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Saturday, March 03, 2018

Worship ideas from Leviticus 1-8

Worship in Leviticus

We aren’t bound by OT Law. Acts 15:7b Peter rose up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that a good while ago God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the nations should hear the word of the Good News, and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, testified about them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just like he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why do you tempt God, that you should put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.” [All scripture from the World English Bible, public domain, and, except when otherwise indicated, from Leviticus.]
Acts 15:19 [James speaks] “… my judgment is that we don’t trouble those from among the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood.

In his The Bible Jesus Read: Why the Old Testament Matters, Philip Yancey reminds us that the OT teaches us something that we need to hear: The world revolves around God, not around us. In another book, he says that God kept trying to reach us, first revealing Himself as the Father, in the OT, then as the Son appearing on earth as a man, and now through the Holy Spirit, who lives in us. We need those reminders, and without the Old Testament, we wouldn't have them.

Perfect sacrifices, when offering: Leviticus 1:3 “‘If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. [3:1 and 3:6 also say “without blemish.”]
1:10 “‘If his offering is a burnt offering from the flock … a male without blemish.
I need to give God my best.

Remove the junk: 1:14 “‘If his offering to Yahweh is a burnt offering of birds, then he shall offer his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons. 15 The priest shall bring it to the altar, and wring off its head, and burn it on the altar; and its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar; 16 and he shall take away its crop with its filth, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, in the place of the ashes
"with its filth!" should be taken away. God is a holy God.
No yeast, no honey: 2:11a “‘No meal offering, which you shall offer to Yahweh, shall be made with yeast; for you shall burn no yeast, nor any hone.
I can't explain either of these prohibitions, as the Bible doesn't do so. But one possible lesson from this is that, if I have a conviction (say that I shouldn't drink coffee (!)) which I believe is God-given, I should stick to it, even if others don't share it, or I can't explain it.
First fruits: 2:14 “‘If you offer a meal offering of first fruits to Yahweh, you shall offer for the meal offering of your first fruits grain in the ear parched with fire, bruised grain of the fresh ear.
I think it's a good practice to have devotions early in the day. (I know that that's impossible for some people.) It's also a good practice to give offerings and tithes before we start paying our bills, or buying other things.

Even when you didn’t realize you had sinned: 4:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘If anyone sins unintentionally, in any of the things which Yahweh has commanded not to be done, and does any one of them: 3 if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer for his sin, which he has sinned, a young bull without blemish to Yahweh for a sin offering.
5:2 “‘Or if anyone touches any unclean thing, whether it is the carcass of an unclean animal, or the carcass of unclean livestock, or the carcass of unclean creeping things, and it is hidden from him, and he is unclean, then he shall be guilty.
I have a hard time with that one, but it's there. These commentaries make sense to me:

David Jamieson, Commentary on Leviticus 4 (public domain) All sins may be considered, in a certain sense, as committed "through ignorance," error, or misapprehension of one's true interests. The sins, however, referred to in this law were unintentional violations of the ceremonial laws,--breaches made through haste, or inadvertency of some negative precepts, which, if done knowingly and wilfully, would have involved a capital punishment.

And Matthew Henry wrote this:

But if the offender were either ignorant of the law, as in divers instances we may suppose many were (so numerous and various were the prohibitions)

Continuous: 6:9 “Command Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the law of the burnt offering: the burnt offering shall be on the hearth on the altar all night until the morning; and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it. 12 The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it, it shall not go out; and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning: and he shall lay the burnt offering in order upon it, and shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. 13 Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out.
The application is obvious!

No fat, no blood: 7:23 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘You shall eat no fat, of bull, or sheep, or goat. 24 The fat of that which dies of itself, and the fat of that which is torn of animals, may be used for any other service, but you shall in no way eat of it. 25 For whoever eats the fat of the animal, of which men offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh, even the soul who eats it shall be cut off from his people. 26 You shall not eat any blood, whether it is of bird or of animal, in any of your dwellings. 27 Whoever it is who eats any blood, that soul shall be cut off from his people.’”
I'm not aware of any church that makes a big deal out of eating only meat which has had the blood drained from it. Note that James also mentioned blood. Blood was crucially significant, in both the Old and New covenants. (See below) That must be honored. Perhaps I should be more wary of consuming blood.
As for fat, James didn't forbid that. Although Leviticus says not to eat it, that seems to have changed by New Testament times. There are references to eating from a "fatted calf" (KJV and NKJV language) in Luke 15 and Matthew 22, in celebration, by Jesus, himself. 
Consuming too much fat, or the wrong kinds, may be bad for our physical health.

Cleansed: 8:6 Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. 7 He put the coat on him, tied the sash on him, clothed him with the robe, put the ephod on him, and he tied the skillfully woven band of the ephod on him, and fastened it to him with it. 10 Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and sanctified them. 11 He sprinkled it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its vessels, and the basin and its base, to sanctify them. 12 He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
God is holy!
Blood is symbolic: 8:22 He presented the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. 23 He killed it; and Moses took some of its blood, and put it on the tip of Aaron’s right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot. 24 He brought Aaron’s sons; and Moses put some of the blood on the tip of their right ear, and on the thumb of their right hand, and on the great toe of their right foot; and Moses sprinkled the blood around on the altar.
Again, the significance of blood, symbolically cleansing the priests. 

Thanks for reading!

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