Faith Chase Episode 5: Exodus 33 – Leviticus 13

Hello! Welcome to Episode 5 of the Faith Chase Podcast. I’m Heather Tabata, and this podcast is about making our faith real in everyday life.

I’d like to start off with saying thank you for listening, and especially for the encouragement you’ve given me to keep the podcast going. That isn’t why I do this, but it’s nice to know that this time is well spent if someone benefits from it.

Last time, the Israelites had just sinned against God by making an idol and worshipping it. Instead of destroying them, God let them keep going. That didn’t mean He wasn’t mad.

For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the children of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume you. Now therefore, take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do to you.'” – Exodus 33:5

God talked to Moses, the Bible says the way a man speaks to a friend. Even though God was furious with the people, He recognized that Moses was trying to do what was right and didn’t lump them all in together. Moses asked God to remember that the Israelites were the people God had chosen, and God agreed that He would continue to go with them.

God told Moses in verse 17, “for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” It’s awesome to think that God knows us individually and recognizes us even by our names. He takes the time to care for us, and that should motivate us to be more careful how we live for Him.

After that, Moses wanted to see God, but God told him that nobody could see His face and live. So God passed by Moses and let him see His back. Imagine how close Moses and God were for Moses to be comfortable enough to remind God that He had chosen the Israelites and ask to see Him.

In chapter 34, God told Moses to bring two new stone tablets to Mount Sinai. They talked again, and God told Moses to destroy the places other nations used to worship idols as they went through the land. Moses wrote the Ten Commandments on the new stone tablets.

Moses was with God on the mountain for 40 days. When he came down, his face shone, so he would cover it when he talked to the people and take the veil off when he talked to God.

In chapter 35 God directs the people to start making things for the tabernacle. He’d given specific instructions about how to make it and with what. It would have been an elaborate tent for worship. Both men and women, any who wanted to, could help with the work. It’s interesting that it’s specified that the people who were willing contributed.

Just like then, today God doesn’t want people to go through the motions of doing His will for us. The only way we can please Him is if it’s what we want to do.

God gave people the wisdom to do the craftsmanship of the tabernacle, and in chapter 36, the people contributed materials as they wanted to. They had more than enough, and Moses actually told the people to stop bringing supplies because they had too much. They used acacia wood covered in gold and a veil of blue, purple, and red thread.

Chapter 37 tells about the ark of the covenant. It was a gold covered box made of acacia wood that would have been close to four feet long, and a little over two feet wide and tall. It had rings at its sides to put poles in to hold to carry it. On top of the ark was a gold mercy seat the same size as the box, and on top of it were two gold cherubim with their wings spread facing the mercy seat. They also made a table for some of the offerings, a gold lampstand, and an altar for incense for the tabernacle.

The clothes for the priests were intricate too. Chapter 39 tells how they were woven with gold, blue, purple, and red thread. On the shoulders there were two onyx stones engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The breastplate had twelve gem stones set in it and each one had the name of one of the twelve sons of Israel engraved on it.

They brought everything they had made to Moses. He looked at it all and saw that they had done it the way God told them to, and Moses blessed them.

Chapter 40 tells how on the first day of the second year after they left Egypt, they put the tabernacle together and anointed it with anointing oil. God stayed over the tabernacle in a cloud during the day if He wanted the Israelites to stay where they were, and the cloud was taken up on days they were to travel. At night fire stayed over the tabernacle, and this continued the whole time they traveled.

Now we’re moving right on to Leviticus! Chapters 1-4 tell about the different types of offerings the Israelites were supposed to give: burnt, grain, peace, and sin. There are detailed instructions about how they were supposed to present this to God.

One thing in particular stands out to me: what they offered was supposed to be flawless. God wanted the best they had. It’s the same with us. God doesn’t want our leftovers. He wants us to give Him our time purposefully. It’s easy to take care of school, jobs, and family and intend to do things for God in the time that’s left, but life has a way of getting in the way. Let’s try to plan time to study, pray, and reach out so we don’t just give our faith whatever is left.

Leviticus 5 talks about sin offerings. God has always given people standards of what is morally acceptable. If the Israelites didn’t follow His standards, they were to make an offering for forgiveness. God told them to offer a lamb if they sinned. Even in this situation, when they had failed God, He shows grace. He made allowances for what people were able to do. If they couldn’t provide a lamb they could bring two birds, and if not they could offer flour. God never expects more of us than we are capable of. This way, whether a person was rich or poor, they could still follow God’s will.

If someone sinned against another person and caused them to lose something, Leviticus 6 says they were supposed to give the value of whatever was lost, plus 20%, to the other person. It wasn’t enough just to give back what had been lost. To make it right, the person needed to give more than they’d gotten through sinning.

God’s concern for His people continues in chapter 7. He makes provisions for the priests. Their job was to take care of the tabernacle, worship services, and sacrifices. So God set aside part of the sacrifices to be for their food.

Reading through the instructions for the sacrifices, it’s easy to think that God is sitting on high just waiting for people to mess up. And He does demand justice, because He is perfect, but with God’s justice always comes grace. God is perfect, and the reward He has promised is perfect. So how can He let people who aren’t perfect be part of it? He gave the Israelites, and later us, a way to be accepted again when we mess up. We can’t take away what we have done, but God basically says if we follow His will, He will take us anyway.

Chapters 8 and 9 tell how Aaron and his sons made the first offerings and began the priesthood. They offered the first sacrifices and stayed in the tabernacle for a week to be consecrated. After that week was finished, they made offerings again. Aaron had to not only make sacrifices for atonement for the people, but he had to for himself as well. Even though he was their religious leader, he wasn’t perfect, and he didn’t claim to be. He had to acknowledge that he sinned and needed forgiveness just like the rest of the people.

It’s the same today. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Being a preacher or Sunday school teacher doesn’t make someone perfect, and you don’t have to be perfect to preach or teach. True, preachers and teachers should be somewhat mature Christians, but they will come up short too. When they do, let’s be as ready to forgive them as anyone else.

In Leviticus 10, Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, offered incense in a way that God hadn’t told them to. This was part of worship, and they went around God’s plan. As a result, they died.

And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.'” So Aaron held his peace. – Leviticus 10:3

God demands respect from us, and rightly so. He created us out of love, and for us to disregard His will is rebellion. So, yes, everyone is going to sin, and we should be ready to forgive each other when we do. But sometimes we will still suffer the consequences of our sin.

God continued to give Aaron instruction in how to fulfill his role as priest. God told him to not drink alcohol when he went into the tabernacle. The reasons that He gave were so that Aaron could distinguish between what was holy and what wasn’t and to be able to teach the Israelites what God told them through Moses.

Chapter 11 gives dietary laws for the Israelites. They were allowed to eat meat from animals which both had split hooves and chewed cud. God permitted them to eat fish if they had fins and scales. There was a long list of birds they weren’t to eat, many of which ate carrion. They were also allowed to eat locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers.

The animals that they weren’t allowed to eat, called unclean, were also not to be touched if they died. If a person did touch a dead animal whether it was unclean or not, that person was considered unclean until that evening. He was supposed to wash his clothes, and after that evening would be ceremonially clean again.

God gave instructions on cleanliness after giving birth in chapter 12. A new mother would be considered unclean for seven days after having a son and for two weeks after having a daughter. Then after time for purification, 33 days with a son and 66 days with a daughter, she could bring an offering to the priest and be ceremonially clean again. Here, clean or unclean didn’t refer to spiritual health; these guidelines were for health reasons.

It also wasn’t to punish a woman for having a daughter. If girls were looked at as inferior, He could have changed what was required in sacrifice for girls compared to boys, but He didn’t. According to David Macht’s “A Scientific Appreciation of Leviticus 12:1-5,” Hebrew commentators gave the reasoning as women having postpartum blood flow longer after having a girl than a boy. There is also some evidence that there are more toxins longer in the blood of the mother of a daughter than of a son. So God wasn’t looking down on females; He was likely looking after the health of the mothers.

The medical instructions continued in chapter 13 regarding leprosy, which was a terrible and contagious disease. The priests were given directions on how to examine a person who might have leprosy to determine if they needed to be quarantined for the safety of the people.

Thanks for joining for Episode 5! I hope the podcast is encouraging for you. Head over to the blog site, or Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, and let me know your thoughts on the reading from this episode. What stood out to you? What questions do you have? If you’re enjoying the podcast, don’t forget to subscribe so the next episode can come straight to you. On to the next reading!

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