Sunday, July 6, 2014

"Nothing unclean can exist in the presence of the Lord ... "

Day #191:  Daily Bible Reading - July 7th

Scripture Reading:  Leviticus 13 - 15 ...

Reading these chapters in Leviticus seems at first glance to be strange and to have no connection to you and me in our modern technological world.  However, there may be more here than you might imagine.  Remember, God says through the Apostle Paul that "ALL Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16).  Since this is part of God's Word, and God says all of His Word is profitable for us, we need to grasp what God is saying to US in these words written by Moses to the people of Israel more than 3,000 years ago.

First, remember that their medical care was not like ours.  Some of the instructions God gives were for health reasons.  God was continually watching over His people and protecting them from the consequences of sin in their world and in their lives together as a community.  If certain infectious diseases were allowed to spread within their camp, many people would have died and they would have risked being destroyed as a nation.  For their own good, God gave them certain regulations for "cleanness" by requiring them to go to the priests.

But there was a deeper meaning to all of this.  Those who were determined to be "unclean" with an infectious disease had to live alone, outside the camp.  Not only could they not come near to worship or to bring offerings, but they could not live with God's people.  It is important to see that God connected physical "uncleanness" to "ceremonial uncleanness" ... which required a sacrifice, an offering of atonement.  Even in this, God was pointing ahead to the need for a Savior.

All of the details of God's design for "cleanness" point to OUR need to be purified by the blood of Christ.  Nothing unclean, imperfect or impure can exist in the presence of a holy God.  People and houses alike needed to be purified as God commanded.  "You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them" (15:31).  Uncleanness had to do with approaching God at the tabernacle.  There is a greater tabernacle today.  The tabernacle, and later the temple, were copies of heavenly things.  TIME in this world is a prelude to eternity.  And the Bible is the revelation of God to man leading to the one and only way to be made CLEAN, perfect, pure - FOREVER!!

While so many today mix religions or consider themselves good enough, God provides a way through faith in Jesus to be made perfect in His sight.  This is the Gospel, the good news!  ONLY in Jesus are we declared "clean," because only in Jesus is atonement made and only in Jesus are we forgiven ... and when that happens ... we are called to be separate.  We are those INSIDE the camp and all who are unclean are OUTSIDE the camp.  Read II Corinthians 6:14-18 and 7:1 ...

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. ...  For we are the temple of the living God!  As God has said, 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.'  'Therefore come out from them and be separate,' says the Lord.  'Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty.  Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."

You see, there is a connection for us to the instruction God gave Moses for the people of Israel about uncleanness.  We live in "the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2).  Through faith in Jesus we are justified, declared holy, clean, righteous, pure in God's sight!  And now we can enter into His presence without fear.  Jesus is OUR High Priest and He offers Himself as the only sacrifice for sin.  "By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy" (Hebrews 10:14).  "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus! ... Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water" (10:19, 22).

One book, one message, one way to come to God, and He has made it known to us in His Word, the Bible.  Read it, believe it and rejoice in God's salvation!

"Our Father in heaven, Your Word is truth and in reading it and understanding it there is wisdom.  As Your Spirit inspired those who wrote it, so may Your Spirit open our minds to accept it as truth and to come to You in the one and only way that we can enter Your perfect presence - through Your Son Jesus Christ.  Thank You, Father, for making a way for us to be CLEAN in Your sight and to live with You forever.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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