Saturday, April 27, 2013

What does it take to be perfect? Lev 1-7

Perfection only through the sacrificial offering of Christ
Do you know anyone who seems impossible to please. Their perfectionist personality drives you up the wall because it seems like you can never measure up. As broken people it seems almost unrealistic to expect anyone to be perfect.

Then why does God expect us to be perfect? He made us and knows everything about our makeup, if there is anyone who is able to understand the extent of our frailty it should be God.  This perfect expectation from God is what I initially see when I begin reading the third book of the Bible in Leviticus. I see a display of God's holiness through his fellowship offering expectations and it causes me to shrink back with inadequacy. But what is God really trying to reveal about Himself to His people Israel and to us today in our text of Leviticus 1-7?

The book of Leviticus is named after the tribe of Levi. The priests were chosen by God to lead Israel in applying all religious and civil instructions which God had given. They were the ones who helped the people make atonement (make right) for their sins so that they will be able to approach God in worship.
As we start reading the first chapters of Leviticus, we see that God's rules about the fellowship offerings, reveal how Israel were meant to approach Him in intimacy as well as what should be done in case of disobedience. After you read the first seven chapters we see a set of complicated offering requirements which God required from His people to build on the relationship they already had. it was not enough for God to live with His people, he wanted to be in a close relationship with His people Israel and consequently with us today. But through the sacrifices of bulls and lambs and turtle doves? what is all that about?

*Offering Purpose What was offered
Burnt Offering (lev 1)  Atonement for sin, complete dedication to God  Perfect looking-bull, sheep, goat, turtle dove or pigeon
Grain Offering (Lev 2) Thanksgiving to God
Fine flour mixed with olive oil and frankincense, cakes made of fine flour and baked in oven or green heads of roasted grain mixed with olive oil and frakincense
Peace Offering (Lev 3) Fellowship between the worshipper and God. Thank, votive & Freewill offering all expressed gratitude to God According to wealth, perfect looking- herd, flock or goat.

Sin Ofering
(Lev 4)

To pay (atonement) for sins done unknowingly
According to wealth-Perfect looking bull, goat or lamb, trutle doves, pigeons, grain
Trespass Offering (Lev 5-7)
To pay (atonement) for sins commited unknowingly expecially where restitution
can be made
Perfect looking lamb or ram

Well let us review and maybe we can come to an understanding about all these sacrifices. In Exodus God had given Israel laws and had come to live with His people in the tabernacle. Now He provides specific ritual sacrifices which will cover sin in order to allow Him to express even more fully Himself to Israel.  The sacrifices offered the means for a Holy God to be in close relationship with an unholy people (Isa 64:6). These rituals were not given to Israel to help them be in relationship with God, they already were God's chosen people. These rituals were given to allowIsrael to be counted as Holy, as perfect before God, hence giving room for intimacy with their God Yahweh.  So although we have no right to demand perfection from any man, God has a right to demand perfection from us because He is perfect, and so He cannot deny Himself.

Leviticus 1-7 shows us the extent of God's perfection, it displays the weight of a Holy God living with less than perfect men. We see through the pages of Leviticus that it takes so much trouble to keep a broken, imperfect people to maintain perfection. How is God going to sustain this way of worship though the ages? Will his people Israel meet His perfect standard of Holiness? What does it take for us today, to be right with God? Why aren't we or Israel for that matter, offering sacrifices of lambs and goats to maintain a relationship with God? These are all questions which will be revealed more clearly as we continue reading the Bible, but I will attempt to answer this only briefly here today. 

God does not sustain this sacrificial system of making his chosen people Israel perfect, and God's people do not perfectly keep this system of worship anyway. This sacrificial system in Leviticus was temporal, it was a foreshadow to the one perfect sacrifice which will be offered once and for all. A perfect Lamb placed on the altar of God, making provision not only for Israel but for all of mankind to be perfect before God. As a reflection on this animal sacrifice system Hebrews 10  says,
The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.(Heb10:1-2)… 10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time (Heb 10:10).
Jesus Christ was that perfect sacrificed lamb, who took away the sins of the world (John 1:29). He satisfied the perfect Holiness of God which allows all who will believe to be in right relationship with God and to enjoy even further an intimacy with Him. 
"Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory" (Rom 5:1-2)
I know the fulness of this plan has not yet been revealed at this point in our story, but we use our reading today to see why Israel and all Christians today have no need for animal sacrifices and how privileged we are that a perfect lamb took our place and all God requires from us is to believe on the Lamb of God who took away all sin, past, present and future sins. We have no need to haul up lambs and goats to some temple and look for some priest to accept our sacrifice each time we do something wrong against God. We an imperfect people can be made perfect through the Cross of Christ once and for all, now this is comfort for the soul. I leave you with this 7minutes clip by Tim Chaddick, that goes into the full implication of this sacrificial system for us today.....Until next time read, share and be comforted. 
The Sacrificial System by Tim Chaddick click here for slower internet connection

*Summary of Sacrificial offering table taken from Earl D Radmacher, Ron B. Allen, H. Wayne House, The Nelson NKJV Study Bible, (Nashville:Thomas Nelson, 1997), 197

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear your thoughts, thanks.

My Testimony