Posted by: Maggie | October 1, 2007

Leviticus

Here continues my notes as I take the marathon challenge to read the Bible through in 90 Days.  Today:  Leviticus.

We’ll jump right into my first question and answer session…with myself.  This is a rather humorous approach to commentary, mainly because I find the Bible to be both helpful and entertaining.  It’s so fun to read and think about how things were 3500 or so years ago.  

I thought it odd that they had to bake the bread for the offering, seeing as how it was to the Lord, and he would not eat it.  Why didn’t they just give the grain and oil?  Well, later, it becomes more clear, especially as I’m now reading Deut.  The Levites had no inheritance and ate portions of what was brought.

They had a very hard job, it seems to me, caring for the Tabernacle.  But, God says to them through Moses over and over, “I am your inheritance”.  

He was the inheritance of the Israelites as a whole also, but he must have touched them and lived among them in a special way.  I think that is how ministers today are “taken care of”…God is there inheritance.  They see his provision and hand in ways that those of us encumbered by other things never see.  Never touch. 

3:17″You must not eat any fat…”  I’m all for that.

3:13 “Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grin offerings;  add salt to all your offerings”.  I imagine this helped season and preserve the food for the Levites.

5:4  God takes oaths seriously, even careless oaths.  We are to be people of our word. 

5:16-  Whenever you break/harm/take something of someone else’s, you go above and beyond…you replace it, with interest (20%). 

5  How did the priests keep the altars and fires lit all night?  Whew!  What a job!

Ch8  they made these fancy, linen garments for the priests, and then in the ordination, God wanted them to sprinkle blood on them!  If I were that “skilled embroiderer”?  I’d be throwing me a little hissy fit over that, I reckon.  I suppose God meant for the blood to cover them…they were to always were the robe when they approached the Holy of Holies. 

9:4  “…for today the Lord will appear to you”

Ch10  Aaron’s two son’s are killed for not following instructions.   Aaron is not allowed to go out and grieve for them so that he can finish the arduous task of consecration (bless his heart…the most celebrated times for ministers often get interrupted by tragedies).   Aaron is Moses’s brother, yet Aaron listened to him on all these things, as painful as they were to hear…he “remained silent”.  I suppose by this point, he knew this was serious business.

v19, Aaron pleas when he needs some form of grief, not eating his portions of the sacrifices as commanded.  His reason satisfied Moses.  (Sometimes, we have to insist that we need ways to grieve.  People understand, even when demands call for us to be “busy”).

POINTS OF INTEREST:

Moses as a “parent”:  I marked how many times the Lord said to Moses and Aaron:  “Say to the Israelites”.  Over and over and over and over.  How annoying it had to be to repeat this stuff to them over and over.   It’s a lot like parenting.  He was “parenting” these children with God, just like we do.  And it required A LOT OF REPETITION.  I’ve read the same sets of rules over and over…so no telling how many times he actually told them.  And he was patient, repeating, and repeating and repeating it.  At least today we have some help with other teachers and technology to back us up on some basics.  I mean, Sesame Street, for instance. 

Clean/Unclean:  It’s amazing the lengths God took to help them know what food was good to eat and what might make them sick.  Good, practical stuff.  Some people still don’t eat pork because they feel it is “unclean” due to these scriptures.  And pigs are scavengars, they’ll eat anything.  But, most pork we eat today is grain fed, so I’m not sure the same precautions for health reasons really apply.  I’m not sure that “eat no fat” would apply to bacon either, since the bad stuff is often deposited in the fat, and they are only eating grain.  I’m holding to that for now, ’cause I love me some bacon around here.

You just have to read all this stuff to realize how detailed and wise God was and how he increased their understanding and caused them to prosper with all these health rules.  No wonder they were stronger than the surrounding nations, and ready for war!  God’s hand was on them as well, of course.  He went before them, it says, and caused all nations to fear them.

I think that the sanitation requirements for those who came into contact with a dead person or sick person may be less for us today due to better sanitation and soaps.  All they had was water to rinse with.  I find it surprising that God didn’t teach them how to make soap…I’d be interested in more research and input on that.  Perhaps they did not have the products or tools at that time?

vs. 8 is an interesting concept of “the scapegoat”.  I’m not sure I understand all of that at this time, but I’m sure that’s where we get the word today.

Commentary Resumes:

16:23 Aaron was to leave his embroidered garmets in the Most Holy Place.  It’s like a robe you leave in the bathroom or something…it will always be there, ready, and you don’t want to take it outside and get it dirty.  It stays clean and ready for you.

Ch 18  we see the beginning of God pushing people toward distance in sexual relations as the population grows, to keep the gene pool diverse, and cut down on domestic problems, I presume.

19:23 I don’t understand this  about planting trees in new lands, considering the fruit forbidden, or uncircumsized for three years, fourth year the fruit if holy, the fifth year you can eat the fruit.  I wonder what else we know about this. 

v29 considers the whole land when you sin, not just it’s effect on one…example of sinning fills the WHOLE land with wickedness.  v31  Mediums and spiritists DEFILE YOU.

God often gives an instruction, then says, “I am the Lord your God”.   Now, is it just me or does that sound a lot like, “I’m Mom and because I said so!”  See…this is where we get this!  It is perfectly legitimate.

20:7  “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord you God.  Keep my decrees and follow them.  I am the Lord, who makes you holy.”

23:14  God wanted the people to not eat of their own bread or grain until they had made their sacrifices.  Then the very day they brought their offering to God, they could eat it.  This applies to my giving today…do I give first?  Or what is leftover, after I have enjoyed it?

23:29, 16:29–“Deny yourself” work on the Sabbath.  To choose to not work is not just to rest, it is an excersice in self discipline, apparently.  We must “deny” our own agenda, understanding of time tables, and pressures.  It is a discipline of trust and respect for God’s ways.

Ch 23, a Command to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.  For seven days, you are to celebrate before the Lord!

The Sabbath year and Year of Jubilee interesting, and tied together.  People could not pay off debts if they land produced nothing that year.  But, 25:21, those who had planted, God give them three times as much on the sixth year so that they COULD rest on the seventh if they stored it up.  Do you think God gives us this kind of fruitfulness today if we follow him so that we can rest?  Absolutely! 

God wanted rest, even for the land!  He is big on things that work getting rest.  Not just slowing down, but stopping.  Good for us to realize.  Sometimes we justify our work as play…and keep right on going.  God says, “No.  Stop.  Be still.” 

26:13  “I broke the bars of your yoke and enable you to walk with heads held high“.  I love that.  I have experienced that many times in my life!  Yes, he not only gets us out of our (often self-imposed) prisons, (often with invisible bars) but his grace lets us walk with heads held high afterward!  What kind of God does that?  Our God!  Jehovah God!  The one and only.

v14  “But if you do not listen”  God didn’t just “reinforce the positive” and expect the negative to be controlled.  He also spelled out clearly the consequences for disobedience and was firm and consistent on his response to it.  v14-39   

v30, the 10% tithe is mentioned, in the last few verses of the book, only brought up once, though other things are repeated many times in this book.  Sin was the main issue…sacrifices.  After that, then we can talk about the tithe. 
 

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