After having gone through the book of Leviticus chapter by chapter, i see this book much as i did before. It is YHWH’s rules and regulation for the nation of Israel. It is a defining of His covenant with them. God both issues directives to obey the rules and promises to help and allow the people to obey and prosper.
Leviticus is an important book in that it sets the tone and direction for the expectations for the nation of Israel. It is the measuring rod by which the actions and motive of the nation are defined. Without Leviticus, there is no understanding of YHWH’s interactions with the nation of Israel. Without understanding that there are rules and what the rules are, we have no ground by which to judge the sin or righteousness of man. As such, we have no foundation for understanding sin and the need for salvation and a savior. While rules and laws may seem constricting and confining at times, they are actually more boundaries that when understood and followed allow us freedom to live happy, healthy, and satisfying lives without fear and stress of the aftereffects of our actions.
I really like C.S. Lewis’ quote from The Pilgrim’s Regress “When everything you eat is more or less poison, you need very strict rules to stay healthy” (rough quote). The point is that when sin abounds in the world, understanding where the rules and limitations are gives you the freedom to live life within those limitations and without fear of their destruction.
That is the beauty of Leviticus, or that should have been the beauty of Leviticus for the Israelite people.
Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.
Isn’t it nice to have an outside perspective sometimes. We look at our own situation time and time again. We see the same problems the same ways. We walk through the same doors and fall into the same traps. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own way of doing things that we lose track of the idea that there may be another, better solution. We also get so used to seeing the same blessings that we fail to see them as blessings. We see our successes in light of our situation and lose track of how amazing they can be sometimes.
Moses had started to get into some of these kinds of ruts. He was hearing the same people complaining about the same problems while doing the same things over and over. Then along came Jethro, his father-in-law, bringing Moses wife and two sons, and they saw it all anew. They heard the stories for the first time. They learned about the situation and saw all the blessings that God was doing for the people off Israel, and they were amazed. Jethro was the priest of Midian. He was a man of experience and wisdom, and yet he said, “Now I know that the LORD (YHWH) is greater than all the gods. Indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against the people.” He saw how God had treated those who stood proudly against His people, and Jethro, the priest of Midian, knew that there was no God like YHWH.
In response Jethro took a burnt offering and sacrifice to the LORD. He prepared it as a meal and invited the leaders of Israel to eat a meal together before God. He served in his role as a priest, yet he also set a precedent for the leaders; one of fellowshipping together before the LORD. Don’t you love a good perspective!?
The chapter finishes with Moses sitting before the people judging them. They came to him with their conflicts and problems, and he judged between the people. As i was reading this, it reminded me of the incident in chapter 2 “He (Moses) went out the next day, and behold, two Hebrews were fighting with each other; and he said to the offender, ‘Why are you striking your companion?’ But he said, ‘Who made you a prince or a judge over us? Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Then Moses was afraid and said, ‘Surely the matter has become known.’” So Moses has become the judge that he had tried to be. He went from poser to the man of the hour; yet ironically, it was too much.
Jethro to the rescue! He tells Moses that this is too much work for him alone; that he needs to abdicate the work to others. To those who hate injustice so that it does not become too much of a burden. Do we pursue an outside perspective for our lives?