Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. Keep my statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you. –Leviticus 20:7-8
God gave the law to His people down to all the details of burnt, grain, peace, sin, and guilt offerings, the priests, the consecration of Aaron and his sons, clean and unclean animals, childbirth, leprosy, cleansing lepers, cleansing houses, bodily discharges, the Day of Atonement, unlawful sexual relations, and the list goes on and on. In the middle of the law, there is a story of God’s immediate judgement on Nadab and Abihu, two of Aaron’s sons, who died because they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded. The holy God is pleased when He is worshipped in the way that He commands, and God the Creator is just to punish His creation when they do not obey Him. The priests must have been beyond exhausted having to continually atone for the sins of the people each and every time a sin was committed either intentionally or unintentionally. The priest would sacrifice the animal and then wash his hands clean, only to have to start the process all over again for another sin, another person. Studying Hebrews with my college church helped to glean understanding of the law in Leviticus. It is incredibly humbling to remember the price of the precious Lamb of God whose blood was shed to pay the penalty of our sins against the holy God in the past, present, and future. Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice once for all! The repetition of “I am the Lord who sanctifies” (ESV) or “I am the Lord who makes you holy” (NIV) (Leviticus 20:8; 21:8, 15, 23; 22:9, 16, 32) is assurance of our faith in Jesus Christ. Not by my good works or the mediator of a priest who offers up sacrifices for my every sin, but by God’s grace and mercy at the cross. Praise the Lord who has done the work of redemption and sanctifies us and makes us holy like Him day by day.
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. –Hebrews 10:10-14
This Bible in one year reading plan seems to be moving along fast. On to Numbers…