What do you think of as you read these chapters that detail all the rituals the children of Israel had to go through for the forgiveness of sins? As I have mentioned before, it’s difficult to trudge through all the detail and find something meaningful or practical for today.
The first thought was how grateful I am that we no longer have to go through all this ritual. We no longer have to dedicate priests with the sacrifices of bulls and rams (not sure how I would fancy boiled ram meat). We no longer have to purify altars and pour animal blood at the base of them. It makes me that much more grateful for what Jesus did by taking our sins upon him, both past and future, and being our sacrifice.
But, there’s something more I realized as I read this chapter a few times. I began to wonder about how all this preparation changed the people’s hearts. Think about it – these people had to go through this ritual over and over again. There is such an emphasis on cleansing and purification. Certain things had to be a certain way. Things had to be done in a certain order. There was much training and preparation involved to meet with God.
Contrast that with today, when we can suddenly stop what we’re doing, pop into church for an hour, endure a few worship songs and a sermon, and then get back to our busy lives. When do we take the time to get prepared to meet God? Where is the emphasis on holiness?
Today, it seems the church is more interested in being “seeker-sensitive” and not insulting or offending anyone. It’s become a social club for those who want to call themselves Christians. It’s little wonder the church has become so powerless.
But, there’s a change in the air. I don’t know about you, but it really seems like God is turning up the heat. Do you feel it? This past Tampa Bay Tres Dias (#17) was more intense than I’ve ever experienced and the momentum has yet to slow down. These past few weekends at church have been an experience like none other – we never even got to the message that was prepared! God took over and we went in a whole different direction. Things are changing.
God is calling us to prepare ourselves. It’s not by might, nor power, but by His Spirit. Praise God that we don’t have to cut up animals and burn them on the altar any more. But, what is it God is asking us to do to prepare? Can we continue to live our lives day-by-day without so much as praying once, and then expect to hear from Him on Sunday?
Ask God today what it is He would say to you. Reserve time to listen to Him. How can we prepare ourselves?
(okay – that was quite a soapbox this morning – are you still with me?)