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Leviticus 16-17


A Devotional Journey
   led by Dr. Gene Pearson

Thru the Bible in a Year
     The nature of our relationship with God is the actual issue in these chapters. They deal with the Day of Atonement and the importance of not eating blood (that is originally a major ingredient in any discussion of keeping kosher), but the real topic is different.
     The issue with God is life. He creates it our of nothing at the beginning of human history, and is the only One who can do so. Our life is a gift from Him. He is free to take it away or sustain it at His own discretion.
      Blood is the conveyor of life, and whether in a primitive society 3,500 years ago or in our own, the loss of blood means the loss of life (although we do have the capacity to replace it in certain instances). So the blood is said to belong to God in the sense that life belongs to Him.
      Just as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil makes clear God’s unquestioned preeminence in the area of moral decisions (he alone has the authority to determine what is right and what is wrong), He alone is Lord of life and our lives are in His hands not our own.
      To offend Him is to place our lives in jeopardy and, in fact, His original punishment for the rebellion of Adam and Eve was death. Therefore, when we have sinned or acted or failed to act out of rebellious or self-centered (as opposed to God-centered) motives, we also are subject to death. God makes this both clear and unnecessary through the sacrificial system which substitutes the life (or blood) of the animal for the life (or blood) of the sinner.
       The process which must be repeated over and over in the context of the Covenant with Moses, is carried out once and for all in Jesus Christ who becomes the sacrifice for all people and whose blood is shed as His life is given in substitution and for our own and Atonement for our guilt.
      The Day of Atonement occurs once each year (Yom Kippur on our current calendars), to remind the people that they must and can be clean from all your sins before the Lord (16:30).
      God always does for us what we could never do for ourselves. As we are told in Psalm 103, “He knows our limitations and remembers that we are created out of nothing more than the dust of the earth.
      Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the immense responsibility and accountability in your life?  Think about the Day of Atonement. Sure God is serious about the holiness which is supposed to be part of our lives. Certainly He does not simply look the other way when we sin. But He comes to our rescue as we put our lives in His hands, and if we resist the urge to retake them for ourselves, He protects and saves us forever! 
      If you don’t feel safe today, you ought to either turn your life over to God, or reconsider what it really means that you already have.

A. Eugene Pearson  2011