Leviticus 9: Is God AWEsome to us?

I began studying chapter 9 with that dreaded “get this done” attitude. I appreciate blogging my way through Leviticus, because it holds me accountable to consistency in my study. However, I haven’t been making time to spend in God’s word in the mornings, as I would like to. So I am “fitting it in” later in my day. I fast forwarded through a movie on Netflix (my normal routine for this evening time slot) in order to make time for God. In retrospect, I finally realize my backwards attitude regarding my time with the great and Holy Being that I call my LORD.

What does this tell me about God:

  • God is awesome.

God’s sovereignty reveals its power once again. Leviticus 9 is all about the earth shattering, fear-producing, overwhelming, consuming glory of God. The kind of greatness that makes one stand in awe.

That’s not “aww” (an exclamation for a puppy), and it’s not “awesome” (that surfer-dude calling something as tubular). We are talking about A-W-E: speechless, wonder, intimidation, tightness-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach kind of reaction.

In verse 4, God prompts Moses to tell the people to get ready, “For today the Lord is going to appear to you.” After several verses describing the rituals and expectations Aaron and his sons accomplished, we see the result of their activity. God reveals himself:

“Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them. He came down after sacrificing the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the fellowship offering. Moses and Aaron then entered the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Fire came from the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell facedown on the ground.” vs. 22-24

  • God’s awesomeness deserves appropriate fear.

The people received the instructions from God and followed them. They obeyed them exactly. Knowing that God was going to reveal Himself was monumental for them, and it should be for us too. The people did each item required of them in preparation for the glory of God. And when God’s glory was revealed, they responded appropriately.

How can I live in light of this:

  • Time with God should be held with respect.

Talk about conviction. I am overwhelmed with how openly I dismiss the same holy, great and awesome God of Leviticus 9. I “fit in” a Bible study. Instead of preparing my heart to repent, worship, and fellowship (like the three sacrifices mentioned), I am fast-forwarding through Netflix and stealing myself from checking Facebook while I crack open my Bible.

After studying chapter 7, I brought up Philippians 2:12:

“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 

On that day, I was focusing on the “work” part of the verse. Today, I am reminded of the “fear and trembling” part of it. I want to approach God with awe by:

  1. quieting my mind
  2. repenting of selfishness, pride, distraction, and any other sin
  3. offering my whole self, heart+mind+body+soul, in worship, through song and speech.
  4. journaling to God how great He is
  5. intentionally choosing to be aware of His presence
  6. fellowship with God by reading his Word
  • I should not focus too much on the rituals.

I am grateful my study Bible has side notes. I would be lost without these little helpers. One such note reminds me that the rituals God required were not the goal. The idea was to prepare oneself, to prepare the nation, to meet with God. The method was the process of sacrifices: sin, then offering, then fellowship. But these were not done just to do them.

I often get caught up in the ritual, like the recommendations I listed above. It’s like I get too focused on the blueprint for a devotional than I do about the actual meeting with God and building a relationship with him. In the end, these helpful preparation techniques can allow me to gain some perspective and get ready to meet with God, but meeting with God has to be the focus.

Other thoughts or questions:

  • The order of sacrifices matters.

I appreciate how clear Leviticus 9 presents the order of sacrifices. We learned them in the order they were presented in the chapters: Burnt offering in ch. 1, fellowship offering in ch. 3, sin offering in ch. 4, then the guilt offering in chapter 5.

Here, we see that the sin offering comes first, providing for repentance and atonement of the sin that separates man from God. The burnt offering comes next, reminding man to offer his whole self to God. Then the fellowship offering is enjoyed between God and man, symbolizing our right relationship with God.

How did you “prepare” for your time with God today in Leviticus 9? Do you feel like you approach Him with appropriate awe or just another time slot in the schedule?