Wednesday, February 1, 2012
NOT ABOUT ME
Sunday was an interesting day. First, on T.V., I heard a sermon where it was suggested that seeking God’s face and focusing on Him was something we needed to do every day. Absolutely true. And it isn’t like I haven’t said that before. We know that. And we know that we need to try to learn something special from what we read.
But, later, as I was listening to a sermon at church on the beginning of Hebrews 9, and when I thought about the fact that the whole setting of Hebrews 9 is found in Leviticus, I got to wondering about our daily time with God in His word. Leviticus, of course, is where the instructions concerning the LAW are told and it is where the earthly tabernacle is constructed according to the pattern of the Heavenly tabernacle which God revealed to Moses while they were on the mountain. What an amazing picture that is. A holograph without a computer! Wow!
But how many people actually enjoy reading Leviticus, anyway. It’s a tough book to swallow. We are not under the law, but we are asked to read all about the law as we read Leviticus. But what is in there for me? Isn’t that what many people ask? And this is where I split with the popularity of reading God’s Word or going to Church to see what God will say to me about me. It is NOT ABOUT ME! It IS about God. Do we have to apply God’s Word to our own lives? Absolutely! But FIRST, we must get to know GOD. If we do not know Him, we cannot begin to imagine what He might be trying to tell us about us.
This is why I like to ask, “What is God telling me about HIM?” What does this passage tell me about who HE is and what He can do or what He expects? Later I may find that it speaks directly to something in my own life, but first I need to see and focus on what I learned about God. That is the way I handle my study of His Word.
I was blessed a few years ago, when reading Leviticus, to discover a truth about God that appears over and over and over again in that book. Here we can realized the enormity of the fact that God, Himself, spoke directly to Moses with every word written there. “The LORD said to Moses…” Over, and over again we are reminded that “The LORD said to Moses…” Then, intermittently we are also reminded that God spoke to him in absolute authority… “for I the LORD am your God....” “I am the LORD.” “…for I the LORD, am your God.” He (Moses) and we are not to ever forget who is speaking here. This is not boring nonsense. This is GOD speaking and He will hold His followers to what He is declaring. And through this He will show His Glory through our inability to even come close to what He declares here. He was not indecisive about what He wanted and expected. Nor was He unsure of how sins would one day be forgiven once and for all by one huge sacrifice of the only perfect being to ever live. That is a major personal application.
Then, in Numbers, He makes His case even stronger. Here, the truth is, “The Almighty God said…, and Moses (or the people) did.” Instruction followed by immediate obedience. I was so excited with this revelation that I could hardly contain it. In fact, I bugged many people repeating those phrases over and over again. My personal take was and is “Do I do?”
Moses was devoted to God and that led him to FOCUS on God every single day in his efforts to lead the people of God toward the Promised Land. Am I so devoted to God that I focus on Him every single day? Do I learn from Him and about Him every single day? When He speaks to me do I respond by doing?
To me that is huge, and it is one of the reasons why I love the Old Testament so much. I do not have to “live by the Law” but I do have to learn about my God, God the Father, if you will; and I need to become aware of how easy it is to walk away from God without a backward glance when I find that things He expects of me are just too boring or too hard. I also have to remember that God does ask us to do painful things as we travel His road, and not to resent Him for that.
But most of all, I have to daily remember that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross gives me the privilege of knowing God and being able to learn from Him and about Him daily. And that the presence of the Holy Spirit in me gives me accountability to listen and to do what He asks from me. Some days I do not do so well. Other times… Well, I hear Him and submit to Him as He desires. “All who have ears, let them hear.”
May we all see Him for the goodness and love He freely gives and hug Him close when we stop to talk!