Monday, August 30, 2010

Let bald headed men rejoice!

Through the Bible in 90 days: Day 8

Read: Leviticus 1-14:32

Verse that stood out: I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy - Leviticus 11:44

Let's admit it. Leviticus is weird. With its cleanliness laws, dietary regulations, and offering protocols, this priestly manual stands a world away from modern life. While I was comforted to know that if I ever go bald I'd still be able to participate in worship (13:40), most of the book left me scratching my not-yet-bald head.

I don't have an easy answer about how to make these passages "relevant" to our day to day lives. I'm not even sure that's the point. After all, the Bible wasn't just written for us, but rather for God's people throughout the ages. As strange as the book of Leviticus is to us, it played an important role in the life of ancient Israel, both during the time in Canaan but also during the Babylonian exile when Israel found itself surrounded by a foreign culture and the worship of foreign gods. Whatever else Leviticus was meant to do, it served as a way of setting Israel apart from her neighbors. That distinctiveness is an important part of the overall story of God's people.

While the individual guidelines in the book might not translate into the lives of modern day believers, the call to be set apart for the Lord remains. Just look at the apostle Peter's words to the early church which draw from Leviticus 11:44-45, "Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy'" (1 Peter 1:13-15).

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