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Current study: Spiritual Warfare

21 February 2012

Week 8 - 21 February - Leviticus 19-22

Today’s readings begin with a “to-do and a don’t-do” list from the Most Holy God.

Respect your parents.
Keep the Sabbath.
Don’t make idols.
Worship as God tells you to, not as you desire.
Leave some of your fields for the poor.
Don’t steal, lie, or deal falsely.
Don’t profane God’s Name.
Don’t put stumbling blocks before others.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Don’t tell omens, or visit necromancers or mediums. This is reiterated in Chapter 20:

If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people. Lev 20:6 (ESV)

A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them Lev 20:27 (ESV)

Do you “casually” read the horoscope? Have you “played” with a Ouija board? Do you honor Halloween by dressing as a witch, or a skeleton, or a ghost? Do you think that it’s good for a Christian to take part in these activities based on these passages?

Of course there are more on this list, but as I read through it, I noticed many areas where I fall short. How about you?

Punishment for sexual immorality, including inter-family sex, sex with animals, and homosexual sex was cutting off from the people, or in some cases, death. God wanted His people (then and now) to separate themselves from worldly practices.

Until now, today’s reading dealt with the people. God now turns His attention to the priests – the sanctified and holy men called apart for service. We see that these men must live by a higher standard.

The High Priest was the people’s doorway to God. He alone could offer the sacrifices on the Day of Atonement. His actions, and those of his family, had to be above reproach.

Actions speak louder than words. Character is more eloquent than rhetoric. What a man is, always has more weight than what he says. And to preach Christ, and act antichrist; or to give people good instruction, coupled with a bad example, is but beckoning to them with the head to show them the way to heaven, while we take them by the hand to lead them in the way to hell.—Gospel in Leviticus

Not only was the priest to be holy, he was to be unblemished if he planned to come near the food offerings. Why?

If the priest were "blind," then the people would be led to misapprehend the type; he could not represent Him whose "eyes are as a flame of fire." If the priest were "lame," he could not represent Him whose "legs are as pillars of marble." If "mutilated in the nose," he could not be the type of Him whose "countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars." If "superfluous in any limb," shorter in one than in the other, he could not set forth Him who "cometh leaping on the mountains as a roe and young hart." If "broken-footed," he was unlike Him whose feet are as "sockets of fine gold," bearing "pillars of marble." If he were "broken-handed," he could not be a picture of Him whose "hands are as gold rings set with beryl," and of whom it is written, "not a bone of him shall be broken." If the priest were "crook-backed," then would he have represented the High-priest of the Church as inferior to the Church herself, "whose stature is like the palm-tree." If "a dwarf," he would ill suit as a type of Him who is "the chief among ten thousand." If in his eye were any "blemish," no one could have seen in him the picture of the Beloved whose "eyes are as doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk and fitly set." If "diseased in his skin," he could not be a type of Him "who is all fair," having "no spot or wrinkle." And if deficient in any particular of masculine perfection, he could not be the representative of Him whose Church, made like to himself, is "all glorious." He was therefore required to be without bodily blemish, that Israel might know what sort of a Priest Messiah to expect. Their eyes were to be directed to Jesus as one "altogether lovely."— Bonar

Today’s reading concludes with warnings that no lay person was to eat what is holy. It also reminds the people that their sacrifices must be perfect as well as proper. God tells the people, as He tells us, that worship must be done HIS way and not ours. Worship and sacrifice should be pure and holy. Worship should be deliberate, and offerings should be from the choicest portions – not the left overs.

When you place your offering in the plate, is it from the first fruits of your income, or is it whatever is left over? Do you give joyously, or is it a chore? Is your offering placed in the plate as your obedient sacrifice to God, or do you just stick money in there so no one thinks badly of you?

Leviticus reminds us that all our life is to be set apart from the world, yet in the world. We are reminded over and over that we should not give in to fleshly desires; that worship must be as God desires it to be and not as we want it to be. The Israelites had to perform many rituals to maintain their place with God. We are far more fortunate. We have the free gift of salvation through Jesus. We should take some time to review why we worship and how we worship. Do we come to church because it’s the thing to do on Sunday or because it’s a social club, or do we approach God with trembling and awe, coming together in a body to corporately honor the One Who is above all others?

Just two more days in Leviticus! I continue to pray that you have found beauty in this ancient book of law and ritual, and that you are applying its truths to your life!

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