Tag Archives: gods

Leviticus 17 – Sacrifice & Blood

Then God (Elohim) spoke all these words, saying,
‘I am the LORD your God (YHWH Elohim), who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.   You shall have no other gods before Me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.  You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God (YHWH Elohim), am a jealous God (Elohim),’” Exodus 20:1-5a

Leviticus 17 expands on and deals with the particulars of this passage a little bit more.  There are two connected issues here.  First, no one may slaughter an ox, lamb, or goat within or outside of camp without bringing the body to the tabernacle to offer it as an offering to the LORD.  This is to ensure that there is no other worship except the worship of YHWH in the Israelite camp.  If a man or a woman sacrificed an animal to another god, that would have brought defilement upon the camp and people of Israel.

Reading that you could not slaughter an ox, sheep, or goat without offering it as a sacrifice to YHWH, i wonder how the Israelites could harvest their flocks and herds.  If sheep, goats and oxen were the primary means of meat for the Israelites, and they could only be slaughtered to sacrifice them to God, where do they get the meat needed to live on?  I don’t have the answer to that one, but knowing me, i’m probably just missing something simple.

The second part of this chapter deals with the command not to consume blood.  Blood is the life of the creature.  That’s been backed up by research for centuries.  The essence of the creature, it’s life and support system, comes from the blood.  As such, God requires that we do not consume of it.  In fact, when we hunt or kill an animal, we are instructed to let the blood drain out and cover it with dirt.

Do we take Exodus 20:1-5a seriously?  Have we made for ourselves gods other than YHWH?  Obviously we don’t make idols.  However, we have a tendency to worship, pursue, and trust in many things other than YHWH.  Some worship the god of money, others the god of family, others the god of education, others of technology.  Most American’s worship and bow down to the god of self.  When we place any of these things before YHWH, we are making them gods in our eyes.  What will it have to take to change our view and for us to start truly worshiping YHWH, the one true God, once again?

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Exodus 35 – Our Offering

In Exodus 32 (Sheep and Calf) we brought up this concept of the people’s desire to worship and offer sacrifice to God.  They wanted it so much that when it wasn’t given to them how and as fast as they were looking for it, they created their own god so that they would have something… some sort of god to worship.  They had been instructed by Aaron to give the earrings from their ears and he created a god for  them from the gold.  Here however, God, YHWH, has a better way.  He doesn’t just want gold, He wants silver, and bronze, and fine fabrics, and goats hair, and acacia wood, and oil, and spices, and setting stones, and so much more.  There should not have been a single person of the sons of Israel that could not give / offer something.  They have all had a desire to give to the God that gave to them.  Now they finally have a chance to do that.  They can finally give back  to YHWH to their heart’s content.  They finally have a healthy outlet for their appreciation.

We have that need too.  We have the need to honor and serve something / someone: to express our honor and our praise.  It is something that is deep inside of every one of us.  It is as much a part of us as our very need to breathe.  We are a people of thanksgiving and blessing.  If we are not worshiping YHWH, the God of the universe and everything, then we are worshiping money, or family, or education, or entertainment, or ourselves, or something else entirely.  We have to find an outlet for our praise and worship or it tears us up inside.  We are a people of offering.

It is such a fascinating concept to consider; that WE are beings with a need and primal desire to worship.  To give and be an offering.  It makes sense when we understand that YHWH created us for relationship with Him.  Whether it is purposeful or simply a side effect of that purpose, we NEED to praise, worship, give an offering, and BE an offering.

This chapter also parallels back to Exodus 31 (Work & Rest) in a couple of different ways.  Right away the LORD emphasizes the need for a Sabbath rest.  In fact, in verse 1 the people are told, “These are the things that the LORD (YHWH) has commanded you to do:”  Then the very first thing listed is observing a sabbath rest.  In our busy schedules, how often do we ignore this so important command?  The other parallel from chapter 31 is that our offering is our giving of our skills and abilities.  So often we get into this rut of thinking that our tithe and offering to God is the first 10% of our money, but God doesn’t just ask for our money.  He seeks our hearts and our lives.  He accepts /expects / demands from us our very lives.  Our tithes and offerings are not just our money, they are our skills, abilities, and work / play.

We ARE our offering, and we need to live that way.

 

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Exodus 27 – The Court

The plans are in place!  The blueprints are being written up.  The details are set.  Life as we know it is changing.  There are three constants in the world: Death, Taxes, and Change.  The people of Israel are used to living surrounded by other gods.  Gods of the Egyptians, gods of the Canaanites, and the gods of everyone in between.  All of these other gods have temples and alters and rules of worship, but the Israelites seem to not have anything that they can use to identify with their God.  The God of the Israelites doesn’t want statues to be made of Him.  He hides His name from them.  They have no established alter or temple to bring sacrifices to.  How do you connect with a God like that?

Well, that’s all changing.  God has just given Moses the plans for the tabernacle, and is now giving him the plans and blueprints for the alter and courtyard as well.  The people of Israel are well on their way to having a place and way to worship that is all their own.  No more having to watch all of these other nations and people worship their gods in all their ways, and not to be able to show their devotion to the God of their fathers.  Finally, there is a more complete identity in what it means to be an Israelite and to serve their own God.  The people of Israel are starting to become a more cohesive unit with all that YHWH has done for them, and now a way for the circle to be completed… a place to honor and serve Him in return.  They are finally able to fulfill their lives and purpose.

We sometimes lose sight of the fact that we have been place on this planet and in this world for a purpose outside of ourselves.  Our culture attempts to push us to accept that we are here to serve ourselves, and that other people are here for me.  But the reality is that we are here to serve Him.  When we are not serving Him, or worshiping Him in what we do and say, we will always have a sense of loss… of being incomplete.  It’s only in honoring and worshiping God in our lives, actions, and words that we are able to be complete in who we are.  These ancient civilizations had so much of a better grasp of these concepts than we do.  We are continually trying to rebel from what some would call “oppression”, but what is in reality a core part of who we are…  To serve a greater God.  And now, with the plans in place, the Israelites are finally going to get what they need.  A place and way to serve the one true God, the alter and court of the tabernacle.

 

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Exodus – Introduction

It’s amazing to me  to consider that Genesis is done.  I have made a personal copy of one of the most powerful and influential books ever written.  All 50 chapters word-for-word.  Now we enter a new era.  It is a time of re-revelation; a time of hope, struggle, inspiration, and new life (revival).

Four-Hundred years have passed since the close of Genesis.  The Israelites have gone from blessed and honored guests to mistreated and abused slaves.  The Pharaoh who knew and loved Joseph and insisted that the Israelites had to stay there has long since died and been forgotten.  Since then the Egyptians have become concerned with how blessed the Israelites have been, and how quickly they are growing.

The Israelites are here residing on their land and overrunning them like rats in the sewer.  The Egyptians realize that if they don’t do something about this “Hebrew problem” soon, it’ll be too late.  So a “wise” Pharaoh decides that it’s time to turn the table on these Israelite invaders.  He begins by hiring them.  He uses them for cheap labor.  Pharaoh even goes down to help work in the trenches.  He takes his clean robe off and becomes one of the men; doing the work of the masses.

However, what has started out as hard work for a decent wage becomes sweatshop work, then eventually slavery under whips and cruel taskmasters.  The Israelites are toiling and dying under the abuse and under the expectation of their daily quota.  So, they begin crying out for help from the God of their fathers.

This is the God that they know only from their history; the stories passed down of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob / Israel and their covenants with Him.  The Israelites are surrounded by the many gods of the Egyptians, each one with a name, a face, and a purpose.  Yet their God seems to have none of those things.  Yet in order to worship Him properly, the Israelites need to know these things.  Is He one of the gods of the Egyptians?  How about one of the Baals from a neighboring nation?  Maybe he’s Moloch of the Ammonites?

How do you serve a God that you do not know?  How do you cry out to Him?  How do you appease Him when He is angry at you for some unknown transgression and therefore allowing you to be mistreated, beaten, and killed, and He doesn’t appear to be doing anything about it?  What do you do!?!

That’s the backdrop of this book.  The Israelites don’t realize that this is part of a plan much bigger than they are.  A plan with a story that is about to play out for all of history to see.  Their Exodus is about to begin…

In the meantime, what does this say about us?  How are we treating those who are sojourning in our land?  …those who have left their homes due to famine, troubles, and a desire for a better life?  Do we treat them with contempt because they don’t speak very good English?  Do we kick  them out and tell them “We don’t want your kind here”?  Do we put them into sweatshops, one step above slavery; sometimes not even a step above?  Do we fear  them like the Egyptians did, or do we embrace them?  What is God’s plan?

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