Ok… so I have to be honest. I am the girl that always starts a one-year bible-reading plan every year. I make it to Leviticus and begin to sputter a little. The Lord convicted me so much at the end of 2016 to faithfully read through His word book by book (EVERY BOOK even the "tough ones") in one year. To dig deep and for lack of better words, not flake out. I quickly get lost in all the laws, so many laws that no longer apply. Yet, in their lack of application they do not lose their importance.
"Christ came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it."Matthew 5:17
How can I ever know what ALL He fulfilled if I never study the requirements of the law? I prayed as I begin my journey through Leviticus that the Lord would show me one thing, just one thing that profoundly made this book precious to me.
Y’all, My God answered! He answered in a mighty way. I love my God more because of the book of Leviticus. I know Him deeper and I am even more humbled than ever before. Not only did He tear the veil; He made Himself and His altar accessible to me.
“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron, saying, none of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles. No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the LORD's food offerings; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy things, but he shall not go through the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries, for I am the LORD who sanctifies them.” So Moses spoke to Aaron and to his sons and to all the people of Israel. “ Leviticus 21:16-24
When I read these words I was immediately offended. My foot is injured, one limb is longer and I am small in stature. In that moment I wanted to weep for my broken brothers and sisters that were never able to approach the altar. NEVER. In their lifetime they were regulated to eating the holy things but never laying them on the altar for their God. I imagine the limping little girl, much like me, curiously looking at the veil desiring to go behind it but never able to do so. God, did you not want her? Was her love for you tainted because she limped? Why was the punishment so great for a limp she did not cause?
I rolled over these verses for days and asked the Lord to reveal His character to me and show me himself in the midst of this difficult offensive passage. He graciously reminded me that the gospel is offensive. It is sometimes hard for me to read and even harder for me to understand. Why were the blemished, the menstruating, the leprous, and the lame not able to come to the altar? Are we not all blemished, Lord?
Finally after struggling, I approached my Pastor. He graciously reminded me that there were no disabilities, no blemishes, and no brokenness before the fall. No sin! My disability is a result of sin. It may not be mine directly but it is the result of sin entering this world. The great fall. He reminded me that the brokenness and the effects of sin had to be ever before the people. They had to be reminded of their separation and the effects of sin. How quickly they would forget the great weight and debt of sin apart from the law. It was a necessity. The outward ramifications and destruction of sin was seen in the broken bodies, the blemishes and the malformed, a reminder that all was not well in their world. The outward perfection required to go behind the veil and to come to the altar was intense. Even the animals sacrificed were required to be unblemished. As they entered the altar the droves of people blemished, bleeding, lame, injured or mutilated were on the outskirts, the harsh reality of this sinful broken world. The harsh reality that sin separates us from a Holy God. A reminder that the sinless unblemished Savior was the only answer.
In the world today many would say, how cruel of God to leave the broken on the outskirts. How evil to not invite all to the altar just because sin was evident. That is not love. Oh, how we have distorted the great love of God in our attempt to excuse the great chasm that lies between the sinner and the Savior. To ignore the chasm is not love but to bring it to our attention and then to remove it... my what love the Father has lavished upon us! Without the chasm we would never know the beauty of the cross and all that it brings to the believer. We would never understand the great love of the Father that made a way when there was no way. He sent the unblemished lamb for blemished Betsy and for blemished you.
John the Baptist proclaimed about the Christ, ““Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
The perfect lamb came to earth. Every Jew within earshot heard these words. Such a weighty meaning they carried. The Lamb who had no blemish or sin came to take my sin and yours. We are no longer blemished broken people regulated to the outskirts.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” Galatians 3:13
He hung on the tree so I may kneel at the altar. He became the curse to remove mine and yours.
"And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit and behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom." Matthew 27:51
The veil was torn. What once separated me in my sin and shame was ripped from top to bottom. I now can run with my limping legs to the altar. In this blemished and broken body I am able to draw near by the blood of the lamb and the love of the Father. My disability, once evidence of the curse of this sinful world and the separation of sinful man and God, has now become evidence of the Savior sent and broken for me.
Praise be to my God, the curse is broken. Blemished though I may be, I am welcomed, invited and loved. Although once regulated to the outskirts I am found in His arms broken for me. Don’t let sin keep you in the outskirts. You are welcomed, invited, and loved because the love of the Father sent His son, the spotless unblemished lamb. Study and know the law. What beautiful truth is found there, friends.