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.
Compared to the other chapters, this one is definitely much shorter. I only discovered how short the chapter was when i was almost done with it. It is only nine verses compared to most other chapters that average closer to 32 verses. At the same time, it has taken me longer than 1/3 of the time to do it as a regular chapter. I have been very groggy and it has been very difficult for me to focus. As a result, nine verses has taken me about as long to do as 16-18 verses on a normal day. It’s not unsurprising that it is on the day that i have a much shorter chapter, that that is when i just can’t stay focused. It’s like God has been giving me the energy and focus on the days that i really need it, and on days like today He reminds me of how much this kind of schedule wrecks havoc on my body. A reminder that i really need to take early bedtimes seriously to help me function better.
There is a ton of very heavy theology in this chapter. I think that i could really dissect this chapter and easily double my regular 400-500 word post for it. In this chapter God is beginning to prepare Moses for what He is about to do. This final plague is going to go the distance. It is going to push Pharaoh to the limits so that he pushes back and ejects the Hebrew people out of the land. As such, YHWH has to prepare Moses and the people to leave.
God blesses the people with honor and favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and Moses himself with great esteem in their sight. When they go out, it is not going to be with a whimper but with a bang. As a result Moses and the people need to be prepared. To be ready to move out.
So He tells Moses what to expect and what to do in the process. He gives him not only the instructions, but the go-ahead to get the job done. The people may have wanted to leave and thought that they were ready when Moses first presented God’s command to Pharaoh, but they were far from that. They still aren’t fully ready, as we will see in future chapters, but now they have all that they need to be successful.
How about us? Is YHWH preparing us for something bigger? Do we think we are ready and that we can handle what He has for us, or does God have more He needs to do in our lives before all of this happens?
It’s a time of change again, isn’t it? Here we go, Jacob / Israel is called by God yet again to leave the place where he is and go. This time move to Bethel (house of God), live there, and make an alter to God.
So what does Jacob do? He gives instruction to all his household to take their foreign household gods and emblems representing these things and get rid of them. He tells them to purify themselves and prepare to leave. In response, God puts a fear of them in all the cities that they pass. No one pursues them, no one attacks them.
While at Bethel, God renews the promise He made with Abraham and Isaac with Jacob (yet again changing his name to Israel). Jacob gets that promised blessing, but it all comes at a time of loss and despair as well. Rebekah’s nurse Deborah dies on the way, then not long afterwards Rebekah dies in childbirth. Quite the contrast. Such an opposition of turmoil and joy. Personal blessing from God (what Jacob/Israel had specifically asked for when he wrestled with God), and a new son, at the loss of his beloved wife. Add to that, the death of his father.
I just can’t find the right word to describe it. Turmoil is about correct, but turmoil emphasizes trouble over blessing. Confusion deals with the contrasting feelings, but it implies being unsure, and in this case all is clear, but it is more conflicting. Conflicting is a good word, but it has too much of a feeling of conflict, and this is not about conflict. It’s about two opposing states of being residing clearly within the same experience. It leaves the man confounded but not confused, divided but still whole, overwhelmed but still at peace, frustrated but still full of joy. It is a time of both blessing and pain all clear and jumbled at the same time. I just can’t find the right word to describe it. It’s funny, with so many words in the English language, yet it is so incomplete in so many ways.