I've been reading in Leviticus lately. I know...most of you are thinking "Why would you do that?"
The answer is simple really. I am reading through the entire Bible this year, and...well, apparently Leviticus is in the Bible.
But even in Leviticus, God can speak to me it seems. I was reading today in Leviticus 16:3 "This is how Aaron is to enter the sanctuary; with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering." The chapter goes on to talk about all of the very specific things that Aaron had to do in order to enter into the sanctuary without being killed.
I am struck today with the incredible realization of how truly blessed we are to live post-crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. As I read all of this detail and all of these laws in Leviticus it is absolutely overwhelming to me all that they were required to remember and do in those days under law.
Thank God for Jesus and his 'once and for all' sacrifice...the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And thank God that because of Jesus' sacrifice, we have full access to God...and to the throne of grace where we can find grace to help in time of need. No bull!
Now...because we have this amazing access doesn't mean we always take advantage of it, does it? Think about it. An open invitation to hang out with the God of the universe...and yet we are too busy or too self-involved or too self-reliant to spend time with Him. Kind of sad isn't it?
See, it's great and all - that we can come to God through Jesus absolutely any time we want, but unless we want to and we set aside the time, we never do it. That's the learning here.
Perhaps back in the desert days when the law was being handed down and implemented, the rules and regulations made it so that the Israelites had to be more intentional about their relationship with God. There were a number of important steps they had to take. We, on the other hand, have the incredible privilege of access, but lack the intentionality of simply planning to spend time with our God.
With great privilege comes great responsibility, and ours is to intentionally set aside the time necessary to spend time in God's presence. Keeping the rules, even today, is a good thing. But a rule keeper who hasn't spent time in God's presence, who hasn't gone into the Father's celebration, is nothing more than a bitter elder brother (www.theprodigalgod.com). The Father's heart longs for us to come home, to come in, to fellowship with Him. No strings. No animals to kill. No fancy outfit to wear. Just us and Him alone in His presence. And that's definitely NO BULL.
So when I think about Aaron and all those who followed him in the priestly line, I am thankful. Thankful for what Jesus accomplished on Calvary through His death and resurrection. Thankful for forgiveness and for eternal life, but also thankful for tearing the veil in two so that we can come boldly into the presence of our Father God through Jesus. Now, if only we would do it!