lord
      Than to trust in man.
      It is better to take refuge in the Lord
      Than to trust in princes.
      [Psalm 118:8-9]
    • If Your law had not been my delight,
      Then I would have perished in my affliction.
      [Psalm 119:92]

Let’s Grow Together!

 

 

 

Leviticus 10… Consider Him Who Will Be Treated as Holy

The LORD had directed in every meticulous detail and could not have been clearer; the sacrifices and offerings were to be conducted according to His command, not man’s preferred ideas.

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the Lord spoke, saying,

‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.’”

So Aaron, therefore, kept silent. [10:1-3]

Whatever possessed Aaron’s sons to do it their own way we may never know, but one thing is absolutely certain; He Will Be Treated as Holy.

Consider Him Who Will Be Treated as Holy

  • Those who desire to come near must treat Him as Holy.
    • “By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,” [10:3]
  • He will be honored before all people.
    • “And before all the people I will be honored.” [10:3]
  • And there is nothing more to be said.
    • So Aaron, therefore, kept silent. [10:3]

How are we to respond to Him Who Will Be Treated as Holy?

We live in a time where the mention of God’s holiness and man’s sinful condition are almost taboo. But this does not eliminate His truth or His commands.

  • We cannot listen to lies and thus deceive ourselves; we must approach Him in reverence and treat Him as Holy.
    • Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. [Galatians 6:7]
  • He Who is exalted above all else has invited us to know Him, receive Him by faith and live to bring Him honor. There is coming a day when the choice will no longer be available; all will bow before Him and honor Him.
    •  For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [Philippians 2:9-10]
  • We cannot argue with God; we are to obey Him in all He has commanded. By His grace and faith we profess Jesus Christ as LORD and give Him the Holy Honor due His Name; for He Will Be Treated as Holy.
    • and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:11]
  • Let us be diligent to pray, depending on His Holy Spirit’s power and grace by faith, to grow in our desire to glorify and honor Him; that He Will Be Treated as Holy in all we do.
    • To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. [2 Thessalonians 2:11-12]

Let’s Grow Together!

Leviticus 9… Consider the Appearance of His Glory

It’s really too much to take in, isn’t it, trying to imagine what it was like, seeing the Appearance of His Glory? But one thing is not left to the imagination: the Appearance of His Glory was His doing, by His command and accomplished His intended purpose.

Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he stepped down after making the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. 23 Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting. When they came out and blessed the people, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 Then fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces. [9:22-24]

Consider the Appearance of His Glory

The Appearance of His Glory came after all had been done according to His commands. [9:5, 6, 7, 10, 21]

The Appearance of His Glory came with His all consuming fire. [9:24]

The Appearance of His Glory was visibly evident to all. [9:24]

The Appearance of His Glory caused audible reactions of joy, (the word shout is not a shout of fear; from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: 7442. רָנַן rānan, רוּן rûn: a verb meaning to shout for joy; to sing joyfully). [9:24]

The Appearance of His Glory resulted in humble and passionate worship. [9:24]

How do we respond to the Appearance of His Glory?

Today, the Appearance of His Glory is manifest through the lives of His people by their faith and hope in Christ.

that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. [Colossians 1:26-27]

Oh, may we never take for granted the indescribable grace and privilege of experiencing the Appearance of His glory. Consider the following:

  • Are we inviting the Appearance of His Glory through our obedient lives?
    • Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. [1 Corinthians 6:19-20]
  • Are we offering our all, desiring nothing but our lives be consumed by the Appearance of His Glory?
    • Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. [Romans 12:1]
  • When others look at our lives, do they see the Appearance of His Glory in us?
    • Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. [Matthew 5:16]
  • Is the Appearance of His Glory causing us to live joy-filled lives?
    • …and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, [1 Peter 1:8]
  • Is the Appearance of His Glory resulting in lives of humble and passionate worship?
    • Come, let us worship and bow down,
      Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
      For He is our God,
      And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
      [Psalm 95:6-7]

May we live obedient lives, consumed with joy and worship that others might see and be drawn to seek Him and also live to experience the indescribable gift of the Appearance of His Glory.

Let’s Grow Together!

Leviticus 8… Consider Him Who Needed No Consecration Ceremony

Before the priests could serve in their ministry to offer sacrifices for the atonement of the people, much was required and must be accomplished through the Consecration Ceremony. There was a sin offering providing atonement for their own sins [8:14-17], a burnt offering rendering their worship acceptable [8:18-21], and a ram of ordination to consecrate them as priests [8:22-28]. Moses slaughtered it and took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. 24 He also had Aaron’s sons come near; and Moses put some of the blood on the lobe of their right ear, and on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot [8:14-15], symbolizing the consecration of their entire bodies for the service of the priestly ministry. This Consecration Ceremony explicitly displayed the serious call into the priesthood and the serious need of atonement for sin for every human ever born. Aaron and his sons, the newly ordained priests, could not offer sacrifices for atonement for others without first having their own sins atoned for and covered by the blood of the sin offering.

Consider Him Who Needed No Consecration Ceremony

  • There was no need for a sin offering for Him who knew no sin.
    • He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. [2 Corinthians 5:21]
    • For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. [Hebrews 4:15]
  • There was no need for a burnt offering to render His worship acceptable for Him who lived a life of perfect worship.
    • Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. [John 5:19]
    • “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” [John 6:38]
  • There was no need for a ram offering for Him who is our perfect High Priest forever.
    • Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. [Hebrews 4:14-16]
    • For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever. [Hebrews 7:26-28]

How do we respond to Him Who Needed No Consecration Ceremony?

  • We can live in His assurance; we have received His righteousness when we place our faith in His perfect sinless sacrifice as the only atonement for our sins.
    • But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; [Romans 3:21-22]
  • We can worship Him without fear or constraint; our worship is rendered acceptable through the blood of our perfect, spotless lamb.
    • But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? [Hebrews 9:11-14]
  • How can we not be encouraged in our faith; our perfect High Priest is interceding for us daily.
    • The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. [Hebrews 7:23-25]

Let’s Grow Together!

Leviticus 7… Consider His Ongoing Offer

This is the law of the burnt offering, the grain offering and the sin offering and the guilt offering and the ordination offering and the sacrifice of peace offerings, 38 which the Lord commanded Moses at Mount Sinai in the day that He commanded the sons of Israel to present their offerings to the Lord in the wilderness of Sinai. [7:37-38]

In our attempt to comprehend the intricate rules and regulations involved in the laws of the offerings, one thing is abundantly clear, these laws are His laws, His way, no discussion or opinions invited. However, in the laws of the offerings we see His Ongoing Offer to all of mankind. His Ongoing Offer of atonement, forgiveness, cleansing, fellowship and peace, freedom from guilt, His priestly ministry, and undeniable reasons to give thanks and praise is extended to all, to all who will receive His Ongoing Offer by faith.

Consider His Ongoing Offer

The following descriptions, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the Zondervan NIV Study Bible:

  • Burnt Offering: voluntary act of worship; atonement for unintentional sins in general; expression of devotion, commitment and complete surrender to God
  • Grain Offering: voluntary act of worship; recognition of God’s goodness and provisions; devotion to God
  • Sin Offering: mandatory atonement for specific unintentional sin; confession of sin; forgiveness of sin; cleansing from defilement
  • Guilt Offering: mandatory atonement for unintentional sin requiring restitution; cleansing from defilement; make restitution; pay 20% fine
  • Ordination Offering: (from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) 4394. מִלֻּא milluʾ, מִלּוּא millûʾ: A masculine noun designating a setting, a mounting; an ordination… also extends its meaning to placing a priest in office; his ordination, consecration, installation by a special ordination, filling, offering
  • Sacrifice of Peace Offerings: voluntary act of worship; thanksgiving and fellowship (it included a communal meal)

How do we respond to His Ongoing Offer?

  • By faith
    • For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. [Ephesians 2:8]
  • In surrender
    • I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. [Galatians 2:20]
  • Through obedience
    • As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, [1 Peter 1:14]
  • With thanksgiving
    • Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [Colossians 3:17]

The laws of the offerings reveal His Ongoing Offer to people everywhere to experience His Presence. But, there is coming a time when His Ongoing Offer will come to an end.

Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me,
[Hebrews 3:7-8]

Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”— [2 Corinthians 6:2]

Today, let us wholeheartedly accept His Ongoing Offer by faith, in surrender, through obedience and with thanksgiving.

Let’s Grow Together!

Leviticus 6… Consider Him Who Restores

Any act of deception, lying, extortion, fraud or theft committed against another is deemed a sin against the LORD. With the guilt offering, He has commanded restitution be made to those wronged.

When a person sins and acts unfaithfully against the Lord, and deceives his companion in regard to a deposit or a security entrusted to him, or through robbery, or if he has extorted from his companion, or has found what was lost and lied about it and sworn falsely, so that he sins in regard to any one of the things a man may do; then it shall be, when he sins and becomes guilty, that he shall restore what he took by robbery or what he got by extortion, or the deposit which was entrusted to him or the lost thing which he found, or anything about which he swore falsely; he shall make restitution for it in full and add to it one-fifth more. He shall give it to the one to whom it belongs on the day he presents his guilt offering. Then he shall bring to the priest his guilt offering to the Lord, a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he will be forgiven for any one of the things which he may have done to incur guilt.” [6:1-7]

Consider Him Who Restores

  • He Restores the one who has been wronged.
    • …he shall make restitution for it in full and add to it one-fifth more. He shall give it to the one to whom it belongs on the day he presents his guilt offering.
  • He Restores the one who did the wrong.
    • Then he shall bring to the priest his guilt offering to the Lord, a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he will be forgiven for any one of the things which he may have done to incur guilt.

How do we respond to Him Who Restores?

  • When we are wronged, let us willingly offer forgiveness and love to others, trusting Him Who Restores with the outcome.
    • So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. [Colossians 3:12-14]
  • When we wrong another, let us be quick to confess our sin against the LORD and to make restitution when needed.
    • Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. [Matthew 5:23-24]
  • Let us lay aside our old self and commit to live our new life in obedience and faith in the power of Him Who Restores.
    • What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. [Romans 6:1-2, 5-7]
    • Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. [Romans 13:8-10]
    • …that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. 25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. [Ephesians 4:22-25]
    • Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— [Colossians 3:9-10]

Let’s Grow Together!