Numbers 3 and 4 God is a God of order and it is revealed in these two chapters how He has chosen the clan of the Levites to surround the Holy Tabernacle. After Moses selected the Levites to surround the Tabernacle; he gave them a place of service. They were responsible to care for the sanctuary. Who in our churches today is responsible for our sanctuaries? What jobs do they have? Do we stop and thank them for their work?
The tribe of Levi was responsible to serve Aaron; to care for his needs by attending to the service of the tabernacle. Today there is great responsibility in our churches where elders and deacons attend to the leadership of our churches. These who have “served well gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith..” [selected words 1Tim 3:13] Today stop and pray for them for they carry a great weight on their shoulders and one day will stand before God for their service.
God wanted the children of Israel to remember that all work in the kingdom of God is royal service, whether up front or behind the scenes. The psalmist noted: “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of the wickedness.” [Ps 84:10]
What role brings joy and gladness to your heart because you see yourself as a servant for the Lord?
Numbers 1-2 It has been two full years and still, the people are no closer to the Promised Land than the last experience of the Passover night or their exodus from Egypt. Yet, God’s plan is to bring the Israelites to the Promised Land. As part of that plan, He has Moses begin numbering the men twenty years and older to be His servants in peacetime and in war. What we lack in comprehension, the Holy Spirit reveals to us in our understanding. God wants us to know that He is a God of details. He knows when a sparrow falls; He knows each hair on your head. God has a plan, and your name was on it from eternity past.
God knew that Moses needed others to serve, and God devised a plan for His people. From every tribe, men were to be ready to serve in whatever capacity God had planned. That was then, and it is the same today. God cares for you, and He has chosen you for His kingdom’s work. He calls you His servant. A servant serves others even when inconvenient, whether he or she dislikes the duty. The circumstances are unimportant. God is looking at our heart’s attitude towards His work.
In eternity past, He chose you and me for His work, and God did all of that so men who are in spiritual darkness will hear the good news. He uses people like you and me. Amazingly God wants to be glorified through us. Stop and think about that today and praise God for His lovingkindness that He chose you for His work. It is called evangelism.
What work are you doing today that will glorify Him?
Lev 26 God desires that His people to be light among the nations. He desires that we obey Him and receive blessings but just like an errant child who has been warned, God will bring about cursings to correct His children. “Be sure your sins will find you out.” [Num 32:23] This is as true today as it was then: “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” [Prov 22:15] Like the Israelites of old, today we too face fallow land and fallow hearts.
We foolishly say this was OT; not for us who live under grace and in the NT. A principle is a principle, and God is God. He is “does not go back on his word or change his mind, for he is not a human being who changes his mind.” [1Sam 15:29] God desires that we obey Him now and forever so that He may bless us. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1Jn 1:9] Then He will return and heal our land and our people.
Lev 25 Growing up, I often heard my grandfather say those three words as if they were written in the Holy Grail. My father was not a farmer, nor would he ever be. He was a craftsman with his hands but not in the sense of fixing tractors and sowing seed. Nevertheless, being that submissive son, he listened and purchased land. He did the right thing to lease the land to those who knew how to farm over my grandfather’s objections. The Israelites knew about land and how to care for it, and how to grow crops. Just like God gave the Sabbath for man to rest, the land needed its rest as well. Even today, farmers know that principle. He who yields to that and reaps crops that are strong but he who does not reaps little or even poor crops. It is the principle of sowing and reaping.
This entire chapter shows us God’s principle of “You shall keep the Sabbath to keep it holy.” [Ex. 20:8] God set aside the seventh day as a day of rest in which we are to do no work. The US used to have the “blue laws,” and all businesses were closed on Sunday as a day of rest. But, men do not listen, and men do not heed those principles. Instead, we now have a seven-day workweek, and men are weary. Could it be if we abided by these principles that we would find rest for our weary souls and our sowing and reaping would bear fruit abundantly? God is testing us to see if we will observe His ways and trust Him for His provision for our every need.
Lev 24 Today in our secular world, we find that men “yawn” at the Ten Commandments, but this chapter proves that God takes any violation seriously. When a young man loses his temper in a fight he utters a curse taking the Lord’s name in vain. Others hear of it, resulting in him being isolated and in custody. In today’s world, we hear God’s name taken in vain but more often than not men sigh or yawn and go on their way. Our ears have become less inclined to understand the gravity of this sin but God sees this as a travesty against His character for He is a jealous God and will not share his glory with another.
“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” [Exodus 20:7]
Moses seeks God and His counsel and He gave Moses this instruction. The people who heard this are to place their hands on his head, and then he is to be stoned. We see this as harsh, but God sees it as a lesson to remember what He said: “I AM the Lord.”
Where are we disobeying this commandment? Where are we careless by our word choices? Where are we failing to correct those who disobey it out of ignorance or choice? The commandment is clear; revere God and His Name.
Leviticus 21 What does it mean to be holy in an unholy world? It means that we stand apart from that which is profane. It means that we see ourselves as saved by His grace and cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. It means we are to ask ourselves if we are partnering with those who do not believe. It means we are to come out from among them and be pure, which seems like a strict order as we move and live in a godless society, but so did Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Esther, Ruth, and Jesus.
So back to our question: what does it mean to be holy? It means that we are to remember that we are part of the priesthood of believers only because of the gift of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It means what God gave Aaron and the High Priest as a standard applies to us in our present age. We do it when we present Christ as His ambassadors and implore them to be reconciled to God in the same way we were. It means that we mirror Christ in our walk and talk, and we can only do that when we know God. We know His character, His motives for our holiness, His standards of purity and righteousness.
God has said over and over: you should be holy because I am holy. You are my people, and thus you stand before an unholy world. The question before us is; are we a holy separated people? Only through Jesus can we have the missing puzzle pieces of purity, righteousness, and honor.
One thing we must remember as we study this marvelous book of “you must not and you must” is that these are the very words of God. They were written that we might be instructed in not what we think is right but what God thinks is right. As Ken Boa said “God only has to say “no” once for something to be wrong.” God’s purpose is that His people who are set apart for him are to be holy because he is holy.
In addition, they were written so that we remember that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” [2Tim 3:16]
God was preparing to send the Israelites into a polluted nation. He did not want them polluted with what he considered abominable and thus why he spent an entire book explaining the “must not’s and the musts.” It is because He loved them and He loves us that these are written “for our instruction.”
Today read these chapters with those thoughts in mind.
Lev 5 “It is all about holiness before a holy God.”
One phrase is repeated in this chapter about sin: “even if he did not realize it…” This is not talking about intentional rebellion, but those sins that we unintentionally commit and then realize. When sin brings guilt we have a choice: we can ignore it OR confess it to God seeking His forgiveness and cleansing.
These Leviticus chapters were written to the Israelites to demonstrate the love and mercy of God upon these unintentional sins and how men were able to seek God’s forgiveness. Then people had to do it over and over and over. Jesus paid it all on the cross once and for all. Both then and now all must seek God’s mercy gift. God wanted us to realize that sin is not just against a fellow citizen, but God Himself. God is right to condemn our sin because He is holy, and He calls us to be holy. Without the sacrifice we stand guilty before God in need of atonement.
Today we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to speak to our heart. We must confess our sin; seek God’s forgiveness; trust that He is faithful and righteous and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [1John 1:9 paraphrase]
Do you need this today? Do not delay but listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Leviticus 1 to 4 Genesis and Exodus are books of the historical record of the Israelites and the three pictures of His presence:
The hovering cloud by day
The pillar of fire by night
The Tabernacle’s placement in the middle of the camp
Now in Leviticus, we find God calling the people and how to have a personal access to Him through the sacrificial system. Also, it will teach us how to be spiritually acceptable to God with clear instructions on how to be holy and reverent. For the Israelites to be a holy people, they must stop worshiping dead idols, a.k.a. the golden calf, and turn to the abiding, living true God, [1Thess 1:9] Have we also taken this step?
The sacrifices reminded the sinner of the costliness of sin and the needed atonement for forgiveness. The sacrificial system used an animal who became the sinner’s substitute, but now Jesus is our sinless substitute. The animal’s blood paid the price for the sinful person, but the perfect unblemished Lamb of God’s blood cleanses the sinner from all unrighteousness. Sinners transferred their sin to the animal, but now, we transfer our sin to Jesus. We are reminded that we were once dead in our trespasses but now are alive from the dead. Now, as cleansed sinners saved by grace, we are to present our bodies as a sacrifice—alive, holy, and pleasing to God—which is our reasonable service–not in payment for sin but as instruments to be used for righteousness. [Rom 6:13].
Exodus 39-40 Over and over, we read the words: As the Lord commanded. Moses’s obedience to the words of the Lord is significant. In the NT, we read, “if you love me, you will obey my commandments.” [Jn 14:15] Do we realize that just as the Israelites were in bondage to Egypt; we were in bondage to Satan’s ways before He chose us and called us out to be His people? No longer in bondage, now we are to obey what Jesus has commanded, for this is the way “everyone will know … that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” [Jn13:35]
How relevant these words are: “Moses did all that the Lord commanded.” We are to do the same for our Lord Jesus Christ. These three titles of Jesus are used by Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians eleven times.
Lord – Jesus is God in the flesh. When the word “Lord” is added to Jesus Christ it means, you are declaring that He is Lord; He is God.
Jesus – Jehovah is Salvation, the Son of God;
Christ– the Anointed One.
Will you hear these words: Well done thou good and faithful servant when you leave this earth and meet He who is Lord; the author and finisher of your faith because you have done all that He commanded?