Lessons From Leviticus

Healing_the_Sick029The book of Law often seems remote and outdated even to Christians, but God says that all Scripture is inspired, that it is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, training in righteousness. When I started looking at Leviticus from that perspective, I found so much that in pertinent to and valuable for us today.

The first lesson is one I hadn’t planned on including, but I learned this afternoon that Kim Davis, Kentucky’s Rowan County Clerk, who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, has been arrested for violating a federal judge’s ruling. So here’s what Leviticus teaches me that’s related to this matter.

Through Moses God handed down a number of laws about all kinds of things, recorded for us in the book of Leviticus. In Chapter 18 He told Israel,

You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes.(v 3)

He then proceeds to forbid incest, homosexuality, and bestiality. He concluded by saying,

Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled); so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you. (vv 24-28)

While some might argue that God was addressing Israel and that has nothing to do with us today, I would point out that He specifically said the nations who occupied the land previously were “spewed out” because they defiled the land by doing the things God told Israel not to do. Clearly this was not an Israel-only law. These standards reflect the holiness of God.

I can only think that, should the US continue in the direction we’re headed, we can expect that, when our sin has ripened, “our land will also spew us out.” I don’t know what that will look like, but it is clearly the judgment of God. Will we suffer the severe effects of global warming as the environmentalists predict? We we have earthquakes and hurricanes and tornadoes? Will we experience war, even nuclear war, as Iran obtains the capacity to deliver such a bomb to our shores?

Whatever spin others might put on it, such catastrophes are linked to the sin we are tolerating that defiles our land.

On a happier note, lesson two demonstrates God’s grace. In chapter 21 He issues laws that govern the conduct of the High Priest. One such pronouncement says,

He shall take a wife in her virginity. A widow or a divorced woman, or one who is profaned by harlotry, these he may not take; but rather he is to marry a virgin of his people, so that he will not profane his offspring among his people; for I am the LORD who sanctifies him. (13-15)

The writer to the Hebrews refers to Jesus as the Great High Priest, and yet in His ancestral line is a prostitute, an incestuous couple, an adulterous couple, and a widow. Two of these were even foreigners. As in, not Jews. And yet, Jesus, the offspring of all this lawbreaking, was not profaned.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15)

Lesson three brings God’s grace to the front and center. Part of the rules for the high priest were that no one with a physical deformity could serve in that capacity:

‘No man of your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect shall approach to offer the food of his God. 18 For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb, or a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, 20 or a hunchback or a dwarf, or one who has a defect in his eye or eczema or scabs or crushed testicles.

Contrast this with what Jesus did when He was on earth: He healed the man with the withered hand, made the blind to see, raised the lame so they could walk, cleansed the lepers. In other words, when those disqualified by the Levitic law to serve in the temple came to Jesus, He, in his perfection, elevated them, as He elevates us, so that we can approach the throne of grace instead of the altar of sacrifice.

Published in: on September 3, 2015 at 5:10 pm  Comments (3)  
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The Attack Has Begun

Photo by Gage Skidmore

No sooner did Rick Santorum sweep the three Republican primary or caucus races yesterday than the attacks began. As I’ve noted from time to time on Facebook, Mr. Santorum has escaped the scurrilous invectives up to this point because there’s nothing horrific in his background that lends itself to attack. Leave it to his opponents to find one: his religion. (He identifies himself on his Facebook page as a Christian – Roman Catholic).

The particular recrimination I saw most recently has a picture of Mr. Santorum on the left and one of Osama bin Laden on the right. Under Mr. Santorum’s picture is the caption, “This guy thinks religious law should override secular law.” Under Bin Laden the caption reads, “So does this guy.”

Well, assuming the person who put that bit of “humor” together had in mind some of Mr. Santorum’s socially conservative views, such as pro-life, that’s a pretty effective way of dismissing him as a nut no one need listen to. How sad! If you form an opinion based on selfishness or greed, it is fine if you want to supersede secular law with something new. But if your opinion is formed by a religious admonition such as “You shall not murder,” suddenly you’re viewed as a terrorist.

Of course his views on homosexual marriage received an immediate mention, too — as if this “secular law” has been around for centuries and suddenly this religious freak comes along and wants the rest of society to bend to his God’s laws. Well, news flash. The law of the land here in the bulk of the fifty states of the US is that marriage is between one man and one woman. The people trying to force a change are not the religious “nuts” but those who wish to redefine terms that have been in place for as long as this nation has been in existence.

But this caricature of Mr. Santorum serves a purpose — it demonstrates that there’s really nothing else his opponents can go after except the policies they hate so much, the ones they desperately want to keep out of the White House. All the “gains” the liberals saw under President Obama — specifically, government funded abortions here and abroad, aborted-fetal-tissue stem cell research, the movement toward socialized medicine — will come to an end.

At the least, now that the media can no longer ignore Rick Santorum, we’ll be forced to look at some of the issues that divide our country and need to be discussed … that is, until Saturday Night Live comes up with a skit to make him look like he’s off in left, make that, right field.

They did that with Mr. Gingrich, I guess. I missed the sketch but heard that it poked fun at his idea that our space program should work toward putting a colony on the moon. So now Mr. Gingrich is loony. Ha-ha-ha. Except, I heard him explain his ideas on one of the news shows, and it made perfect sense. He was addressing a crowd in Cape Canaveral, Florida — where people are greatly affected by the fact that we are no longer sending manned spacecraft to explore the heavens — and he was proposing a new way of doing business, one that would lean heavily on the private sector. As Mr. Gingrich said, It’s hard to imagine President Kennedy receiving the same kind of treatment when he proposed sending a rocket to the moon.

But that shows how our politics have changed. Now the person we differ with isn’t just misinformed or misguided or even wrong; he’s stupid, dangerous, the next tyrant or jihadist.

News flash for the Republicans — the Democrats have found the sweet spot. If they can paint a conservative candidate as stupid or foolish or ignorant, they are gold and the conservative candidacy is dead in the water.

They did it to Vice President Dan Quail (though some would argue that he did it to himself, I’d disagree; being a notoriously bad speller myself, I can testify that knowing how to spell potato has nothing to do with what you know or don’t know about governmental affairs). Since then, they’ve done it to President Bush with much less success, Sarah Palin, and a handful of Tea Party candidates during the 2010 election.

Somehow the Democratic candidates escape such accusations, though I can point to a number of their office holders from the state of California who ought to be scrutinized in this area. But why should anyone look back into their college records and see what their GPA is when they don’t hold any ignorant views such as creationism?

You see the bottom line, don’t you? It’s not intelligence or religious law or moon colonies. It’s all about authority. These people who don’t want “You shall not murder” to apply to unborn humans really don’t want anyone telling them what is right or wrong — not the Bible, certainly, but not the Constitution either, and not state propositions or amendments passed by the people. They want what they want, and until they get the law to let them have what they want, they’ll fight the rest of us however they can.

Even by attacking a moral, God-fearing … oops, there’s the problem. That’s what’s earned Mr. Santorum these attacks.

Published in: on February 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm  Comments (12)  
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