Leviticus 1:The Need To Belong

belong-to-god-quote-e1357797920933

Leviticus picks up where Exodus ends. The title Leviticus means “matter of the Levites” The tribe of Levi, also known as Levites, were the priestly tribe of Israel. Leviticus is God’s instructions to the Priests on how to assist Israel in worship and living a holy life.

There are ceremonial and civil laws in Leviticus that are not meant for us to practice today. However the key points of each chapter are for us to take away the seriousness of our sin, the need for blood to cover our sin and the need for atonement!

All of the sacrificial elements point to the death of Jesus on the cross. He was the final sacrifice. When Jesus died he declared “It is Finished!”

As we go through each Law, focus on the character of God through each Law. Leviticus is a shadow of Christ and his redemptive work on the cross. Focus on specifically what God wants you to learn about him and yourself! The first 7 Chapters give us a symbolic insight on what God was teaching the Israelites as they brought their offerings forth!

In Exodus, God gave Israel  truths that they needed to know. The 10 commandments are a revelation of the kind of people that God expects us to be, or,  the kind he designed.  He actually designed humans to do the things which are recorded in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17). Some of the commandments pertain to our relationship with him: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Others deal with our relationships with our neighbors: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” “Thou shalt not steal.” “Thou shalt not bear false witness…”

After the tabernacle was built,  God gave a whole series of sacrifices as a picture of the New Covenant, the new arrangement for living, in which a death would occur, and a priest would be present to help us with our emotional and intellectual problems, and he would make it possible for us to live with a wholesome God even though we had been violators and breakers of the Law which he had set before us. That is what these sacrifices are all about. Truths that we as Christians need to know!

We are going to hit some important parts of each chapter. I urge you to read each one and ask God to reveal his truth to you! Leviticus 1 gives us insight on the Need To Belong!

First the book of Leviticus opens with these words:

The LORD called Moses, and spoke to him from the tent of meeting,[the tabernacle] saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, and say to them, When any man of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of cattle from the herd or from the flock.” (Leviticus 1:1-2 RSV)

Here is the introduction to the offerings.

Notice that this whole system of sacrifices was never given from Sinai. It was given from the tabernacle, the place where God had come to live with man. This is significant for us. God never placed the demand of the Law upon us without also intending to meet it from within, God dwelling in us. Therefore God has provision for us when we break the Law— guilt,  condemnation, self-hatred and all the other afflictions which come to us from within, and which keep us from being the kind of whole persons that God made us to be.

When you look at the offerings, the  first offering is the burnt offering. It followed a five-step pattern, like all the rest of the offerings.

First a selection of the sacrifice had to be made. If an animal sacrifice were required then either a male or a female had to be chosen. In the case of the burnt offering, it was always a male. It had to be without blemish, without any kind of disfigurement at all. Animals were the most valuable possession of these nomadic Hebrew people. It was a costly sacrifice taken from their treasure, their animals.

Then, after selecting it they laid their hands on it. What does that mean? Well, that is God’s way of teaching the great truth of substitution, the fact that we human beings are all tied together with each other, that we belong to one another and share life together, therefore there is a way we can substitute for another.We are linked together by the  laying on of hands. When we send someone out, pray for someone etc, we often bring them up  and lay hands on them. In this sense, we are saying, we are with you! We are going to be praying for you and helping you to meet your need.

In dealing with our deepest guilt that substitute had to be a spotless, sinless person. And the only human being who ever fulfilled that qualification was Jesus Christ. That is why he is the only one who can redeem us.

The third step was to kill the animal involved immediately. I believe he wants to impress upon us the fact that the problem he is dealing with is so intense and so deeply rooted in our human lives that nothing but death can solve it! Immediate death to sin!

The fourth step was the sprinkling of the blood, or the burning of the portions of the sacrifice, as an act of consecration, of commitment to God. You see, the instant one of these animals died, it became acceptable to God. Death solved the problem of separation, of alienation, and then the sacrifice could be offered to God. Crucifying that sin is the only way!

The final step was a ceremonial indication of a restored relationship. Usually they sat down and ate part of the meat of the sacrifice.  God gave them a means of indicating the relationship was restored and that there was peace again.

Here is another point to take away! The burnt offering was available for everyone!

They had three choices as to the kind of animal, Verse 3:. Three choices for sacrifices. Even the poorest of people could offer something as a burnt offering

If you were rich enough you brought a bull. But if you could not afford a bull or if you did not have a herd of cattle but only a flock of sheep or goats then another provision was made; Verse 10:

Finally, if you were very poor and had no animals at all you could bring a bird; Verse 14:

Lets look at some important aspects of the offering..

It was a male without blemish.In the scriptures, the male also stood for leadership, initiative, dominion. Females, in Scripture, always signify support, following, response. There were certain offerings for which a female was specified.  They were always told specifically what to do, which taught them the truth of what they needed to learn. So for the burnt offering they had to bring a male without blemish or disfigurement. That was a recognition of the fact that in this most basic of all offerings God was dealing with man as a king, as a sovereign.

You see man was made to rule. He was never made to be in bondage to anyone. He was never made to be a slave. That is why we are restless when we are enslaved or held in bondage

What is man that thou art mindful of him,
and the son of man that thou dost care for him? (Psalms 8:4 RSV)

And he answers his own question,

Thou hast given him dominion over the work of thy hands;
thou hast put all things under his feet, (Psalms 8:6 RSV)

All the fish and other inhabitants of the seas, all the animals and birds, everything is put under the authority of man, as God created him. We are made to rule

The second distinctive of the burnt offering, was that it was to be totally consumed. Nobody ever ate the meat of the burnt offering. Look at Verses 6-9:

“And he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces; and the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay wood in order upon the fire; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall lay the pieces, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire upon the altar; but its entrails[intestines] and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall burn the whole on the altar, as a burnt offering, an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the LORD.” (Leviticus 1:6-9 RSV)

There were three sacrifices that were said to be pleasing odors to God The first of these is this burnt offering. God says that there is something about man which, when he recognizes his right to rule and gives himself wholly to it, is pleasing to God. God is thereby teaching us that man was meant to be his, wholly, totally. The whole man — body, soul, and spirit — is to be the dwelling place of God. Only this enables man to rule, and rule adequately. That is the sweet aroma that God loves, total commitment to Him!

This is recognition of the most basic hunger of man. It is a reflection of our need to belong, to be accepted, to be loved, to have an identity, a relationship, a cause to live or die for. Man is forever restless if he does not have this sense of belonging. And we will never find fulfillment in our humanity, in expressing ourselves, until we find it in committing ourselves totally to God.

A third characteristic of the burnt offering — and this is most important — is that it had to involve a death. Death in these offerings is always a picture of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf. So when these Israelites offered this sacrifice they were learning the great truth that only by means of the death of an acceptable substitute can man ever satisfy this great longing to belong to and to be possessed by God.

The fourth and final distinction of the burnt offering is given in Chapter 6, where there are some additional instructions to the priests about how to make these offerings. In Verses 12-13 they were told:

“The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it, it shall not go out; the priests shall burn wood on it every morning, and he shall lay the burnt offering in order upon it, and shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. Fire shall be kept burning upon the altar continually; it shall not go out.” (Leviticus 6:12-13 RSV)

What is God saying by that? Simply that this is the most basic relationship of your life, that no other need can ever be met until this need is met. You can never find any other hunger of your life  until you have found this one answered, until you have found that you belong to God, that you are his wholly and completely, body, soul, and spirit.

If you want to solve any other problem of life you have to begin there. “I belong to the Father, I am one of his family. I’m a child of God. I know him as my heavenly Father. I have been accepted by him. He loves me.”

Wow, Chapter 1 of Leviticus gave me insight on the need to belong and the burning desire that truly only God can meet!

Im thankful for the desire that burns within me! Are you totally commited to God, do you give off a sweet aroma?

Share your thoughts on Chapter 1! Love you…live free

Stephanie

http://www.simplysoulsisters.com

http://www.virtuousvibes.com

Some info is used from Ray Steadman’s book on Leviticus Living Wholey

 

Militant Matriarch

11201493_10206784664167986_3173326354783692950_n

In honor of Veterans Day, I as a Female Air Force Veteran , would be a miss if I did not salute my fellow comrades! In honor of this special day, I have loaned my blog to a fellow poetess, artist and Air Force Veteran who has made it her duty to make sure us Female Veterans receive the recognition we deserve. She is one bad Militant Matriarch!

Read, ingest and share the words of Jessica-Patrice Dorsey Coulter….then read it again. Its well worth the time. Thank you my sister for being our voice.

I am a Mother, a Poet, Yogi, and a disabled Veteran with a vagina. I have served my country, first as an Active duty Chaplains Assistant, then as a military wife, Then as a divorced military spouse, and finally, as a disabled veteran fighting, waiting for over 5 years with the Veterans Administration. I finally got the rating I feel is fair, but …MAN… that was a process….

It seems that everyone these days is penning “Open Letters to(insert offensive person), as a way to educate “said person.” Well, Universe, today is no different. My Mother and Father served in the Navy, my bother is a Lt. Col in the Army I have had two Uncles serve (one in the Air force) three cousins, and both my grandparents. The military was a way to pay for school, serve the country, and, for me, a way out of a small town. Those who serve do so for a variety of reasons
You could say, that I have seen all facets of Military life, the good, the bad and yes, the absolute worst. I have nursed my sons while in full Battle Dress Uniform in a bathroom in the back of my shop, and have supported my then husband while deployed over and over again with the GWOT. I stayed behind, because I ended up with a non deployable disorder. I developed a Thyroid disease, soon after my first deployment to Prince Sultan Air Base. I also had two children, and some that I worked with accused me of getting pregnant to avoid deploying. Those accusations truly hurt, as, a deployment is for a specific amount of time, children are forever.
I worked in my shop, the best way a E-4 could, with limited staff. I supported the families left behind in war, and the Chaplains who bore the brunt of those seeking 100% confidentiality. It was an inserting time, in my life to say the least. My best Friend, also a Veteran with a Vagina, and single mother super hero deployed again, and again, so, for those who say women catch a break, they don’t. War is hell. Male or Female.
I was sexually assaulted by a military police officer when I was 18, or maybe 19. Sometimes that day feels like forever ago, sometimes it’s a fresh as the almost frost on my small lawn, in the renovated projects in the most beautiful place in America, Newport RI. Now, that you have read, and seen my military stripes, I guess I will start with
MY OPEN LETTER TO CIVILIAN
Dear Civilian Community, As the advertisements and recognition for military service roll across the screen of your television, tablets and smart phones, and as the sale flyers get placed in your inbox and mailbox, I would like to advise you on how you can best serve those who have serves.
Do we, as veterans LOVE the FREE FOOD that day, HELL yes! Do we LOVE the free tickets to events and hotel stays, and your monetary discounts on Veterans day HELL YES! As I type, I am secretly hoping that an event for veterans I was invited too will have a spa discount for me. I have put in my time and paid my dues, and when I go to these Free dinners with a male friend, I am often NOT EVEN SEEN AS THE VETERAN.
So yes, shower me with free stuff, and remind me, that you care about what happens after the tarmac tear soaked reunions. Free Stuff on Veterans day, feels good, even if it is fleeting feeling, just like the food consumed.
I appreciate all of it. And the veterans who are on the brink of poverty, homeless and hungry appreciate the hot meals as well. Go to a chain restaurant and you will see young 30 -40somthing vets along with 65 plus vets in all states of living.
However, It is one day. 24 hours. Veterans days is One day that we flood the popular chain restaurants, and make the wit list IMPOSSIBLE for civilians to get food. One day where we stand on the field of whatever team and feel the love. For one day we hear cheers that we as OIF/OEF veterans never felt as they came home from multiple deployments. I feel that love from the NYC residents who line the streets and thank us fro our service when I bring my 2 sons to march in the NYC’s Veterans Day parade. Sometimes I fight back tears, because, again it feels good to know we are not forgotten, and people truly care.
Now, please acknowledge we are NOT looking for these accolades, and I can only speak for myself: It feels good.
For me, it makes my rape, my divorce to a military man, my battles with the VA, depression, homelessness, poverty, unemployment, the complete awful experience of divorcing the military, sting a bit less.
It is uncomfortable, but, I have learned to accept it, and take it. People really care, and on November 11, they all care at the same time.
Then on November 12, after that day is over, much like the day after a birthday, we all, civilians and veterans, collectively go back to the regular scheduled program called America. It is the reality of that day, like all other celebrations, it simply is.
As we prepare for Veterans Day 2014, other then posting my usual rants in my Facebook page, I wanted to go further, and share what I feel would create a sustainable effort for veterans issues, causes. Or, maybe I just wanted to purge my inner most frustrations being a Veteran with a Vagina. I use that phrase often, because it can be offensive to some, and as a female veteran, I am often invisible, consider that your Vagina trigger warning, it will be used going forward. I have compiled a list of things that YOU as a never serving, maybe even diabolically opposed to military service civilian can do to show that you care. I have broken it into two Sections, Awareness, and Action. First you must become fully aware of the state of the Veteran, in order to effective serve the veterans.
AWARENESS: 1. Become educated on the nuts and bolts of the Military. a. Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard b. Active Duty(24/7) & Reserve and National Guard c. Officers(college dregreed to become an officer) d. Enlisted (non college, or some college at time of enlistment)
A simple internet search, will help you avoid miss-naming a veterans service. All members of each brach have unique training, and we tend to have our own version of language and pride from which service we came from. Just like not every Gi is a Joe, not every Staff Sergeant is a Soldiers. A great way to avoid all this is to ask “Hey, thank you for your service, what branch did you serve?”
2. Leave your POLITICS and GOD at the door and research current veterans issues. I say GOD, because not all military members or veteran believe in God, and as chaplains assistant, not all people worship the same God. I say politics, because they we get divided, and there is no room for division, if you are really interested in helping veterans.
Here are some great search ideas, if the word Veteran is not on the list simply add it: The ABCs of researching Veteran Issues a. Veterans Health Care Issues b. Suicide Rates c. Killed in Action d. Wounded in action e. Military sexual Trauma(males and females) f. Unemployment g. Women Veterans (Veterans with Vaginas have been underserved in all these areas) h. Housing/Homelessness i. Alternative Healing for Veterans j. Deployment rates k. Average age of Military Veterans l. Traumatic Brain Injury m. Average number of medications Veterans take n. Service Animals o. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder p. Military to Civilian transition q. Mental Health rates r. Substance Abuse s. Pain Management t. Gulf War Syndrome u. What not to say to a veteran v. Long Term Care w. Education Programs x. Family Support y. Survivors guilt z. Sleep issues
Now that you know your ABCs, next time when you engage with a veteran, you will have some more idea of what we face as we (P) come back home, and try shapeshift in a world that many times, simply is no idea what we are going through. Maybe you have started to do your research and want to make a lasting impact, further then that 24 hours of love we call Veterans day.
Yes, now we get into Action. This is where I must put my title, if you will, on the line. I am an Alumnai of the Wounded Warrior Project, and are on their National campaign team for 2014. My position on this team, means that I have voulenteered my image, and my story to the WWP. You can read about me here. http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/…/meet-a-warrior/jessi…
ACTION!
So what do you do? There are so many Organizations out there, there are large one like the WWP and smaller, hyper local ones like Operation Standown Rhode Island, that are deserving of your assistance, time, funds and help. All you really have to do is search Veteran Service Origination online, and you will get many, many returns. I would list them, but there are so many to chose from. Again, as with any charity, do your homework and ensure they are on the up and up. A real “boots on the ground” way to find out where the help is needed is by looking up and contacting your own States office of Veterans Affairs, they will have a more tailored list and will have a more targeted need of veterans in that state, and can assist you further. You may also find your local Veterans Hospital, and find the volunteer services office, they can help you as well.
Another important aspect to helping veterans needs is matching you own personal style and passion to a charity. As a yoga Instructor, and a Military Sexual assault thriver and a veteran with a vagina, I tend to look at organization who serve the veteran holistically, and who help advance awareness of issues that pertain to the growing number of Women Veterans. Find one of those ABC’s, that touches you, and go in that direction. Veterans day is a wonderful day, and as I have said it feels good, to know that the country can place down its politics and celebrates the diversity that is the modern day Veteran. What I would like, is a continuation, way beyond free stuff, way beyond standing ovations. Don’t get this the wrong way, we need those, as a Country, we need one day to honor those who serve, from all conflicts, and there are many of them. I feel that if we really start to get to know what the issues at hand are, maybe we will can start seeing the true cost of war, and maybe that will lead to that Yoga lady dream I have of a nation and a world at peace.
Sincerely,
A Veteran.
ps. Oh, and I do badass photoshoots and make poetry and what not as Jessica9names or J9.
pps. You can find more about that at www.jessica9names.com
pps. I am working on another Spoken word Album called ‪#‎MilitantMatriarch‬ that will due out in spring of 2016.