Posted by: powellsinsantacruz | October 20, 2012

Leviticus!

At Church at the moment we are going through the whole of the Bible. We want to see how God’s story fits together, understand more of how Jesus is in every part and develop a passion for the word of God. Yes! I say to all those aims. David, our Pastor, is away just now so others of us are filling in with preaching and, after volunteering, I found out I would be preaching on Leviticus. My enthusiasm dampened slightly. Leviticus is not a book of the Bible I regularly turn to, in fact I think I have only studied it once before and got a bit stuck in the mud with it.

So with this slightly poor attitude to start with, I have been studying Leviticus for the last few weeks. And it has been a surprise and an encouragement. In amongst the laws about not wearing clothing of mixed materials and shouting “Unclean, unclean!” if you are infected, there is gold.

The two biggest things that have struck me have been the Day of Atonement and the Year of Jubilee.

On the Day of Atonement the High Priest takes two goats. One is killed and the blood is sprinkled all over the altar to cleanse the people from their sins. The other is not killed. High Priest puts his hands on it and places all the sins of the people on it. It is then led out into the wilderness and the people get to watch all their shame and greed and lust and selfishness walk out of their sight for ever. An innocent scapegoat takes their shame away. It is an incredible visual image of God forgiving and forgetting and taking our sin that points to Jesus, who much more spectacularly takes the place of both goats.

The Year of Jubilee is also incredible. I don’t really understand how it would have worked, it is so far removed from capitalism. Every fifty years all property was returned to the original family that owned it, people who had had to sell themselves as slaves were freed and the people were not to sow crops on their land. What an answer to poverty! However bad things got for people, they always had the hope of the Jubilee in the future to break the cycle of poverty.

And with it God commands people not to take advantage of each other, or charge interest on loans to the poor because He is a Holy God. And they were to treat the land as God’s, not theirs; they were merely tenants.

It makes me think that if we could live the way Leviticus calls us to live, the way God calls us to live, life would be amazing.

Not so boring after all, this book Leviticus…

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