Thursday, August 26, 2010

Leviticus: Chapters 1, 2, 3 Laws, Rules, and Regulations

Torah inside of the former Glockengasse synago...Image via Wikipedia
A few days ago my husband dropped our daughter off at college.  Within a few hours of unloading the car, he began his journey home.
Since we have already done all that we could to help her get settled into her new off-campus apartment, there was nothing left to do except to leave her there.  Although we're only a phone call away, she is essentially on her own now.

I am so glad that God doesn't leave us to fend for ourselves.  God did not drop us off on this planet and then wish us good luck.  He promises to stay with us through all of life's experiences.

The Book of Leviticus begins with God's instructions on how to have a relationship with Him.  He tells Israel that they can enjoy a close relationship with Him by following His rules,  by honoring His holiness, by approaching Him according to His stipulations.  God alone designs the way in which man can talk to Him.  Though people reach out to God in all sorts of ways, through all sorts of religions, God plainly stated that there is only one way - His way.  However, God knows man  so he provided for a way for sinful men, for men who simply cannot obey God, to relate to a Holy God.  God wanted all of Israel to strive for obedience while recognizing the areas in which they fall short, i.e. sin.  God wanted Israel to confess their sin and then to receive forgiveness, which allowed  them to talk to God in prayer.  From the very beginning, God stated that fellowship with Him was not possible without a clean slate.

Interestingly, in the second verse of Leviticus, God says, "when you bring an offering ..." implying that Israel will try to relate to God.   Leviticus 1: 2 - 6 uses  the Hebrew word קָרְבָּן (qorban) for offering, Strong's number H7133, which technically means  sacrifice but is derived from the Hebrew word קָרַב (qarab), Strong's 7126,  meaning to approach, to draw near, or to enter into.  Here God tied the sacrificial offering with drawing near to Him through confessing one's sin.  In Leviticus 1: 2 - 4, it is written  "When any of you brings an offering to the Lord ...  he is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.  He is to slaughter the young bull before the Lord."   When a person lays his hand on the head of the animal, he is identifying the animal with his own sin.  When he slays the animal, he lets the animal pay the price of sin, i.e. death.  The penalty for sin is death; think back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Death was introduced when Adam and Eve acquired clothing of skins, so that they wouldn't be naked anymore.  

While the penalty for sin has always been death, the consequence for sin has been separation from God or estrangement from Him.  When the burnt offering assumed man's guilt, man was temporarily able to enter into a conversation or relationship with God.  God wanted Israel to understand that He was a Holy God and that His people had to be a holy people, separated from sin.  Also, God continued to emphasize that all ways or roads do not lead to Him.  The only way to commune with Him is by following His directions.

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for qarab (Strong's 7126)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2010. 26 Aug 2010. < http://
Strongs=H7126&t=KJV >

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