This year Ready for the Road Ahead is taking on a new direction. It is one that follows the grand theme of sight in all aspects which runs throughout Scripture. My weekly writings will be excerpts from a book of the same name which should be published (Lord willing) later this year.
I’ve been blessed to travel to Israel three times. I traveled there to study the land of the Bible which truly was a gift from God. On my first trip I earned the distinction of the student who took the most pictures- EVER! I was still using my 35mm SLR camera then and brought home 36 rolls of pictures! When the opportunity came up to return to Israel during my seminary studies I decided it was to my advantage to look into a simple digital camera. I had heard that digital cameras could hold hundreds of pictures. So I invested in an inexpensive Sony Cybershot and a memory card that I was told could hold up to 7,000 pictures. But, as is typical of a lot of us, I never really bothered to read the manual that came with the camera. All I wanted to know was which button to push to record the picture! I had originally thought I’d just bring the Cybershot on my trip, but gut instinct had me packing my SLR camera and a few rolls of film “just in case”. It’s a good thing I did. After about 30 pictures, the Cybershot informed me the memory stick was “full”. What?! I remember sitting on the tour bus looking at the camera and thinking that this dilemma was a complete mystery. Why I decided to leave the manual home is beyond me. Because of that poor decision I had no way of figuring out what the issue was until I returned home and the review screen was so small I was afraid to erase any pictures I’d taken for fear of deleting something important. But the camera refused to take any more pictures unless I deleted something. It wasn’t until I returned home that I learned of my erroneous assumption. Who knew that if I wanted thousands of digital pictures I needed to adjust the way the camera recorded them? I had a lot to learn about digital photography and lesson #1 was always read the camera manual!
The Book of Leviticus contains many of God’s “rules” but instead of being a master list of all the things we should and shouldn’t do, it is more like an instruction manual that aids us in getting the best out life. God’s manual emphasizes 6 principles that illustrate our relationship with Him. The first is that God is righteous and He requires restitution for wrong thus the sacrificial system was inaugurated to accomplish this (Lev. 1-10). That system became obsolete with Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross (Heb. 7:27; 9:11-14). The second principle is that a perfect and holy God cannot be recklessly approached by imperfect people without the sacrificial shedding of blood (Lev. 11-15). Thanks to Christ, who acts as our Mediator, we can now approach God without fear through His blood which was shed on the cross (Heb. 10:19-22). The third is that Israel’s covenant relationship with God had to be renewed on a yearly basis since the blood of animals was only a temporary solution to the eternal problem of sin. The Day of Atonement was designated as that day (Lev. 16-17). Christ offered a permanent solution to the eternal problem of sin to all who believe in the atoning work of His death on the cross (Rom. 3:21-25; Heb. 2:14-17; 9:23-28; 1 Jn. 2:1-2; 4:10). Fourth, God is holy, therefore the way we live in covenant with Him must reflect that (Lev. 18-22; 27). Jesus said our obedience to God’s instructions truly demonstrate how much we love Him and the Father (Jn. 14: 15, 21, 23) and James took note that if obedience was not evident in a person’s life their faith was most likely dead (Js. 2:18-26). The fifth principle recognizes that God and only God is to be worshipped and recognized as the One who is active in human history (Lev. 23-25) a fact recounted in numerous psalms and many of the sermons in the Book of Acts (Ps. 68; 78; 105; 106; 111; 114; 135; 136; 149; Acts 2:14-36; 7:2-54; 13: 13-43). And finally, obedience to God’s Law (i.e. rules) bring blessings to His covenant people (Lev. 26). Blessing from a life of obedience is not a form of bribery that God uses to entice people to obey Him but a demonstration of God’s eagerness to bestow good things on those who love Him (Lev. 25: 18-19; Dt. 4: 30-31; 6:3; 11:26-28; 28:30). Disobedience not only deprives God of this pleasure but inevitably causes pain and suffering on the part of the believer who strays off God’s path (Gal. 5: 16-25). When I see those early pictures taken in Israel on the Cybershot they are vibrant and rich but I would have had so many more if I’d read the instructions. They have become a great reminder that it’s even more important to read God’s manual too.
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
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