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Friday, March 13, 2009

The Way Things Used To Be

In times of quiet and reading with Jesus, I have been reading through Leviticus again. A read of this Pentateuch book leaves one asking real questions as to why God would have this apart of his holy scriptures. I know the "right" answers, but if I were a first time reader with no prior biblical instruction or theological education, I would be asking some real hard questions of God.

It's a tough book to read. No doubt. It has truck loads of details about the law, religious systems, and subsequent relational approach(es) to God. Maybe it's God's great reverse psychology book on legalism. Maybe it's his great, yet subtle work on, things have got to be better than this. And, yet, possibly, He may have wanted future followers to have something that could put them to sleep at bedtime before the invention of Wild Turkey and NyQuil! Or, maybe, just maybe, he is daring us to go deeper. Deeper than the externals. Deeper than the law. Deeper than even sacrifices and offerings. And in those deeper places, we ultimately get closer to Him.

Maybe, I'll post on it another time some of the key phrases that you see over and over again in Leviticus that gets to the heart of this book and really the heart of God. But that is another day and another post.

For now, read Leviticus 21:16-24. To over simplify, but keeping it true and real: one basically had to be perfect to serve in the most sacred of positions in the most sacred of places in the temple. Wow...that's rough! Talk about your old school. This passage really frustrated me. That doesn't fit the box of the God I know and love. At least right now. But back in the day, I guess, that was part of his standard for his people.

But that got me thinking and thankful that that isn't the way he operates now...perfection wise that is. He still has standards of character, holiness, and integrity to pursue, but Jesus seems to reveal more and more of the heart of God. Look at the guys he calls as His disciples. These guys may not have physical issues, but they do have relational, emotional, and spirituals issues out the wazoo! But he used them to launch a revolution that is still revolutionary today, 2000 years later.

And then this radical truth from the writer of Hebrews that Jesus fits the bill of supremely perfect High Priest (Hebrews 5). And because of his sacrifice I can enter the most sacred and holy place, God's very presence, anytime I want and need (Hebrews 4). Amazing!

Thank you, Leviticus, for pointing me to Jesus.

Thank you, Jesus, for taking this broken man and using me for your holy purposes all the while being able to live in your most holy presence.

Thank you, God, that things aren't the way they used to be.

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