Saturday, April 18, 2009

My least favorite book of the Bible...

Does it seem slightly blasphemous to have a least favorite book of the bible? There are books that are hard to read because their content is convicting (like James) and there are books that are hard to read because I don't understand their context as well as I wish I did (I'm thinking of Jeremiah, or many of the minor prophets. But then there are books that are just hard to read. The one I always struggle with is Leviticus. It is long, repetitive, and has to do mostly with the ceremonial law which Christ fulfilled and which is no longer incumbent upon me. So, whenever I hit Leviticus in my regular reading, it is tough going for me. In my two year reading program, which I have basically been keeping up with, I have suddenly found myself a full 14 chapters behind!

So today, as the snow melts from our Spring snow yesterday, I am trying to catch up in Leviticus. And as I do, I am asking myself, "What does God want me to see here? What is He telling, not just Old Testament believers, but me as well?" And here are a few of my thoughts.

*God is a specific God. He is not an "anything goes" God. And when I am an anything goes gal, I'd better be careful.

*God is serious about sin. I am far less serious about sin than God is, and when I am justifying my sin, or can't even think of what my sins are, I am on dangerous ground.

*God is so serious about sin, and so holy, that he even requires payment for the sins that are committed unknowingly. When I think about my sins, if I committed them without knowing I was committing them, I tend to think that is a good excuse for God to sort of wink at me, and remind me to do better next time. But no, God requires the shedding of blood for the remission of all sin-- that I do knowingly, and that I do without realizing it is sin.

*Praise be to God that Jesus shed his blood once and for all, for every one of my sins. It is not that God no longer cares about those sins mentioned in Leviticus, but that Christ has satisfied the justice and holiness of God.

Not All the Blood of Beasts by Isaac Watts, 1709
Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain.

But Christ, the heav’nly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.

My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head of Thine,
While, like a penitent, I stand,
And there confess my sin.

My soul looks back to see
The burdens Thou didst bear
When hanging on the curs├Ęd tree,
And hopes her guilt was there.

Believing, we rejoice
To see the curse remove;
We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice,
And sing His bleeding love.

1 comment:

Mrs. Edwards said...

I've heard others say the same about Leviticus. In Bible Study Fellowship we spent most of February and March studying Leviticus and some of the folks were losing interest.

Of course it is difficult to get excited about all the rules about various "contaminants" that, as you say, no longer apply. While there are not many verses that you might underline and memorize, the totality of the book expresses the holiness of God and if we love Him, we must also love this about Him. Some of the regulations are so mysterious. People try to figure out the reason for them historically and the principles that apply today, but it is still hard to figure.

I echo your conclusions about what it says about our attitudes regarding sin. We are so cavalier that one wonders how often we abuse our liberty.