I am reading through the book of Leviticus, I hope you are as well, as part of following the Legacy Reading Plan. In fact, just a few moments ago, I was reading Leviticus chapter 8, where the priest put blood on the lobe of his ear, on right thumb, and big toe. I wondered, what is that all about?
When you look at background commentaries, you learn that smearing or dabbing rituals in Ancient Near Eastern cultures focused on entrances as a means of cleansing from impurity, and also a means of protection from sacred contagion. In other words, the ear represents what goes into your mind (What you hear); Your thumb represents what you do; Your foot represents the path on which you walk. The priests had to be sacred in all their ways.
This reminded me of surgery, because during surgery doctors and nurses don masks, they put on gloves, and of course they operate in a sterile environment. They also sterilize all their surgical instruments, and wash their hands with soap and water and anti-bacterial agents. Now medicine prior to the age of scientific enlightenment was not always cautious. Nurses would wipe the blood off their hands after tending one patient and then go on to the next. They simply did not grasp the power of the germ.
We’re often in a similar condition. We fail to grasp our utter depravity in light of the holiness of our Creator. Therefore, Leviticus is instructive, it’s an eye-opener. Through civil and ceremonial laws, ancient Israel had to cleanse themselves before the presence of an altogether holy God.
Today, of course, we’re no longer bound by these kinds of types of shadows. Christ is the substance and he has fulfilled the shadow and therefore Leviticus serves as but a reminder of just how great a debt had to be paid so that we might be reconciled as unrighteous creatures to an altogether righteous God. When we read Leviticus, it’s difficult for us to grasp the symbolism, but it is powerful, and I think it is one thing that we have to grasp as Christians living in the 21st century is that the chasm between God’s righteousness and our sin is an unbridgeable chasm. I also think that apart from recognizing that, I think we sometimes fail to recognize just how much we have been forgiven, just how great our debt really is, just how great a sacrifice our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ made on our behalf. So as you read through Leviticus this month and look at the types and shadows of the substance, consider Jesus Christ who came to one day lay prostate in the pool of His own blood before His creation, so that we might be reconciled to Him for a time and for eternity. How great a salvation we have been given! How great an inheritance we have been promised! How great a hope we look forward to—a new Heaven, a new Earth, no more death, mourning, crying, and pain.
And this month, get into the Word of God. Get the Word of God into you, as we tackle the problem of biblical illiteracy.
Don’t forget Proverbs! Today we focus on Proverbs 1. One chapter of Proverbs each day makes the proverbial doctor go away. The proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel, to know wisdom and instruction, to discern the sayings of understanding, to receive instruction and wise behavior, righteousness, justice, and equity, to give prudence to the naïve, to the youth knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear and increase in learning and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel to understand a proverb and a figure. The words of the wise and their riddles, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. You want wisdom? You want instruction? You want discretion and discernment? The Book of Proverbs, every single principle or maxim for successful daily living. Get into it. Enjoy it. Become addicted to it. If you don’t have the Legacy Reading Plan, get it today.
You can order on the World Wide Web at equip.org, when you write me at P.O. Box 8500 Charlotte, NC 28271. As always you can talk to our resource consultants at 888-7000-CRI, and no, I will not stop bugging you until you get into the Word of God and get the Word of God into you.