Tuesday, February 20, 2007

You can't see California

McCheyne has lead me to Leviticus. I know almost nothing about this book except it's meant to be where most 'read the whole Bible' people lose heart and stop, and that John Piper once described it as a 'bloody book'.

He wasn't wrong.

I'm only three chapters in at the moment but there is a great deal of blood involved. Goats' blood, sheeps' blood...even doves were sacrificed to the Lord. Imagine what the altar, where the blood was thrown must have looked like with all that blood thrown against it. Imagine the smell, the sounds of animals being sacrificed, the juxtaposition of the all the gold and fine twined linen mixed with animal entrails. It sounds pretty grusome.

So whats it all about? People trying to keep on the good side of a blood-lusting deity? A ritual? A way of keeping down the animal population. The people surrounded by the blood and entrails would have thought about none of this. They would have looked at this scene and realised two things. God is Holy. Sin is serious.

God demands satisfaction for sin. He is a just God, and can't let sin go unpunished. But because He is a just God and keeps His promises, He won't just wipe out His people when they sin, He will give them a home instead. So He provided a substitute for them in sheep and goats. God is holy.

Sin is serious. There is a link between people's sin and animals blood. If the people hadn't sinned, no blood would have been shed. But the people sinned, so blood had to be shed. Something had to die. Sin is that serious. Sin leads to death. Sin is serious.

Except how can a Holy God really be satisfied with goats blood, when it's men that have sinned? What sort of God excepts second best? No sort of God. When the Father was planning creation before it begun, He wasn't drawing a map of Eden, He was drawing a map of Calvary. All of time and space and history points towards Jesus on the throne. Points towards Jesus as the ultimate lamb. As the ultimate substitute. Providing blood that would satisfy the Father in a way that all the goats and lambs never ever would. Because Jesus, the infinite, eternal Son of God became a man, never sinned, and was slaughtered, like a lamb, as a substitute for the punishement men deserve. He died in a far more brutal and painful way than anything that died in Leviticus did.

What an awesome God who would rescue His poeple. We need to have faith in the Faithful One. We need to believe in the promises of God, and rejoice, and trust. What a great thing to worship a God who is holy and just and loving and compassionate and has found a way to be all those things at once...

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