August 29, 2015

Today you should read: Leviticus 15

 

Leviticus 15 is about discharges from male and female reproductive organs. The rules in this chapter are symmetrically structured:

  • A serious case of male discharge (vv.2-15)
  • Man’s emission of semen (vv. 16-17)
  • Sexual intercourse (v.18)
  • Female menstruation (vv. 19-24)
  • A serious case of female discharge (vv. 25-30)

One characteristic of these regulations is their emphasis on the transmission of contagion from one person to another. Transmission of infection may occur in any number of ways: for example, by sitting on an object that a defiled person had previously sat on, by touching contaminated cooking utensils, and by having direct contact through touching or spitting. No matter how it happens, the person infected is required to separate and undergo the purification ritual. It is clear that “unclean” is not the same as “sinful,” but rather has to do with what is permitted (cf. note on 13:3). The Bible does not view the process of reproduction, with its associated bodily functions, as evil; this is part of the original good creation (even though human nature is severely damaged by the fall of Adam). Certainly the Creator of these functions has the right to tell his obedient creatures how and when to use them. (ESV Study Bible Notes)

I know that Leviticus can be a tough book to read and this chapter leaves little to the imagination. Why did God care about these details? It is tough to understand the spiritual significance of these rules. However, I think we need to understand the intricate love that God has for his children. When these issues were deemed “unclean” that didn’t mean “sinful” necessarily. These were protective measures to prevent disease from running rampant throughout the tribes of Israel. God’s commands and rules are meant to keep us from sin but they are also there to protect us from death and destruction. The truth is that when we follow the commands of scripture our lives tend to go better. You don’t have to worry about getting a DUI or wrecking into someone when intoxicated if you follow the command to not be drunk (Galatians 5:19-23). Also, abortion is not an issue if we would all avoid sexual immorality.

God’s love for us is deeper and more spiritual then any of us can understand but it plays out in very practical ways in our life. What commands do you need to embrace and how can you see the love of God in your life through that obedience?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

August 26, 2015

Today you should read: Leviticus 12

At first I thought it was quite interesting that God would ordain that I write the jumpstart for this chapter. I’m a married man, but God hasn’t blessed us yet with the beautiful gift of having a child and all that the process involves. I had to do some research here.

Much of this chapter is spent teaching the people about cleanliness of people. Some of the previous chapters have been instructions regarding food, possessions, and actions which were impure and thus deemed unfit for God’s chosen people. But here, God gives commands concerning our own state of being clean or unclean. Historically, God’s law pronounces a woman, after giving birth, unclean, that is, for a certain amount of time, the reasons for which can be studied further in biology. In this chapter, it’s stated that a woman is unclean for more than 33 days after giving birth to a male, and if the child is female, the time of uncleanness is somewhere around 66 days. The reason for the prolonged uncleanness in the case of a female child is unknown for certain, but some believe it could have to do with the fact that a female child will grow up and similarly have opportunity to bear children and thus be unclean as well. Later, after the time of her purifying had past, the mother was instructed to bring an approved sacrifice to the Lord, and because of that sacrifice, she would be restored to God and her people.

Despite the way our present culture views motherhood, birth, and other things of this sort, I believe we can apply some of the truth found here to today. The Bible teaches us that we are sinners by nature, condemned simply because we are imperfect humans, (Romans 5:12). We are unclean, no matter how morally or “clean” we try to live. The Bible also says that no good or clean fruit can come from an unclean tree, (Matthew 7:18). Since our parents are sinners, we too are natural born sinners, and “children of wrath,” (Ephesians 2). Only a pure sacrifice, and ultimately Jesus’ own blood can atone for this mother, her child, and us as well.

As I studied this chapter, I looked intently to allow God to speak to me through it. I believe God often uses his law, no matter how strange it may seem to us now, to point us to the reality that we all are bound to fall short. We desperately need Him. I don’t have experience in bearing children, but I do have experience in being deemed unclean. My record condemns me. My sins are stacked against me. But thank God He made a way! I must put my faith in Jesus and let his sacrifice count for me and I will be made clean.

Posted by: Taylor Gilliam

August 21, 2015

Today you should read: Leviticus 8

I hope your Friday is going well, Center Point family! There is a great resource you can get for free called the “Faithlife Study Bible”, and it might be a nice addition to your tool belt of Bible aids. There is a free app as well as the online version: faithlife.com. The reason why I threw it on your radar is because it has served as a big encouragement to me since we’ve started Leviticus here at Jumpstart. Leviticus can be a challenging book, and many Christians skip over it or zoom past it, but the study notes in Faithlife have given it some fresh life (for me at least). Another great resource is biblos.com for those of you looking for something a bit deeper.

Enough commercials.

Consecrated and commissioned. That’s what we find in Leviticus 8. The priests were officially “sworn in” and given clear instructions as to their roles in worship and leadership. Here’s a good note on this to distinguish what is taking place and how it differentiates between what we’ve already read and what we will read after this section:

Chapters 8–9 include a detailed description of the initiation of formal worship in ancient Israel. The passage focuses on the role of the priesthood. Rather than list the rules for worship (chaps. 1–7), chaps. 8–9 describe ritual events, including the ordination of the priesthood (Exod 29). Chapter 8 overlaps considerably with the last few chapters of Exodus. Verses 6–36 details the consecration of the brazen altar and the tabernacle as a whole, along with the ordination of the priesthood, over the course of seven days. (Faithlife.com)

One thing that always sticks out to me when I read the Pentateuch (first 5 books of the Bible) is the repetition of phrase “just as the Lord commanded”, typically ascribed to Moses. It’s a reminder to me of two very important and specific things:

1. These are God’s commands, not manmade ideas. The orders being carried out were not simply Moses or Aaron’s orders. They were taking instruction from the Lord, and He was very specific about how he wanted to be worshiped (and still is!). He is a God of order. This is much different than Babel.

2. This is awe-striking obedience. Have you ever read through these commands and thought to yourself, “I don’t have it in me.”? That’s what hits me every time. It gets so specific and seems so difficult. Moses rarely wavered. He obeyed over and over and over again. I want that kind of obedience.

Final thing that I thought was neat in this chapter: the various anointings. I believe that these are present early on in scripture as foreshadowing to Jesus as well as our own anointing in God’s Spirit. Here is how the renowned Bible commentator Matthew Henry put it: “The anointing of Aaron was to typify the anointing of Christ with the Spirit, which was not given by measure to him. All believers have received the anointing.”

What did God teach you today? Are you living as if you are both commissioned and consecrated? If not, what needs to change? What do you need to repent of? Why not today, and why settle for anything else?

Posted by: Todd Thomas

August 20, 2015

Today you should read: Leviticus 7

It’s pretty interesting to read about all the various types of offerings/sacrifices that God required the Israelites to carry out and the specificity by which they were to do them. There is purpose and significance behind every offering and every detail or regulation for carrying each one out. This was really the main thing that stuck out to me today about this passage:

The detailed regulations for each offering give us a glimpse into how serious God desires to change even the small aspects of our lives and make them more like Him.

God was teaching the Israelites a whole new way of living after He delivered them from Egypt. He was cleansing them from many of the pagan practices they had adopted while in slavery. These detailed regulations and sacrifices that God required completely changed the way the Israelite people would now live their lives. No longer would they live for themselves or the pagan gods of their captives, but for Him! God was protecting them from slipping back into their old lifestyle by giving them a completely new one that would develop a heart of worship for Him.

God is the same then as He is today. God still cares about the details. He still cares about those seemingly insignificant sins in our lives that we keep holding on to. He still desires to penetrate the tiny details of our lives with His righteousness and make us holy as He is holy. God doesn’t want us to slip back into the mire of our former slavery to sin.

Just like God gave the Israelites a completely new way of life, which is evident in the detailed procedures we read about for these offerings, God gives us a completely new way of life when we accept His Son Jesus and begin living for Him. There isn’t any room to hold on the sins of our “BC” life. He takes sin seriously and so should we.

So, let me ask you today: What seemingly insignificant sin(s) are you holding onto today in hopes that God is ok to let that one slide? Remember that God is a God of details and He desires to change us completely not partially. If the Holy Spirit has identified something in your life you need to turn over to Him today….Do It! Spend some time in prayer and confession to Him and praise God for His amazing grace that covers all our sin both big and small.

Posted by: Matt Moefield