Thursday, November 12, 2009

a cycle of relationship

Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

Leviticus 9:22-24

There is a cyclic pattern to the book of Leviticus that is seen in its completion in this passage. It looks something like this:

The cycle in Leviticus

First, God issues a series of commands. In this case, it was all the detailed description of sacrifices at the altar along with the consecration of the priests. Then there is an opportunity for accompanying obedience where Israel follows the commands. The text is detailed in both the command stage and the obedience stage to carefully show how Israel followed the Lord. This pattern actually began at the end of the book of Exodus with the tabernacle construction. Thirdly, God blesses the obedience of the nation. He makes Himself known in some great way. We see this at the end of Exodus as well, when God’s glory fills the tabernacle. Here, fire from the Lord consumes the sacrifices made by Aaron and his sons. The final piece of the cycle comes together with Israel worshiping God for who He is.

I believe the general principles still remain for us today in terms of relationship with God, We obey God’s commands as He clearly shows them in scripture. The teaching of the Word of God is vital to this process. When we obey, God blesses us, not necessarily in terms of physical prosperity, but with a clear demonstration of His person and His power (I have personally seen this at Mill Creek through the Greater Impact campaign… we have already seen tremendous work in hearts and lives with our steps of obedience as a church. It will only continue.) And the result is that God is worshiped. He is worshiped in understanding His commands, in obeying them, in His blessing to us, and as we offer praise back to Him. This is a beautiful thing.

What still remains to seen is exactly where God is going to take Mill Creek over the next three years. The details may be dynamic, but His sustaining hand and mighty power are going to be the constant experience. Do we need anything else? We will continue to sacrifice. He will continue to bless that obedience. And lives will be changed. Our worship becomes very real and very visible… just as it was for Israel.

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