Friday, February 14, 2014

My God Is Mine, And I Am His

There are times where i've said things that have been rather legalistic, and have decided to try and hold less Levitical opinions, and to stagger trivial things as being less than absolute. I take it back. All of it.
And i pray God allows me to make this as least condemnational as possible because, as is taught more often than the wrongfulness of sin, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)

If something is not wrong, that makes it right. Likewise, if something is not right, that makes it wrong.
What is not right is not good, what's not good is bad, and what's bad is, well, sick. If there is one time that something is neither good nor bad in the Bible, i have not found it. The Bible draws all things as absolutes, right or wrong, blessed or cursed, living or dead, righteous or sinner; there is no halfway right thing, there is no barely blessed person, no one is only kind of alive, and there is none righteous.
And it's about time there were some things set as absolute again.

Sin is sin is sin is sin.

Now, to put this a little step forward, the Ten Commandments.
How do we reconcile them to Romans 8:1?
Simple. Do not condemn. This includes yourself. Do not condemn yourself by breaking the Law of God.
Yes, we are set free from the law of sin and death. Yet at the same time, a mere two verses later, Paul says that "[God] condemned sin in the flesh."
We are set free from the law because it could not free us. If we are in Christ, we are not condemned because He freed us by being the catalyst through which God condemned the flesh.

Despite this freedom from the law and condemnation, i feel that seeing a Levitical stand would be an act through which the glory of God could shine all the more unhindered through a set apart people.

Moses asked the camp of the Israelites, "Who is on the Lord's side?" and it was the sons of Levi who gathered around him.
It was the tribe of Levi that said, in essence, "We will do anything the Lord asks of us, no matter the cost to us or those around us." This stand was against any and every institution of man and it was for God alone. Then, in the same chapter, it was Moses, another Levite, who said to God (paraphrasing), "These people have sinned against You, but I am asking for forgiveness on their behalf. And if they are still to perish, as the one You have designated to be their leader, I must die with them."
Levites were the first, as far as i can tell, to make intercession.

When taking a census of the nation of Israel, the tribe of Levi was overlooked, because these people were not to be counted, but to be kept apart. They were to stay at the Tabernacle, to set it up, take it down, to guard it; the Tabernacle had been given unto them, this place where the Spirit of God would come down and rest was under the watch of these men. Under their watch was the presence of the Lord.
The man that guards to Tomb of The Unknown Soldier; this tribe was comprised of men with that sort of zeal.

"Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the people of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle. The Levites shall be mine: I am the Lord." (Numbers 3:45)
God made a special claim to the people of Levi; He chose them as His own. What greater statement could be made of a people over God saying, "[They] shall be Mine: I am the Lord"? Through Christ, all nations come unto Him, and He calls us all His.

Here's a personal favorite of mine regarding them; "At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord to stand before the Lord to minister to him and to bless in his name, to this day." (Deuteronomy 10:8)
The Lord set them apart. They were the firstfruits, the wave offering, the choice grain, however you want to put it, they were just that. The best of the crop were they, and God set them apart to carry the Ark of the Covenant. In other words, He chose them to carry His promise to mankind among the people of Israel. They were the ones who had been entrusted with the Law, the pre-destination of Christ, the future hope of grace and glory was on their shoulders as they marched, and God set them apart for this specific act. In our lives, if we are to be Levites, we must be so overwhelmingly fascinated by God as to completely succumb to His will such that He can call us carriers of His promise. They had wholly died to self in order to become vessels of God's purpose--just as we're to do as Christians.
Not only this, they were called to stand before the Lord and to minister to Him and to bless in His name. Just as angels ministered to Christ after He was tempted, Levites were called to minister to God, to proclaim His glory, to pray without ceasing, to constantly offer up praise of pleasing aroma. With the New Covenant, Christ, we are all called to minister to each other and to God, and to bless in Jesus' name.

"Therefore Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers. The Lord is his inheritance, as the Lord your God said to him." (Deuteronomy 10:9)
And here, Levi has no portion with the rest of God's people. Because God called them His, they would call Him theirs. If you want to be set apart, it requires a call, but it also requires an answer. The only answer to the call of Christ, as i believe it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who put it, "is an unconditional yes."
We can't say, "Well, God, we will carry the Ark so long as You have someone else relieve us sometimes. That thing is heavy, You know!"
No, this isn't a burdensome statement, this is freedom. God called them unto Himself, away from the material, and into sanctification. The liberties therein are boundless. Instead of worldly things that "moth and rust destroy," they were given something transcendental yet profound, and eternal. They were given the very presence of God.
This would be something to boast about for sure; to look at your neighbors and see them satisfied with their big houses, fancy clothes, and luxury cars, yet know in your heart of hearts that what you have will never be out of style, will not fade, can not be shaken or destroyed or taken from you, and will accompany you every day of your life, and being satisfied with it.
They were set upon things the other tribes could not see except through their lifestyle; the abundance of grace flowing to them and through them, the glory billowing from them like stacks in a furnace.

That is the Levitical order. That is God choosing His people, and choosing a people who would make Him theirs. That is resting in absolutes.

Christ offers this same prestigious honor to us all. He is calling, He is standing at the door, He is knocking.
God is looking for a Church set apart for Himself, of which He can say, "They are Mine." He's looking for a Church that will say, "God is ours at any cost."
And the first step towards seeing God's vision for His Church come to be is by saying, "Yes!" in your own life, and encouraging others to take that same step while interceding for them. The Church needs changed from the inside out, and this is how we do it; by letting God first change us from the inside out.
To quote Mahatma Gandhi, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." And the same goes for the Church. To see a Church set apart, be set apart in the Church.

Never again will i strive to be less Levitical in my words or actions.

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