This week I have begun reading Leviticus. Chapters 1-16 are outlined as “The way of Access to God; Atonement.” It wasn’t like experiencing the lines at Cedar Point with anticipation for a great experience. The lines had to be long and all senses were at work. I am sure from a far off you could smell the animals being offered and hear the bellowing of the animals. My mind tries to place myself in that group of Israelites. Have you ever been to a meat market ? I remember as a little girl going into one with my grandma in Adrian and when you walked in the smell met you. I would try to cover my nose and I really couldn’t look at the raw meat, the man who would help us usually had a blood stained apron on. I was so relieved when it was time to go. I can almost smell it now. Wow, it was bad!! Could you imagine being in the nice hot desert sun and being last in the line? In my Study Bible here the noun “offering” (Hebrew corban) is related to the verb that means “to draw near”. They needed to do this to approach God and to enjoy His fellowship and blessing. Sin and darkness had to be dealt with, if anyone wanted to be close to God. “The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting”(Lev.1:1). From the beginning of creation our God continued to make ways to bring humanity to Himself. It was complicated because there was no other way to get around the fact that this is serious. God created the human heart with a place for Him. Just because this was a long time ago doesn’t mean that humans have become different in their souls. The difference is our great freedom from guidelines and ceremonies. Those poor Israelites had so many things they had to do to draw near to God. The blood had to be exposed from animals. This was not an easy task, the process was take the best, kill and drain the blood and place in a special place, then burn up. Blood makes me uncomfortable could you imagine with all those people that had “fallen short”. What a visual bloody mess! The lines of waiting and watching as daily blood had to be spilled out and collected to be offered to the Most HOLY GOD!!!! They had to really think about what they had done and determine in their minds, ” I will never sin again”. The experience was a sacrifice and painful in many ways. The worth was great to them though! They could be closer to God because He instructed Moses . God has never stopped being active in drawing humans to Himself. We have been blessed with the easiest and most affective way. There are no lines, no smells, no disturbing sounds, no bloody dramatic scenes just simple closeness to the Almighty God. He saw our great Need and made it simple. May we not take for granted the Precious Blood of THE Lamb our Savior Jesus!!!!
So the dear Israelites have turned to worshipping a golden calf, Moses breaks the tablets with the ten commandments on it. My question as I read this is what were they thinking, I feel Moses frustration as a leader. All the punishment could have been avoided if Aaron would have been a better leader. I guess the pressure of the mass got to him. I read it and think what a mess but then we come to chapter 33 and 34. Moses hears from the Lord in chpt 33: 2. “…. But I will not go with you because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” The people realize the Presence of God would not be going with them , this really moved them. Moses goes to the Tent of Meeting to plead with the Lord on the Israelites behalf. Great picture here as Moses goes outside the camp to pitch the tent, v.8 says “whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent”. We forget what it must have been like because we don’t have to rely on one person to hear from God and stand in the gap for our sins. I wonder if as Moses passed by the people they cried out “please speak for us, we are so sorry and we really need and want God’s Presence”.
We need to recognize that God’s Presence is with us wherever we go. We take for granted this grace that we live in, because of Jesus, we don’t have to beg for God to be with us. He is with us all the time! Now the enemy would love to lie to us and say He has left you because you are not perfect. Well that was the way it was in the Old Testament but God has made a great way “Jesus”, Moses was just a human and he led the best he could, but Jesus was both God/human and made the impossible possible. I say all this to challenge us today enjoy having God’s Presence with you all day every day!!!! Ex.33:15-16 “Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” This moves my heart to the awareness of how close we have God to us!! God has done all the work, we just need to be thankful and willing to remember He is here with us. So if you are feeling alone today, you are not!!! God is here, He is waiting to show you, may our head knowledge collide with our heart and spirit and recognize HIM!!!! ” Thank-you Father for your Presence!! Bring peace as we rest in knowing this deeper then ever today!”