Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February 16- From Pardon to Purity

February 16, 2011

Scripture Readings:
Leviticus 1:1-3:17; Mark 1:29-2:12;
Psalm 35:17-28; Proverbs 9:13-18

In Genesis we see man ruined.
In Exodus we see man redeemed.
In Leviticus we see man worshiping God.
~J. Vernon McGee

Leviticus 1:1-3:17

In the age of cell phones, internet connections, and texting, no student who can hide a phone under their desk need worry about being bored in class.  They can message and tweet their thoughts to whomever will listen and avoid the monotony of a pointless lesson.  As we begin the book of Leviticus, some of you may be tempted to pull out your cell phones and begin texting.  Don't do it.  The book of Leviticus is not as boring as you may think.  Let me explain why.

When you read the Bible it is normal to feel that Genesis is fascinating with the story of man's fall and the beginnings of the solution for sin.  Then you get to Exodus and are introduced to Moses, who leads the Israelites out of slavery.  That's a pretty cool story. Next, you turn to Leviticus.  Hmmmmm. The Israelites have built the Tabernacle. God is in the Tabernacle, and uh oh, God has a long list of rules about how to worship Him. Hmmm.  Details, details, details...Zzzzzz Who cares? 

Well, you should care.  Why?  Because this is another opportunity to see Christ in all that God does.  Shall we say showing us Christ in the stories of the Old Testament is God's obsession?  Sure, why not.  The worship designated in Leviticus is another opportunity for God to portray Christ through symbols and rituals before his birth on earth. The institution of the sacrifice, ceremony, ritual, liturgy, instructions, washings, convocations, holy days, observances, conditions, and warnings are all physical experiences that teach spiritual truths.  I am sure that as the nation of Israel purposed to obey these regulations they had no idea that their obedience formed a physical picture meant to reflect a spiritual reality.  Our lives do that, too.  Do you think that your obedience matters to God?  Leviticus shows us that it does.

The key themes of Leviticus are atonement and holiness.  This book is designed to represent our sanctification in Christ.  That means that as we follow Christ in obedience we become set apart for God. 

Today we look at the regulations for the burnt offering.  Do you remember that Abel, Noah, and Abraham did burnt offerings?  These offerings represented a "covering" for sin.  The blood of the sacrificed animal represented the work that Christ would do on the cross.  To sacrifice under God's regulations was to declare faith in the coming Messiah. The animal sacrifice did not take away sin, it merely acted as a cover until the death of Christ, which actually paid the required price for the sin of mankind.  Let's look at some of the regulations that reflect Jesus:
  • It is a voluntary free-will act.  Christ's sacrifice is voluntary and offered to all.
  • No carnivorous animal could be sacrificed.  No animal who killed other animals could be used.  Using a predatory animal would not properly reflect Christ who was a man of peace.
  • The animal had to be clean and domesticated.  People were to sacrifice an animal that they cared for and loved.  This pictures God giving up His only Son whom He cared for and loved.
  • The domesticated animal would have been a creature that obeys, unlike a wild animal.  This is a picture of Christ's obedience.
  • The offering was to be completely consumed by fire.  Christ's life was completely consumed on earth with zeal for God and on the cross with zeal for man.  Fire purifies.  His death purifies our lives.
  • The offering could not be done in random places.  It had to be done at the door of the Tabernacle before the One True God.  This would be a means of keeping the Israelites from falling into idolatry, which they were prone to.  Christ's death keeps us in front of the One True God.  He is the doorway to salvation and eternity.
  • Hands were to be laid on the animal as it was sacrificed.  This represents conferring sin upon the animal.  Christ is who we confer our sins to.  He paid the price for our debt.
  • The poor were not exempt from the sacrifice.  They were allowed to bring birds.  Notice that Jesus' parents offered birds when they worshiped.  Jesus came from poverty.
This is a beautiful picture of what Christ has done for you and me.  His death makes us holy before a Holy God. Have you accepted Christ's sacrifice in your life?  Do you worship as one who has been atoned for?

Mark 1:29-2:12

In today's reading you may have noticed that Jesus heals a man with leprosy and then tells the man to follow the laws of Moses, go be examined by a priest, and take an offering as regulated for those who have been healed of leprosy.  Jesus is talking about rules that we will be studying in Leviticus, folks!  See, this matters. 

I love another miracle story today.  It is the one where the sick guy can't get into the house where Jesus is because it is too crowded.  No problem.  The guy's friends dig through the clay roof (or lift tiles) and lower him down, right in front of the Master.  Jesus heals the guy because of the faith of his friends.  To me, this is a lesson to persistently pray for my friends and take action to help them for God's glory.  God respects our passion and concern for our friends.  Let's lower each other down to Christ each day in prayer and physically meet their needs if we can!

Psalm 35:17-28

Vs. 22-23  "O Lord, you know all about this. Do not remain silent. Don't abandon me now, O Lord.  Wake up! Rise to my defense! Take up my case, my God and my Lord."  Have ever felt like praying this?

Proverbs 9:13-18

Folly is a woman, just like wisdom is a woman.  Folly is brash and loud, rather than discreet and appropriate. She is ignorant and doesn't even know it.  She sleeps with random men.  She is sexually active and liberated.  She entices men who are unaware and tries to control them with her sexuality. She likes secrets. If you had to describe yourself, are you Wisdom or Folly?

What did you see today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton


  1. Great insights into Leviticus, Kathy! I was perishing in the details. :) Ok, when are you writing your study of Leviticus? And I love the story of the 4 guys lowering their friend thru the roof. And then Jesus's line, "which is easier to say, 'your sins are forgiven' or 'get up and walk'?" One of my favorites!!

  2. I'm with you, Linda. Sometimes, after I have read a passage and before I write my comments, I sit with my hand on my forehead and PRAY! LOL

    I love the story of the 4 guys, too. It challenges me to lower my friends down in prayer each day.

    I think everything that Jesus says is cool. : )

  3. I love J. Vernon McGee. Didn't he have a unique voice?

    I agree, Let's pray for our friends/family.
    I was fortunate to hear my son-in-law teach this past Sunday, and he said, "Do you find yourself praying only when you have nothing else to do?" Let's pray purposefully.

  4. He did have a unique voice. Saw him at a church here in St. Louis in the early 80's. He was a great teacher.

    Prayer is key. It should be done purposefully. You are correct, Terri.

  5. That's great you actually got to hear him in person. I want to meet him in heaven. :)