As most of you know, as I’m reading thru the Bible, I stop at the end of each book and reflect on that book as a whole. What does it mean in the metanarrative of Scripture? What is God like based off of these pages? Etc., etc., etc.
But before I dive into that, I want to acknowledge that without the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s gift of faith in my life, I may never come to these conclusions. If I were blinded to spiritual truths, I could, like Mark Twain up there, be thrown off by all the rituals and sacrifices and commands. I too could believe that this is an antiquated, war and gore story full of lies.
Don’t take for granted faith. Thank God for eyes to see and a heart to receive. It is NOTHING that we do to earn or acquire faith, it is a gift from God.
The second thing I’d like to mention is that when the original readers heard about these ritual laws, blessings and cursings, clean and unclean, and animal sacrifices–this was NOT a foreign concept to them. They were not (like we are) thrown off at the idea of slaughtering an animal. They did not squirm at that thought of being labeled “unclean” like we do. Because that was normal for the time period. It’s so strange when Christianity gets a bad rap for this Old Testamenty ways, because EVERY SURROUNDING nation and culture had similar rituals. It’s not like the Israelites were the only ones with temple sacrifices, the only ones with any sort of Holy Days, or the only ones with severe punishment for disobeying their god! No, no, no. If you read literature from surrounding nations at the same time, you’ll find them similar, but with noteworthy differences (i.e. they had rituals involving prostitutes, sacrificed children, and worshiped a god who could be bribed).
Okay, now onto the review! So a friend in a coffee shop sees me reading, they decide to sit down across from me and ask, “How’s your book going?” How do I respond?
Well, I’m only on Chapter 3 (get it? Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus…3rd), so I’m not super far into it yet. But Chapter 1- introduces the main character, God, who is awesome and explains a little bit about how he relates to these special, yet-nothing-special, people He has chosen to love. Then Chapter 2 has an INCREDIBLE story about how God and his friend, Moses, do the impossible and supernaturally rescue those people from Egyptian tyranny. He then explains them more of who He actually is, and it is CRAZY. He’s 100% holy. He’s 100% perfect. He’s 100% a lot of things, and the ramifications for that are immense! So Chapter 3 (Leviticus) is kind of building on that revelation. It’s a book entirely of commandments given in light of the fact that they are really awful people, and He is a really perfect God, and now they live together.
Since a Holy God is present–the people MUST properly address their sins against Him and strive to honor and obey him. He has called them to represent Him on this earth–this is a call for them to be holy. It’s pretty neat when you think about it. GOD doesn’t need to dwell with people. There is no requirement for that. No necessity at all. God doesn’t need to be reconciled with us. He’s perfectly fine without us being in right standing before Him.
YET HE IS A GOD OF RECONCILIATION AND FORGIVENESS. He made a way through offerings and sacrifices that people who are evil and forgetful and selfish and sinful–can worship, know, and love Him still. Nobody asked Him for this, expected it, or deserved it–He brought it about because of His great love for these people. That fact, when you really understand who this character-God-really, truly is….is incredible.
Last thing– I JUST found this video/project and it AWESOME! They say, “We are a non-profit creating videos that walk through the narrative of the Bible. We do this book-by-book and theme-by-theme. Download full resolution versions of all the videos for free. Also download free teaching guides. These downloads are at http://www.jointhebibleproject.com” Watching “The Bible Project” will definitely be a good use of your time! Poke around their website/youtube channel and use it as a resource as much as possible! If you’re able, donate too! I think it is AWESOME!
As always, thanks for reading!