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.
Joseph’s brothers need to return to get food / sustenance, but boy is it a chore. They know what they have been told by Joseph. They cannot return to Egypt without their youngest brother. They also know that their father is not going to let Benjamin go without a fight. So the argument ensues. Jacob / Israel wails and moans that if they take Benjamin he will lose a second son. They remind him that if he doesn’t let Benjamin go, they will not be able to buy food. Jacob complains that they are trying to send him to an early grave. They remind him that if he does not let them go, he, they, and all the grandchildren will dis as well. Judah takes full responsibility for Benjamin’s health and safety. So Jacob / Israel finally consents.
So they return with not only Benjamin, but the money from the first trip that they found in their bags on the return home. When they return to Egypt Joseph arranges for them to eat with him. They are worried about the money, but Joseph’s intent is only to eat with them and see how they respond. In the process, Joseph has the table set up youngest to oldest, to their surprise.
How about us? How often does God do the same thing. He wants to sup with us. He wants to spend time with us. He wants relationship with us. What is our focus? We focus on what we want, or what we are afraid of, or what we have done wrong. We allow those things to prevent us from having a blessed celebration with our Father. All He wants is for us to return to Him, and we are still afraid that He might find out about something that we are ashamed of.
Is that where you’re at today? Are you missing out on an amazing relationship with the LORD because you are afraid of His response to something that happened in the past. Well, get over it; “Stop it!”
And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain– for He says,”AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU,
AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.”
Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”– (II Corinthians 6:1-2 NASB)
Well, this is where everything changes. Abram takes his first steps into a broader world. This promise that God makes with Abram is an amazing promise. It requires that Abram simply go. Go, leave your family, and your country, and your relatives. Just go where God tells him. Then because of that simple obedience God will bless him. It is a huge blessing for not such as huge cost. It all seems so unreal.
I’ve read this through many times before, but i’ve never really noticed the cost to benefit ratio before. It’s simply, “Go. Step out into the unknown. I will tell you where to go, and I will bless you, and I will make you a great nation. Just go.” Now, to some extent, it’s just not that easy. By going, Abram was making a huge faux pas. In that time and day, family was everything. You didn’t leave the nest, you made it bigger. That’s how cities, nations, and civilizations were born. There was security in being part of the group. There was value in the group. Leaving the larger family as a whole would have been considered foolhardy and dangerous in the least. Yet, that’s what God asked of Abram. More than that, that’s what God expected of him. “Go, and I will bless you.”
We all know how this ends… or rather how this continues. We all know that this is the first step and the the rest of the Bible is the fulfillment of that promise, but Abram didn’t. How much more does God ask of us? His Word (the Bible) is filled with the promises that He makes to us. The benefit to cost ratio is astronomical! He simply calls for us to give up our old and crummy life. To remove the torn and ruined clothes of sin and our selfish desires, and to take on His new, festive clothing of His righteousness. It’s really a very simple thing. It’s not so simple to live out, but we aren’t doing it by ourselves. The benefits we receive when we take the “risk” are astronomical in comparison to the cost.
And the nice things is, all we have to do is “Jump!”