Reverence from Leviticus (11/11/21)
You cannot fully appreciate friendship with Jesus until you understand reverence for God. In the Old Testament, this was referred to as Holy Fear. I am borrowing some thoughts this week from an article by Tim Moore in Lamb and Lion Magazine. There is a line from C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia that says about Aslan the Lion (the Christ figure), “No he’s not safe, but he’s good.” We should never think of God as only a safe or tame lion. He is all powerful and fully just.
Leviticus, and other books of the Mosaic Law teach us about God’s Provision and Power. I once heard the book summarized as “priests and feasts”, but there is so much more. God appointed the priestly tribe to make Provision to live in Proximity to God. If they obeyed Him, He would live in their midst. They witnessed his Power and Provision. Moses, foreshadowing Christ, was their deliverer. In Exodus 24, Moses, Aaron, Aaron’s sons, and the 70 elders of Israel were called up on the mountain to be close to God. It was a fearful experience to see the Almighty’s power. But even Moses could not enter the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. There are Psalms that teach that only the pure in heart can enter God’s Presence. Sometimes that involved Painstaking rituals, so that people would not take it for granted.
Preparations were needed to enter God’s Presence. Blood sacrifices and the washing of the body were part of that. This pointed forward Prophetically to the blood of Jesus and the cleansing illustrated by baptism. Thanks to God’s grace, He gave us righteousness through Christ’s sacrifice! Our atonement before God came through Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.
The New Testament Book of Hebrews summarizes how the Old Covenant pointed to the New: When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through a greater and more perfect tabernacle…he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:11, 12.
So Jesus became our high priest so that we could enter God’s Presence. Hebrews 10:19-22 completes the thought: since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:21, 22
And so today, we have Provision of our High Priest Jesus, who cleanses our hearts and washes our bodies in baptism. Now he dwells with his people- he is the Shekinah Glory dwelling with his people. We also have opportunity to enter his presence in worship each week, and preparing our hearts through communion to dwell in his Presence. We can enter his Presence with Holy Fear and Reverence. For he is the Lion of Judah, and he’s not a tame lion!
Lord, we thank you for what Jesus has done to draw us near to you, even into your very presence. Lord we don’t take this for granted. We reverence you. Help us to prepare for your presence by being in worship and following the practices of communion, prayer and worship, which lead us into your presence.
On this Veteran’s Day, we also thank you for all those who have given and served in our military to keep freedom alive here and around the world. Thank you for those who have sacrificed life and limb so that we might be free. Be with those who have disabilities as a result of military service and bless all our veterans.
In all these things we give thanks. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.