Sermon in a nutshell: “Give your life to God!” (Leviticus 1:1-9)
Why do we read the book of Leviticus?
We just finished the book of Acts. It was all about the works of the Holy Spirit. We saw how the risen Jesus summoned the disciples and the apostles. We read how the first church started in the first century. We learned the dynamic growth and expansion of the churches throughout the world. It was the history and mission of the people of God in the New Testament.
If we find a counter part of the history and mission of the people of God in the Old Testament, it will be Exodus/Leviticus/Numbers/Deuteronomy/Joshua/Samuel/Kings/Chronicles/Ezrah-Nehemiah. Among those many Old Testament books, we will first focus on the book of Leviticus because that shows the unique relationship of the people of God and God.
Unique Relationship with God
When God freed people from Egypt, it was God’s dream to make the slaves into the worshippers. God wanted to transform the community of slaves into the community of worshippers. Slaves lived without their own freedom and directions. They follow the orders of the masters. However, God wanted them to be decision makers and have their own ideas and directions. On the other hand, God wanted them to be responsible for their own destiny and accountable to each other. In this sense, “holiness” is an important characteristic of the people of God.
<Holiness> means <Separated-ness>. The people of God are separated from the world by many criteria. They do not follow the orders of the worldly masters. They do not pursue the worldly goals. They worship the Creator, God. They practice God’s love in their community. They serve others with God’s love. However, for all of this holy living, the people have to go through holy dying.
For this holy dying, the Leviticus starts with the five types of sacrifices that the people of God should offer. They are <Burnt Offering>, <Grain Offering>, <Peace Offering>, <Sin Offering>, and <Guilt Offering>. In chapter one, we are dealing with the <Burnt Offering>.
Everything has to be burnt!
Burnt Offering is done in this way: People offer a male animal without blemish. Then they lay their hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be acceptable as atonement for them. Aaron’s sons the priests shed the blood against all sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. The burnt offering shall be flayed and cut up into its parts. The sons of the priest Aaron shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the parts, with the head and the suet, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar; but its entrails and its legs shall be washed with water. Then the priest shall turn the whole into smoke on the altar as a burnt offering, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord.
What does that mean?
It symbolizes the total surrender and commitment. People have to cut the animal in halves and show everything that is inside of the animal. Likewise, we have to confess all our sins, dedicate all our dreams, and give all our belongings to God. That is the first step to be a worshipper. If we hold something back, that will be a stumbling block for us to be a worshipper.
The only difference between the OT and our practice is that we are the priests. There is no Aaron or other priests. We have to confess our own sins. We have to show our own thoughts to God. We have to be our own priest for our holiness. If we do not agree to do this first step, we cannot move forward to the second step, the <Grain Offering>.
Are you ready to be transparent and obedient to God in every aspects of your life?
Whatever we do, if we are willing to follow God’s words, trusting that God knows us best and God allows everything for the benefit of us, God’s children, then we can start this journey. Otherwise, it will be sometimes too harsh to follow. This chapter is more about resolution than understanding. I pray that we all make up our minds to be honest, humble, and obedient to God no matter what. Then God can do great works through us and with us.
- Are you willing to burn every part of your thoughts, desires, and hearts?
- Are you willing to follow God’s direction in your life?