Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Leviticus 1-7; 11-15; 17-24 - The Life of Moses

(My BSF Notes)

Last time we saw how the cloud of God’s glory filled the Tabernacle.  Now God is giving laws and instructions to the priests for offerings that are to be presented to Him since He is holy and would be living with them.  Leviticus is a handbook for the priests.  It contains many rules they needed to do their work like worshiping God, making sacrifices and handling everyday problems concerning cleanliness.  The theme of Leviticus is holiness.  God wants His priests to be holy as He is holy.  Holiness is to be a characteristic of all God’s people.  A key verse in this study is Lev. 20:26“You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.”

Leviticus 1-7 – Holiness through Offerings

There are 5 types of offerings:
Burnt Offering – The purpose was to make atonement for sin.  This offering focuses on how the animals were to be handled.  The worshiper was to offer a male animal without defect from the herd or flock or a dove or young pigeon.  He was to present the animal at the entrance of the tent so it would be acceptable, lay his hands on it and it would be acceptable to make atonement for him.  Then it would be slaughtered before the Lord.  Its blood was sprinkled on the altar by the priests, but into pieces, burned on the fire so the aroma would be pleasing to the Lord.
Grain Offering – The purpose of this offering is not explained, but thought to be an offering of thanksgiving that might be called a gift to the Lord.  It was finely ground flour or grain that was mixed with oil and incense.
Fellowship Offering – The purpose was for peace and fellowship with the Lord.  It too was a sin offering and similar to the burnt offering involving an animal and sprinkling of blood on the altar.
Sin Offering – The purpose was to make atonement for sins the worshiper had committed.  It was a bull without defect, killed, and its blood sprinkled on the altar.
Guilt Offering – The purpose was to make restitution and atonement for wrongs committed unintentionally and against the Lord.  It was a ram without blemish, killed, blood sprinkled and restitution of 1/5 of its value.

Anyone could present an offering.  The sacrifice is to be costly to the worshipper and only the best could be offered.  Jesus has fulfilled every part of this law, and we do not repeat these offerings today.  Salvation is through the Lord Jesus Christ and anyone can come to Him.  Salvation is a free gift for us, because Jesus paid the full price of our sins.  God still calls us to offer sacrifices to Him – our praise, our gifts, our service, our worship, our time, etc.

Atonement means the reconciliation of God and humans brought about by the redemptive life and death of Jesus.  These various sacrifices are a picture of what Jesus accomplished through His perfect life and His death on the cross.  He was without blemish or sin, His blood was spilled and spattered, our sins were laid on Him, and He became the sacrifice for all who believe in Him.

God dwells in His people today by His Holy Spirit.  We are His Tabernacle made possible by Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself for the atonement for our sins.  Give God thanks for sending Jesus to be your sacrifice and for sending His Spirit to live in you to guide and protect you.

Principle:  A holy life is characterized by a right relationship with our holy God.

What does a relationship with God look like?  A relationship with God includes confession, repentance, worship and spending time with Him.
What do you need to do to have a relationship with God?
Is there something in your life your are ashamed of that you cannot talk to God about?
What sacrifice have you offered God this week?

Leviticus 11-15 – Holiness through Clean Living

These laws in chapters 11-15 do not directly apply to us today, but we can learn from them.
Another key verse is Lev. 11:44“I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”

This is a list of purification laws for Israel.  I have listed a practical or health or benefit for each.
11:1-17 – Clean and unclean animals - these were to help them learn to obey God and not please themselves.
12:1-8 – Purification following childbirth – this allowed a new mother to rest after childbirth.
13:1-46 – Skin diseases – it is good to quarantine a person to keep others from getting the disease.
13:47-59 – Mildew contamination – mildew and mold is very unhealthy making you have all kinds of sickness just by breathing it.
14:1-32 – cleansing skin diseases –today we take care of skin problem by visiting the doctor for medication.
14: 33-57 – cleansing from mildew – today we wash it away; Fema is called when there is critical contamination for clean up.
15:1-33 – Uncleanness from bodily discharges – this could be an example of contagious sexual transmitted diseases.

The New Testament shows the primary purpose of these laws as not physical health.  Mark 7:15-18“Nothing outside a man can make him unclean by going into him.  Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean.”  The people were learning about God and themselves from these laws.  God wanted them to be holy just as He is holy.  It also reminded them of how He rescued them from Egypt. (Lev. 11:44-45).

Principle:  A holy life is characterized by inward and outward, public and private purity.

What draws you closer to God?
Does something enter your mind that is not pure?
What do you need to change to bring purity in your life?
What is your life reminds you of truths about God?

Leviticus 17-24 – Holiness through Choices

This section teaches lessons about living a holy life.  It contains prohibitions against eating blood, unlawful sexual relations, various laws and punishments, unacceptable sacrifices, a new listing of yearly feasts and rules governing oil and bread used in the tabernacle.

A key verse here is Lev. 17:11“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for ourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”
The blood was important part in sacrifice.  The life is in the blood.  Blood is a symbol of life.

God needed them to live differently.  In Lev. 18 God teaches about every kind of sexual immorality.  He considers it detestable (verses 22,26,29,30), wicked (verse 17), defiling (verse 20), and a perversion (verse 23).  He gave other reasons for these commands.  He said they should not practice what they use to practice when they were in Egypt.  He said they are to be holy and His is holy.  God set them apart from every other nation and they are not to be like other nations.

Homosexuality is very relevant today.  “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”Lev. 18:22.  This is not the only sin God talks about here in chapter 18, but is in a large list of sins and sin separates us from God.  Why is it wrong?  It is wrong, because it is not in God’s plan just like any other sin is not in His plan.  If you struggle with this or someone you know does, ask God to teach you why this is wrong.  Study His word.  We all struggle with some sin and we all fall short and we all need Jesus.

Sin brings guilt and requires a punishment.  It separates us from God.  Holiness is our Christian destiny.  One day we will be like Jesus.  But for now, we are to pursue holiness.

Lev. 19:37 says it all. “Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them.  I am the Lord.”

What sin do you need to rid yourself of?
Do you strive to be holy?

Chapter 21 and 22 gives rules and high standards for Priests.  We all need to be praying for our church leaders.

Principle:  A holy life is characterized by intentionally representing God through holy choices.

Where in life are you not representing God?  Is it what you read, watch on TV, how you respect the elderly?
Do you make holy choices?

It is impossible for us to be completely holy as God is holy.  We are to continue pursuing holiness.  So for now fix your eyes on Jesus and one day we will be like the holy Jesus. 

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