14.5 Moses 14, Day 5

(Side Note: Before I begin – I was sad to look ahead and see that it does not appear that BSF will cover Leviticus 23.  I’m hopeful that it is included as background in the Revelation study because understanding the feasts is very useful as a prophecy/foreshadowing of God’s plan for the future of mankind.  I recommend taking a few minutes and reading the information on Feasts on Hebrew4Christians.com for a quick overview).

Defiling the Land

We think of land as, well, dirt and rocks.  It is not alive, inanimate.  It is neither good or evil, it is just land.

But then we turn around and have hold the consecration of places, rooms and buildings.  We pray over and annoint a church building to consecrate it, to literally join it “with sacred”.  We set it apart for holy use.

So if a place can be consecrated (joined with the sacred), it can also be desecrated (separated from the sacred).  This is not done by something the land does, it is done by the actions of those in the place.  They leave a stain, a mark on the land.  They take a sacred place and treat it with “violent disrepect and violation”.  They act of descrating a place is to defile it.

God warned the Israelite people about their sin.  He provided specific rules and laws concerning moral, civil and ceremonial behavior, but the moral code was the one with impact on the land.  Acts of immorality separate a place from God.

Many in our time like to believe “I can do whatever I want with my body as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else.”  But God is very clear – (1) your body doesn’t belong to you, you didn’t make it, it was a gift from God and (2) immorality always does hurt someone else.  We may not see it, but the consequences of immorality permeate the very land we stand on, defiling it and separating it from being joined with God.

Too often the response of Christians is to simply ignore the immorality – live and let live.  But Leviticus 5:1 taught that if anyone is a witness and refuses to testify, that is a sin.

So, what should we do?  Organize pickets?  Hold up signs? Scream and shout?  I don’t see that as the model that is set forth for us to follow.

I think our appropriate response is in the instructions that God gave to both Abraham and Joshua about the promised land.  Walk through it.  Cover the breadth and width of the land.  Every where the sole of your foot steps will be given to you.  (See Genesis 13 and Joshua 1).  While we are walking we need to be praying.  Only God has the ability to make something sacred because only He is sacred.  Only God has the ability to renew a place.  Only God has the ability to redeem a place.

Where will you start?  Your home?  Your neighborhood? Your kid’s schools?  Your church?  What if we all showed up 5 or 15 minutes early this week to BSF and walked the halls and classrooms and sanctuary of the church in which we are meeting, asking God to reclaim the land we stand on from the consequences of sin.

I don’t know about you, but the thought of being “vomited out of the land” is really not appealing to me!

 

My Answers:

10.
The life of a creature is in its blood.  Blood is life.  Blood is required because loss of life is required.  The original gift of God in the first covenant between God and Adam was life – in return he required obedience of 1 law.  When mankind chose disobedience, we forfeited any rights to the gift.  Atonement is not possible without the return of what was given to us – life.

11.
a.
God has high standards about sexual relations

b.
Listen to God, not what they have observed others doing.  “I am the LORD your God.”  (my daughter said this sounded like me – “do it because I’m your parent – that is sufficient.”)  If you defile the land, it will voit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

12.
a.
Use honest scales – conduct self and staff not with an goal of maximizing possible gain but of being honest and fair and forthright in every business dealing

b.
God’s decrees for a consecrated people are very serious

 

 

14.4 Moses 14, Day 4

Being Holy

In Leviticus 11:45 God says:, “I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

Our word holy comes from the word whole.  God is whole.  He is complete.  He lacks nothing, He wants for nothing, He needs nothing.

But when we look at our own lives, we are not whole.  Our life looks jagged at the edges, missing in the middle.  We resemble something much more like a puzzle piece.

But we are a puzzle piece created by God.  God has made a place in Himself for us to fit exactly.  God doesn’t fill us in so that we are whole, He invites us to join Him in His wholeness.  Not because He needs us to complete us, but because it is only in a relationship with Him that we become part of the full and complete picture (what we were created to be).

If we are not connected to God, we still recognize that something is missing in our life and we try to fill it in.  We look around and try to see what we can connect with.  Our focus is on ourselves.  We experiment.  We try all kinds of different things, every matter of perversion, because nothing that we try to fill in with ever satisfies completely.  It can’t.

God’s laws in Leviticus are to help us restore our puzzle piece life back to the design God had intended, not to leave us lacking, but to join us to Him.  To be holy because He is holy.  This holiness is meant to permeate our lives, to touch everything about the way we live, eat, bathe, even use the restroom.  God wants all of us consecrated wholly to Him.

 

My Answers:

8.
a. Dietary – clean and unclean animals
b. After giving birth
c. Skin diseases
d. Mold
e. Making people clean from skin diseases
f. Making things clean from mold
g. Liquid body wastes

9.
a.
It isn’t what goes in that makes a person unclean, it is what they hold in their heart and comes out.

b.
That God is holy, they are to be holy and should consecrate themselves full to God

c.
Fasting, prayer, obedience

14.3 Moses 14, Day 3

The purpose of Offerings

The sacrificial offerings were not punishment, nor were they adequate payment.  This was not a quid pro quo – you did the crime now you must pay the fine – arrangement.  Offerings were about honor and respect and relationship.  God had given everything to His people.  It pleased Him when they gave part of it back.

But, God also knew His people better than the people knew themselves.  He knew they would be tempted to just go through the motions.  Giving Him back things of lesser value, giving Him back from their excess or trying to bargain and negotiate on what was going to be sufficient to be enough of a give back to Him.

But the sacrifices were not for that purpose.  The moment those thoughts come in to play, the sacrifices are no longer gifts to God, they are obligations – they are something God is taking from them.  Instead of building a relationship with God, they become something that separates us from God.  That is why the giving is not about the gift, it is about the heart of the giver.

There was a price to be paid for sin.  But the death of a bull, goat, pigeon or dove was never going to pay that price.  But, God blessed the Israelite people by giving them the ability and instructions to have a sacrificial heart, just as God does.  God didn’t provide the Israelite people with a failed system of repayment – He provided them with a gift of participation and revelation into the atonement He was going to make for their sin through the death of His only perfect son.  The gifts of sacrifice were foreshadows of God’s gift on our behalf.

We should continue to make offerings to God.  Not sacrifices as payment – any attempt to add to the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf is a slap in the face to God that somehow we consider the sacrifice of His son to be insufficient.  But offerings of gratitude, praise and worship.  Offerings of denial of self through fasting and meditation and prayer to be filled more fully with the Holy Spirit are honoring.  Setting aside the “normal” of others and, in so doing, setting apart our lives to God’s service, is an honoring sacrificial offering to the Lord.

 

My Answers:

6.
Grain: fine flour covered in oil and incense, memorial portion on altar, rest to Aaron and sons
Fellowship: either male or female animal from the herd – blood splashed on altar, fat and entrails burned at altar
Sin offering, Bull for priest or all, male or female goat for individual sin – blood in tent, sprinkle 7 times, poured outside, fat removed and burned at the altar, remainder of animal (hide, head, organs, meat) taken out of the camp, burnt there
Guilt: ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value in silver

7.
a.
Atone means to make amends, to repair a wrong – The act of being made one again with God in a proper relationship

b.
God paid the full price for all – a full atonement

c.
money, time, talents, heart, body, voice, teaching, praise

14.2 BSF Moses 14, Day 2

A New Normal

The word normal is defined as conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

So what happens to normal when God moves in?

That is what we see in our lesson today.  The Hebrews are at the foot of Mount Horeb.  God has given them the 10 commandments (twice) and God has consented to dwell among them and to go with them.  He has given them instructions for the construction of the tabernacle, it has been built and He has filled the tent with His glory.  And, with that, normal is no longer the same.

For 430 years normal was defined by the Egyptians.  For a couple of months now, normal has been in transition.  What are going to be the standards for this new nation?  What is expected?

In love, God spoke.  The new normal isn’t going to be just about how the Hebrews live with each other and neighboring tribes and nations.  Much more importantly it is going to be about how they live with God.  The new normal starts with offerings.  Everything the Hebrews have came from God.  Without Him, they are slaves.  Without Him, they have no food or water.  Without Him, they do not have life or freedom.  In the new normal, they remember this and give an offering back to God, not out of obligation or fear, but out of honor and respect and gratitude for Him.

God doesn’t want to be a god in a box that they pull out when they need something.  God wants to be in a complete relationship with them – He desires and commands that they consecrate themselves and their entire lives to Him.  Dedicated fully, wholly, to be His people and He will be their God.

While the sacrifices have discontinued through the one, everlasting sacrifice that Christ made for us, we must not lose sight of this new normal.  We live in times were sinners strongly desire for their sin to not be seen as sin, but to be seen as normal.  Sinning is normal, right?  Lying, cheating, sexual immorality… all just normal, right?  And sadly, without God, that is exactly what normal is.  But, when God is in the house, when God is in the neighborhood, community, tribe and nation, there are higher standards.  Why?  Because He is the Lord.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
The tabernacle construction was complete, it had been fully constructed for the first time and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

b.
For consecration – God would live among them and they were to dedicate their lives and what they had been given to Him.

4.
a.
Male animal without defect, bull, sheep, goat.  Or, a dove or young pigeon.

b.
Presented whole, alive, laying hands upon it.  Presented to the priest at the tabernacle.  Sacrifices were never left-overs – they were first-overs.

c.
killed, prepared according to specific instructions (internal organs removed and washed, birds defeathered), burned all of it on the altar – a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD

5.
a.
Our body and the church is the dwelling place of God on earth with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone – Christ was sacrifice once to take away the sins of the many

b.
God, as your glory filled the tabernacle, please fill me with your spirit.  Shine your light even in the shadow areas of my heart that I have kept from you, the sins and guilt I have not confessed, and reveal it.  Make me holy in you.