Learning Leviticus

So! I’ve read through Leviticus and I’ve quite a bit to say but not before thanking those who’ve been reading along. It’s early days but there’s been some fantastic interactions. I’m grateful to those who have responded; helped answer some of my questions; those who have tagged the blogs and shared with others; those who have sent FB messages, tweeted and texted their support. I was pleasantly surprised to see such interest not in my writing, but in the calls to curiosity and understanding of one of (if not the) biggest books that has challenged the human mind and soul throughout the ages.

Last night I wrote on Exodus. I could write another blog on this book alone and no doubt one day will. But through this morning I pondered on last nights thoughts and came up with more: I often wondered why God hardened Pharaoh’s heart? I’d imagine Pharaoh would’ve been stubborn of his own accord thus allowing him to discover the power of God and the need to free the Israelites of his own volition would’ve been a huge time saver and for many, a life saver?

And to the present; Leviticus! Finished reading it this afternoon. Dare I day it, but I did struggle to focus on some elements in the middle. I guess it’s because I struggled to see how the words spoke to me. Having said that, they were directed to the Israelites and more specifically, those just led out of Egypt. But if it’s in the bible, it must hold some relevance to our zeitgeist?

Overall, the words are rich, insinuate the awe that is God whilst scarcely reminding me of just how angry he was/is/was/is. Throughout the book, there seemed to be a lot of demand for blood namely through animal sacrifice. I struggle to understand why God demanded the sacrifice of his own creations and what point that would’ve been proven by taking away life?

I guess my own little modern bubble has caused me to over-value animals;humanising them to the point where my heart sank upon thinking of how many animals would’ve been sacrificed.

On a lighter note (for want of a better phrase), many of the laws in the book were completely self explanatory and ones I could comply with no problem, i.e, laws against incest,  consuming animal blood (never cared for the idea of black pudding), etc.

This led me to think about previous conversations I’ve had with those who go to what I call ‘feel good factor’ churches; where the prosperity message is RINSED, we learn that God loves everyone and nothing more and where one struggles to discern between a rock concert and their worship service!

Well, I’m often told in these instances that: “… we are no longer bound by the old laws but by grace and our works are irrelevant and Jesus paid it all…Coffee?”

After reading Leviticus and the Gospels I’ve found that Jesus did not come to dismiss the law but to fulfil it and with that in mind, isn’t a lot of what is written still applicable? And if not why not? And if so, which bits?

Not every single law in Leviticus was explored in detail through the Gospel (and i imagine that was not an accident). My experience of church, namely denominational differences is that people have either skipped the old laws to be completely reliant on grace and comfortable with making minimal changes in the hope that all sins were paid on the cross by default or have overlooked grace and clung to the old laws, leaving no relationship. Just religion.

I’m open to going to any church as a visitor but for a while I’ve been struggling to find where I can become a member. I’ve vowed to never label myself as ‘part of a denimonation’ but if  I do become a Christian, I’ll be one who believes the bible. Full stop.

Sorry, this blog is not as wrapped up as the others, but my thoughts at this stage are inconclusive. However, what I can say is I hope to come to a point where I fully understand the differences between law and grace (because surprisingly, not many people do) and I hope I find a church which reflects that. I’m grateful for Leviticus opening my eyes to this at least. But there is more to be done…

Until tomorrow…

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Hey Nadia! Glad to see this one up, you’re amazing me with how quickly you’re getting through everything!

    Re: Pharoah’s heart being hardened

    I’ve wondered if it was because God was making sure there would be no doubts by either the Egyptians or Israelites that He is God, and that He had the power even over their gods. It’s just one of those questions I have in mind to ask Him one day in heaven 🙂

    And on to Leviticus!

    It holds relevance to us now because understanding the Old Testament and the original covenant that God established with Israel is fundamental to understanding the New Testament. My grandmother says, “The New is in the Old contained; the Old is in the New explained.” If you don’t read the Old Testament, then the understanding of the need for a savior is lost. If you don’t read the New Testament, the fulfillment of the Savior is lost.

    Animal sacrifice is horrific to us ‘civilized’ people – and yet we’d rather ignore other sins that are more horrific, especially those that harm innocent life. I’m almost positive more people would call the authorities if a dog was being abused than they would if it was a child.

    Hebrews 9:16-22 explains the need, though:

    For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

    Remission means forgiveness. So, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Since only an innocent can pay for the crime of another (otherwise they are simply bearing their own punishment), until a man could be born without sin, animals had to take that place. Their blood could only cover sin, though, not remit it.

    We do, as a society, over-value animals. Yet didn’t God create us in His image? Would He have created us with love and compassion for them if He didn’t feel it first? But still, how many of us would let our children, siblings, or anyone we love die so that we could have an animal instead? God chose us.

    If only there were more Christians who simply believed the Bible. I’ve known pastors who have never read the Bible through, and many don’t even know what order the books of the Bible are in! It baffles me – shouldn’t they, out of all Christians, have done even that much?

    My (limited) understanding of law and grace is this:

    The Law shows us the price required for our redemption.

    Grace pays the price in our stead.

    Grace doesn’t erase the Law, it merely makes it possible to keep.

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