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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 32 – Sheep & Calf

Well, here is where it all hits the fan!  The people are tired of waiting for Moses to return from the mountain.  He has been there for 40 days and nights.  They are growing impatient with Moses and God taking their time, and they decide to do something about it.  So what do they do?  They decide to make their own god!  They convince Aaron to make them a god so that they can worship it.  Aaron makes them a golden calf and the people begin to worship it!

I have been trying to understand this.  I really have been.  I try to make it a point to understand the situations that the Israelites are going through.  I know that these are people just like you and i.  I can usually get some sort of grasp on some of the insane things that the Israelites do and make some sort of sense of it, but this one absolutely takes the cake!

God has done all of these amazing things for and with the people of Israel.  He has rescued them from Egypt.  He has done miracles and wonders to the Egyptians absolutely destroying their nation.  He brought them across the Red Sea.  He made water come out of the rock.  He even appeared in a cloud to the people and the leaders saw Him.   He spoke His 10 commandments out loud to them; the second of which was not to make for themselves a graven image!  They even agreed!  Yet here they are.  Moses has returned to the mountain, and is gone for only 40 days.  Now here they are doing one of  the most foolish and insane things they could possibly do.

I try to imagine myself in the situation.  I try to picture it and try to process what is going on in their minds, and i just don’t get it.  I mean, i can kind of get it.  When you are in that emotional high and you need a release… you need to release it some how, i can understand needing to be able to worship.  But wow!  I mean really!?!  WOW!  I think that that’s all I can say about that situation.

I look at YHWH’s response, and i am in no way surprised that He wants to destroy them all and start over.  My real amazement is in Moses response.  He sticks up for them and hold’s God’s fury at bay, but he also doesn’t really know what’s going on the time.  Once he finds out… it becomes a bloodbath.  What is a man of God to do?

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