Learning to Love Leviticus: Set Apart to Set an Example
Suggested Reading: Chapter 8, Chapter 9, and Chapter 10
“The Lord spoke to Moses: “Take Aaron, his sons with him, the garments, the anointing oil, the bill of the sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread, and assemble the whole community at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” (Leviticus 8:1-3 HCSB)
Now that God had given Moses and the Israelites all the instructions needed for their new sacrificial system, it was time to consecrate Aaron and his sons into the priesthood. Consecration means “the action of making or declaring something sacred” (Google dictionary, www.google.com). In simple terms, it means that these men would be considered set apart, special, and holy to God.
It was very important for all the Israelites to witness the consecration ceremony. The Israelites needed to see just how sacred and set apart the priesthood was. They watched as Aaron and his sons were washed clean, clothed in special garments, anointed with oil, and then continued to watch as the new priests burnt the very first offerings – one sin offering (Leviticus 8:14), one burnt offering (Leviticus 8:18), and one ordination offering (Leviticus 8:22).
Moses was very careful to follow the directions given by God for each offering. And once the offerings were completed, the priests were instructed to eat their portions of the offerings, burn up whatever was not eaten, and remain in the tent for seven days because it would take seven days for the Lord to finish the consecration (Leviticus 8:31-36).
After the seven days, the now holy priests were to offer the first sacrifices for the enire community. Like the first day of a brand new job, I can only imagine the nervousness they had as they walked out of the tent.
As the entire community watched, the priests meticulously followed God’s directions. First a sin and burnt offering for themselves, then a sin, burnt, grain, and fellowship offering for the entire community. Aaron and Moses blessed the community, the glory of God appeared and set fire to the altar, and all the Israelites fell down to the ground in awestruck wonder (Leviticus 9:23-24).
Like Aaron and his sons were called to be a part of the priesthood, we are also called to be part of Christ’s priesthood. Just like the entire community watched as Aaron and his sons were consecrated, the whole world around us is watching us. And because we have been set apart by God, we are to shine a light for Him for all to see.
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NLT)
The priests were washed, anointed, clothed and made holy. Through Christ’s death we are also given these special gifts. Our sins are washed away; we are anointed with the Holy Spirit, clothed in salvation and righteousness, and made holy in God’s eyes.
“…Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow…” (Isaiah 1:18 NLT)
“And it is God who…has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 ESV)
“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness…” (Isaiah 61:10 NIV)
“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10 NIV)
During the ordination offering, Moses took some of the blood and rubbed it on each of the priest’s earlobe, thumb, and big toe (Leviticus 8:23-24). How cool for God to show that we are also covered by the blood of Jesus literally from head to toe. Nothing is left uncovered, nothing is left unchanged.
As we are going through this process of change, as God sets us apart and makes us holy, is it not important for us to take time away? Similar to the priests staying in the tent for seven days, maybe it is wise for us to draw away from the world and spend time with just God, letting Him refill and refuel our spirits through prayer and reading His word. Then, once we’ve done that, we are ready to “walk out of the tent” and walk in our roles as priests.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NLT)
As they go about their new priestly duties, and begin to offer sacrifices for the Israelites, the priests are very careful to do just as God has asked. We too should be setting an example of what living in obedience to God looks like. In doing so, we are shining a light and essentially showing the glory of God to those around us. And just as the Israelites fell face down when they saw God’s glory, those around us will hopefully praise God after seeing God’s goodness through our example.
“You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.” (Matthew 5:16 The Voice)
“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.” (1 Peter 2:12 NLT)
Obedience was so important to God, that two of Aaron’s sons were killed when they didn’t follow directions (Leviticus 10:1-3). Although our disobedience to God may not directly result in a physical death, it does leave us down a path of destruction. By following God’s lead, we are promised a future of hope and prosperity, but when we chose to go our own way we may end up in a place of spiritual death.
“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15 NLT)
The rest of chapter ten reiterates just how set apart the priests are to be. From their hair, to their clothing, to what they eat and drink – everything the priests did was to set an example for the Israelites and teach them the difference “between the holy and the common…the clean and the unclean” (Leviticus 10:10 HCSB).
We all have leadership roles and are all called to be setting example to the people around us. Let’s continue to stay connected to the one true Vine and allow Him to produce good fruit for the world to see.
- Who around you are you leading or setting an example for?
- How can you be sure to shine a light for God?
- What is one step you can take to spend more time with God?
- Where might you be straying away and living in disobedience?