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by Elaine Pierce
How often have you read through the book of Leviticus? If you are like me, the answer is 'not very often, if at all.' Genesis and Exodus are full of exciting stories - we read about how God created the world....how he chose Abraham to be the father of a great nation....how Moses led the people out of Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey....and then we hit Leviticus, which seems to be filled with lots and lots of rules and, frankly, strange and disturbing economic practices (not to mention the blood and gore of animal sacrifice).
Some of this is very off-putting to us in the year 2021, and yet, Leviticus is an important book. How do God's people move forward after they have been delivered to the Promised Land? God gives Moses formallized instructions on how to worship him, and how the people should live. The symbols Moses uses (he is assumed to be the author) are ones that the Israelites would be familiar with. They are not so familiar to us, but let's not lose sight of what God wants to teach us.
In today's passage, it is clear that God has a plan for our good: "Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land." it seems so simple, doesn't it? But it's so easy to second guess his plan, and to decide that my ideas are better. I don't need to follow this arbitrary plan of not planting my crops in the seventh year - I have a better plan. Or.....I don't have to read my Bible every day.....I don't have to attend church.....I don't have to be kind to my neighbor when they're not kind to me....and on it goes. My sin is often more subtle than that, but the bottom line is that I want to do it my way, not God's way.
God has such a good plan, a plan to bless us and draw us to himself. Ask him to give you a heart that is his, and he will fill you with his love. Even when it is hard to relate, as it can be to these ancient verses in Leviticus, draw near to him. He will send you a blessing, even when you least expect - or deserve it.
Lord, I am a sinner. I want what I want when I want it, and I so often fail to stop and ask you to guide me. Help me each day to start my day with you and to ask you to lead me every step of the way. What joy it is to be in your presence. Thank you for your word and for the community of saints. Amen.