Friday, February 2, 2007

The Leviticus Roadblock

I don’t know how many times I have heard someone say that they had decided to read through the bible starting at Genesis … everything progressed according to plan … until… they hit a roadblock --Leviticus !!!

Leviticus is a book filled with laws and ordinances, rituals and feasts and offerings and sacrifices, ceremonial laws and severe penalties if these laws are broken . There are laws regarding the dress and conduct of priests and their priestly duties in the temple. There are laws regarding the temple worship and laws for redeeming persons and property dedicated to God as well as laws regarding health and cleanliness issues…and moral and relational laws.
These are the laws and commandments that God gave Moses, according to which the Israelite people were to govern their daily lives. .

Reading through this book with all the details that are so irrelevant to our present life, we may wonder why the book is even in the bible.
It is there for a very good reason.

Every month we have to pay our bills… not a chore most of us look forward to , but something we must do if we wish to keep some semblance of financial order in our lives. If we have the resources to pay our bills comfortably it is not a very painful experience…. but all of us have at one point or another had a time where there was a huge gap between the ‘owing’ side of our ledger and the ‘available funds’ on the other side. We react with a sense of panic, nervous tension twisting our insides. We worried and lay awake at night….agonizing over how we would ever pay our debts and fearful of the consequences .
Imagine how you would have felt if in the midst of your troubled anxiety there was suddenly a knock on your door and when you answer it someone informs you that they have just cancelled all your debts.. that they are paid in full.
Who do you think would have the greater sense of elation and thankfulness…. the one sitting at the table who was able to comfortably pay his bills, or you- having had your insurmountable debt paid? You , of course … right?
Until you recognize that you have a debt beyond your ability to pay , you cannot truly appreciate the forgiveness of that debt..

Leviticus is the statement of your debt owing.
Many people think they can sit comfortably in their life and balance their sin debt by their good deeds. If you are inclined toward chosing to earn your own righteousness, then here in Leviticus is the list of what you must do. But there is a catch ….you must pay it perfectly , in full… no partial payment is accepted. One slip and all your efforts are in vain, all debt balances revert back to original amount owing.
James 2:10 says “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”

Man is quick to believe that he is capable of taking care of things himself. Those of us who are parents remember how young our children were when they first insisted “Me do it !”
God allowed the Israelites to try to keep His law and we have the recorded history of their miserable failure.
Had it been possible for man to earn his way back into relationship with God then Jesus would not have had to die. Galatians 2:21 says., “..for if righteousness comes through the law.. then Christ died in vain.”

God knew , of course, that man was incapable of fulfilling a Holy God’s requirement for righteousness , and so from the beginning He was waiting to bring in the New Covenant , ushered in with the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God, that satisfied the sin debt - .once and for all. ( Heb. 8:7-13)
The first , imperfect covenant was necessary and had a purpose … it made us cognizant of the severity of our sin debt and made us recognize our need of a saviour.

If you have never read through the book of Leviticus , I challenge you to do it, keeping in mind as you read that you are looking at your personal invoice owing !
It is this list of requirements that Colossians 2:14 is talking about.. Jesus took this list and nailed it to his cross, wiping out the judgment against us. The debt was paid in full… Jesus personally fulfilled every requirement and allowed us to go free – if only we accept His gift and entrust our hearts and lives to Him.
If Jesus had not paid for your sin debt on the cross , the only way for you to earn your salvation would be to keep every law and commandment in Leviticus.
I guarantee that reading Leviticus through this viewing lens will fill you with gratitude for what Jesus has done for you ! The debt is paid !

Colossians 2:14 “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”

1 comment:

Lovella said...

Reading through is a struggle alright. How lovely that we can now download the Bible onto our Ipod and let someone else deal with the names and places so foreign to us.
It is an important read . .you are right.