Monday, March 4, 2013

What I learned from Leviticus

The NKJV Daily Bible: Read the Entire Bible in One Year

I have a daily Bible on my shelf. Each day it has a section of Old Testament, a bit of the psalms, a couple verses of proverbs and some of the New Testament. I love that it’s laid out this way because you don’t get mired in one section. It’s like meat, veggies, carbs, and dessert all in one go—and it only takes 15 mins.

Right now I’m in Leviticus for my Old Testament snippet. I’ll admit, at times, it’s a little boring. Though if I was more spiritual I’d call it ‘dry.' ;-)

Ch1 v12 “And he shall cut it into its pieces, with its head and its fat; and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar;

Ch 12 v5 “But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her customary impurity, and she shall continue in the blood of her purification sixty-six days.”

You get the idea.

But there is something I’ve learned from all the convoluted rules and stoning.

God takes sin VERY SERIOUSLY. Like, scary seriously.

Thank Him we live under a different system. There’s a downside to the new system though. It’s really tempting to just do whatever you want, and say ‘I’ll just say sorry later, when I’m at church.’ They call this cheap grace.

Paul says, What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Rom 6:1)

Since grace is the free gift for the forgiveness of our sins and our abundant life in Jesus, should we just go do whatever we want? We can always repent later, grace will cover us. No problem….except Paul’s answer to this rhetorical question:

“Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom 6:2)

When we’re tempted to think of sin as ‘not that bad’, remember: the harsh punishments of the Old Testament show you just how bad God thinks it really is. Thanks go to Jesus that He saved us from all the stoning, the putting away and the uncleanness.

Hallelujah, and amen. Jesus is all about love, right?

Oh, except:
“And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell,to the unquenchable fire.45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell…”
Mark 9:43-47

Yikes! But there you have it. God takes sin seriously, which makes me wonder why we paint over it, conceal it, try to hide it and beautify it so it’s not that bad.
My study Bible says, “The Lord is emphasizing the seriousness of sin and the need to do whatever is necessary to deal with it.”

Harsh words, and a heavy subject for a Tuesday morning and not Sunday from the pulpit, but we have to be so careful. On guard against what we’re trying to hide from ourselves.

I process my thoughts and emotions through writing, so here’s an exercise if you need one:
Brainstorm for a character in a novel you’re working on, or a totally new character. Can you give them a big secret they’re trying to hide- even from themselves? How is this secret eating away at them? What situations can they encounter which will force them to see the need to bring their hidden selves to light?

I’d love it if you leave your ideas in a comment. I’ll be adding mine later. 

Lisa Phillips is a contributing blogger for Fliterary. Between diaper changes and the school run for PM kindergarten, she writes Romantic Suspense novels for the Christian market. Her first book was recently contracted by Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense and is due to be published in 2014.

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