Thursday, September 20, 2007

It’s hard for you to approach God

Reflections on Leviticus

I’m going to start a series of posts of reflections upon Leviticus. I wouldn’t classify these as exegesis or exposition or even as a homily. They are simply my thoughts and meditations from reading the passages. I’m not going to go through every chapter, much less every verse.

Leviticus 1 describes the procedures for the burnt offering to the Lord. What immediately catches my eye is that while the worshipper was involved, the real sacrifice was performed by the priest. The Israelite could make his offering, but someone else carried out the atonement – sprinkling the blood and burning the sacrifice. He could take his gift only so far; he needed someone else to carry it to God.

The next thing that I see is that the sacrifice was to be perfect. God was not interested in that which was sickly or weak or blind. If you were going to bring an offering to God, it was going to be the last animal you wanted to part with. You worshipped God with something valuable or not at all.

Finally, I see a careful procedure. You don’t approach God in any old way. He is holy, and you will do things in a careful way that acknowledges His holiness – and by extension your sinfulness. As the NIV Archaeology Study Bible put it, “they were to approach God only on His terms.”

It is not difficult to see how the Law of Moses was to prepare the Israelites for Christ: God is so holy I cannot even approach the altar, and He is interested only in what is perfect – and that’s not me.


joey said...

Great reflection! This is a good reminder about how I often flippantly and irreverantly come to God in prayer and scripture reading. (which i know isn't the point of the passage, but God's holiness/greatness is definately magnified in the Levitical law) Thanks for this.

ChrisB said...

"Point" of the passage or not, anything that reminds us of God's holiness is good.

Thanks for stopping by!