All of these laws, regulations, sacrifices, offerings, rules, etc. get a little tedious after a while. I’m only on Leviticus 6 (technically 7, but i’m behind a day on my postings) and the law keeps going for quite a few more chapters. So what is with all of these rules and regulations? It’s almost brutal trying to get through it all. I remember reading the Bible through in a year and reading four chapters a day, and this was still pretty brutal to get through. Now doing one per day, that’s something else entirely.
However, what i am beginning to understand is that these rules, regulations, sacrifices, etc. are not about doing the perfect thing so much as about worship. These rules, laws, sacrifices, etc. are in place to let / help us worship YHWH. They allowed the Israelites to connect to and worship the God that they had sought and pursued for so many years. It is a promise fulfilled. The people now know, not only who to worship, but how. It’s a chance to connect and relate to the one who has directed them in both troubles and good times. They now have the ability to be the men and women that they have been working to become. This is not about sacrifices, this is about seeking out and worshiping the true God! This is how it needs to be done… to allow the people to pursue that relationship with YHWH.
So the tabernacle and all that it will contain has been made. Now on to the court and the alter. If i thought that the ark of the covenant was small, the alter is HUGE! At 5 cubits long (~7 1/2 feet) and 5 cubits wide and 3 cubits (~4 1/2 feet) tall, this thing was not small at all. But then again, when sacrifices included bulls, size does matter!
So the court of the tabernacle is underway with its pillars and linen hangings. All around the tabernacle are these hangings of fine twisted linen connected to pillars of bronze with hooks of silver. The entryway was to the east, to the rising sun, and the work of making all of the tabernacle and its tools of worship is finished. All that’s left is the priestly garments, putting everything together, and… the results.
All of this came together with structure and a plan. It took time, and effort, and finances to make it happen. It wasn’t just God doing it because it would be faster and easier for Him to do it Himself than to rely on humans to do it. He gave us the work. He gave us the plan. He gave His people the desire to make it happen. Do we have a structure and plan for our spiritual growth? Are we willing to invest ourselves into that plan? Are we willing to put our time, effort, and finances into loving God and loving others, or are we only willing to do the absolute minimum in order to get away with the least we can. Are we giving our firstfruits or our leftovers? Do we want to enter the court of the King, or are we satisfied with just passing it by and knowing that it’s there if we need it?
What is the significance of scent, of aroma and of oils? Why is it so important? It seems to be important to the LORD, and in part i understand it. Yet on the other hand i know that there is a part to it that i really just don’t grasp. Scents can have a stressing or a calming effect on a person depending very much on what the scent is. They can be irritating, soothing, or both at the same time. In the major prophets when God is talking about the people of Israel, there are numerous times when He makes a statement similar to this; “Your sacrifices are offensive to my nostrils.” Instead of being an aroma, pleasing to Him as is it’s intended purpose, it becomes noxious and vulgar.
Now, i can understand this to some extent as many strong perfumes and candles tend to give me headaches. Also, at one point in my life when i worked as a cashier at a clothing store there was a regular customer who always made it a point to go through my line. She appeared to be an older lady, and she would, whenever she had the chance, stop and talk with me for as long as she could. It was kind of an uncomfortable situation under normal circumstances, but she also wore extremely strong and noxious perfume. It was so bad that the majority of times, after talking with her for about five minutes or so, my head would be spinning so much i would have to lean on the counter to keep from falling over.
But that’s not what God was referring to when He spoke of their sacrifices being noxious in His nostrils. He was referring to how the people would bring their sacrifices to the temple on the right days, but then would live as if YHWH meant nothing at all other times. Their sins and offenses meant nothing to them as long as they came and made their appropriate sacrifices. That is not how these sacrifices and incense are supposed to work. They are supposed to enhance the sacrifice and make it more pleasing and acceptable to Him.
This chapter also deals with the anointing oil. The anointing oil has been a fascinating thing to me. It is used to consecrate and make holy. It is used to define and explain the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. It is used as a symbol of purification and for healing. It is all of this and more. In this chapter the anointing oil and the process of it being made is described in part. Yet, it is still a mystery. Some of the ingredients have been lost in time, or in the least their names have changed and we don’t know what they are anymore. Even if we did know what they were, it would be easy for us in the church today (in our ignorance of God’s Holiness and the importance of His commands) to abuse its use and bring curses down upon ourselves. For those same reasons i am glad that the true pronunciation of the name YHWH has been lost.
This chapter seems to have quite a few miscellaneous justice and balance regulations. I was going to say that they are oppression and mistreatment laws, but then i realized that they are not rules to tell people not to do something so much as they are regulations to help you live in justice and balance. Here are some examples. Do not pervert justice. Don’t take bribes. Take care of your enemy’s beasts even if your enemy isn’t willing to take care of them himself. Work six days and make sure you rest on the seventh. Plant for 6 years but let your fields go fallow for the seventh.
Then YHWH goes into our responsibility to honor and celebrate Him. Three times per year the people are to get together and celebrate feasts to God. Offer sacrifices with unleavened bread, not leavened, and bring your first fruits into the house of the LORD. It’s all about recognizing and honoring Him above all.
Finally, YHWH talks about what He will do. He will send an angel to guide and direct them. He will bring terror of them on their enemies. He will bless the land and the people. He will drive their enemies out ahead of them… not all at once, so that the land is not overrun by wild beasts. But the people MUST make sure that they do not pursue the false gods of the people of the land.
Overall, i don’t see an overarching theme that describes / covers the entire chapter, but these concepts need to be understood and applied to fully honor God.