Could there POSSIBLY be a song for today?? YOU KNOW IT IS TRUE 🙂 In reading Leviticus I am reminded over an over again that God desires changed hearts, hearts that truly want to live FOR HIM. The name of the song is “Change My Heart Oh God” by Hillsong.
Does anything in Leviticus REALLY have anything to do with us today?
I read a book called “Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts” by Thomas Nelson Publishers to gain insight into each book of the Bible. It has a chapter dedicated to each book of the bible. One of the comments about Leviticus was: “It has been said that it took God only ONE night to get Israel out of Egypt BUT it took forty years to get Egypt out of Israel.” This was a powerful statement for me when reading these 3 chapters in Leviticus today. God is laying the foundation for getting ALL HIS people learned in Egypt out of them so they can truly be SET APART.
As we read Leviticus, know God wrote this book to teach HIS people HOW to be HOLY and HOW to come before HIM. There are parts of the book that are directly meant to train the priests because NO-THING could come into the presence of God that was “not without blemish or defect.” The priests were to educate the people on this as well so the people would KNOW exactly what kind of sacrifices to bring into the Tabernacle. God desires HIS people to be HOLY… set apart. The Israelites are SURROUNDED by every man-made religion and ritual you can imagine, plus God is about to move them. That cloud and fire will not sit on the Ark forever, God will pick up after 2 years and start heading to the Promise Land (next week). AGAIN… HE wants HIS people grounded in the LAWS… NO place for QUESTIONS… NO chance to say… “BUT.. I didn’t know “that” was wrong.” HE wants this for them so they are PROTECTED as they begin to enter new territory with practices similar to what they were “comfortable” with in Egypt.
Some of the examples in Leviticus sound pretty “wild” to us today. Look at 19:27-28 about cutting the hair and tattoo marks. “Back in the day” according to Dake’s Reference, cutting the hair and beard were idolatrous practices in Egypt, Canaan and Arabia. It was a means of signifying dedications to the idols. Hebrews were not to follow these customs as a testimony that they were not idol worshipers with their neighbors. Tattooing was practiced in various pagan nations from the earliest of times, as well as markings with all kinds of paint and cuttings. These were superstitious! Does that mean we should not have our hair cut or have tattoos …. NO it does not. But.. (I know…. There is always a but in the picture right?) … it does call us as followers of Christ to search our hearts, not just in these areas but in many areas of our lives. WHY is it important to us to get a tattoo, or shave our heads, or wear certain clothing, etc.? The thing that stands out to me again…. Is we personally must ask God to search our hearts. Revelation 2:23 –“Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds”. If we are doing ANY thing out of rebellion .. we might want to pray through the rebellion, se what the Word has to say about rebellion, speak to a Christian counselor, our pastor, etc. HOWEVER, if we are having a tattoo for a special reason such as part of our testimony, part of a symbol that God brought you through cancer, etc., then Scripture says NOTHING about them being wrong.
Orthodox Jewish people today still take both these in a Literal sense. That is why they are not taottooed at all AND that is why you see many of them with these long curly sideburns on the sides of their heads.
Lev 20:6 – says: “The person who turns to those who have familiar spirits and to wizards (being unfaithful to Israel’s Maker Who is her Husband and thus) playing the harlot after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among HIS people…” AMP. WHERE did the Israelites learn this behavior (and many of the others listed)… from the Egyptians and many of the Israelites learned these behaviors very young. GOD was cleansing them while teaching them.
Anyway, back to the Various Laws. How do we know which ones still apply today and which ones don’t? KNOW that Scripture makes it clear that God cares about the INSIDE of a person more than the outside. “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7.) Jesus said, “He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:20-23.)
All these laws may not have been part of our Covenant but what it shows is How God feels about our behaviors. For example, if a man sleep with his daughter-in-law they should be put to death. When you hear that phrase ‘put to death’ it needs to ring in our ears “WOW, this REALLY is not pleasing to God!” And, no you were not in the wrong chapter … you were re-reading the 10 Commandments. … again …with a few more details. People trained in public or motivational speaking are trained to repeat things using different words, different examples, etc., so that people will REMEMBER the message. Well … God IS the greatest public and motivational speaker EVER!! And HE repeats things often for a reason. Zig Ziglar once said: “If God would have wanted us to live in a permissive society HE would have given us TEN SUGGESTIONS and not TEN Commandments.” 🙂
These laws showed concern for:
- the unprivileged,
- the poor,
- the foreign,
- the disabled,
- He wants us to be fair,
- be impartial,
- be respectful.
- God wants us to be caring for the earth.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:17: “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law of the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
The prophet Ezekiel stated in 36:26: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
I must admit that when I read Leviticus 21:16-23, I felt my hair stand up on my arms and on the back of my neck when God was talking about those with blemishes (because I have many genetic health challenges.) At first I felt … I am not good enough. And the TRUTH is that NONE of us are good enough on our own BUT THAT IS WHY Jesus Christ came and when we CHOSE HIM as our Lord and Savior God sees us “white as snow” … “righteous”… and He loves us!! KNOW, these particular Scriptures were spoken DIRECTLY to the priesthood. The Priesthood is a foreshadow of the perfect Christ to come. “Defects” are from a fallen world. NOT caused by sin directly, but from a cursed world. Christ comes sinless and perfect, without blemish. The Sacrifices that came were to be unblemished to fulfill the Scriptures, so the Levitical Priests were to be unblemished as well. This was ALL to fulfill the Christ.
TODAY… God still calls us to be separate from the world. Check out
1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Romans 12:1-2 — “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Does God expect us to use the 10 Commandments? Here are a few Scriptures from the New Testament (these were listed as cross references in my Life Application Bible) 1 Peter 1:16, Ephesians 4:25, Matthew 5:23, James 5:4, Matthew 5:43-48, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:37, John 13:34, Romans 13:9, 1 Timothy 5:1, Ephesians 1:4, and there are MANY more if you have time to look.
You will see that since Jesus fulfilled the Law we are given Freedom FROM the Law. And for that I personally am thankful, grateful, and humble BEYOND WORDS!! If you feel the same or have concerns …. TELL HIM we are, HE LOVES to hear from us! Does freedom mean we can live and do as the world around us does? NO — 1 Peter 1:13-25 reiterates that we are to be Holy, but we now have a Grace that has been extended to us for our sins, not just once a year, but forever.
AND LOOK at what JESUS said was the greatest commandment …. It is written right here in Leviticus:
Leviticus 19:18:….But love your neighbor as yourself.
Matt 22: 36-40“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I pray each of you have an awesome day. I apologize for this being late, but I have had some computer challenges. Allow God to search your heart today and speak directly to you 🙂
Sharing HIS love,