"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Focus on Leviticus - Part 2 of 2

This weekend I read eight short essays in a publication called Biblical Viewpoint: Focus on Leviticus. Please read part 1 here.

The conclusion ...

5. In speaking of contagious uncleanness (as some unclean "issues" were contagious like a disease) such as accidentally touching an unclean person or coming into contact with a quilt or saddle previously occupied by the unclean, the author is not satisfied with hygienic reasons, but looks again for spiritual lessons."In struggling to remain clean, the perceptive Israelite recognized his inherent wickedness. No matter how hard he tried he could not please God. Ultimately he had to thrust himself on God, hoping in God's gracious salvation (Psa. 119:81). Modern men and women are no better able to satisfy God through personal efforts. Like the Israelites of long ago, we too must depend on the mercy of God." (pg. 31 -- Creason)

This goes back to the Luke 18 parable of Jesus' that I mentioned in the first post. Also this thought of our being sinful is probably unpopular in our world because we like to believe we are basically good people who just sometimes do bad things. It's rather hard to believe God would see us as "unclean" and "sinful" when we try to bite our tongues and restrain ourselves from giving full vent to our anger against rude and cruel people. I totally get that. Our society has very few sins any more. Even things that 50 or 100 years ago would have made people blush and bring shame to them, no longer does. We have made a mockery of sin by making it beautiful and lovely and desirable instead of remembering sin is like a nasty, trash-and-dead-animal stench to our holy God. (Yeah, it's bad.)

6. About the Purification Laws -- "Uncleanness removed an Israelite from all contact with the Holy God, and this fellowship could only be restored through God-given purification rites. That God would provide these for His people gives testimony to His mercy. God desires that men see themselves as unclean sinners before Him; but more than that, He longs for them to experience His cleansing." (pg. 32 -- Creason)

I've said for a while that God is the Savior. But as Jesus told the self-righteous people of his time, it's not the healthy who need the physician, but the sick. Unless we realize we are sinners in need of a Savior (God), we can't experience His cleansing. Stop trying to clean yourself good enough for God! It's like giving your baby a pack of wipes and telling her to clean her dirty diaper. She just ends up smearing poop all over herself and probably the changing table and wall as well. Stop trying to be your own Savior and yield yourself to the One who can cleanse you and make you white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).

7. General Lessons from the Purification Laws --

First, the waiting periods meant separation from the sanctuary. This teaches that sin of all kinds breaks fellowship with God.

Second, the purification rituals were almost a daily part of life. As there was a need for constant ceremonial cleansing in Israel's day, so modern believers must seek cleansing from sin on a daily basis.

Third, God provided careful procedures for Israel's cleansing. Those who attempt to find God's acceptance any other way were sadly mistaken. In all eras, God's cleansing must come His way -- or not at all.

Fourth, many conditions required blood sacrifices, thus teaching that cleansing from sin demands expiation. The animal victims paid an awful price, the shedding of their life's blood. These pictured Christ's perfect sacrifice on the cross of Calvary." (pg. 34-35 -- Creason)

8. One author suggested this as the key verse to understanding the purpose of this book --

11 I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high. (Lev. 26)

Thinking of this verse plus this main theme -- "Holiness is essential for fellowship with God." -- and it all makes a bit more sense.

At least to me. :)


Joni said...

Oh, I really liked the part about becoming unclean by touching anything an unclean person touched. I've always thought that it would be impossible to remain clean from unclean things because SO many things could make one unclean. I really appreciate the perspective of that being a lesson about how easily we are made impure and how important daily cleansing is.

Susanne said...

Joni, thank you for your comment.

". I've always thought that it would be impossible to remain clean from unclean things because SO many things could make one unclean."

Yes, but it seems maybe that was the reason - so we'd see it was impossible to keep clean and realize only God could save us. I've heard it said we can't be saved until we realize we are "lost" so maybe realizing our sinful and desperate situation is a step in the right direction! :)