I woke up today pretty groggy and exhausted. My little boy has a lingering cough that wakes him up at all hours of the night. His cough is loud and sharp, frightening his twin sister in the crib next to him, causing screaming fits at all hours of the night. So what do I do, for all hours of the night? Lots of home-made saunas in the bathroom and vapor rub massages. I’ll admit I enjoy the bonding time, I’m just not crazy about the foggy brain the next morning.
Foolishly choosing Facebook scrolling over Bible reading, I stumbled upon a challenging article. I was defaulting to mindlessness, but God intervened with encouragement! (Isn’t that what we’ve been learning all along in Leviticus… God is personal, intimate, and all about relationship with His people).
The article is titled, “FOR WHEN YOU ONLY HAVE FIVE MINUTES TO BE IN THE BIBLE.” The author encourages women not just to fit in what you can, but actually enjoy it!
“If I found an abandoned dollar on the ground, would I pick it up? Of course I would! I wouldn’t leave it behind, just because it isn’t a hundred. If I had an opportunity to spend five minutes with one of my heroes of the faith, would I turn it down? No way! I would take it and enjoy every second of it… So, why do I act differently when it comes to my time in the Bible? Why do I portray by my actions that nothing is better than something? “
“For a long time, I felt that if I could not have a long, deep time in the Bible each day, it wasn’t good enough. So, paralyzed with the feeling that I wasn’t giving God my best, I gave Him nothing. This lack of time in the Word led to guilt and feelings of inadequacy.”
I was incredibly challenged by this perspective. In writing this series on a study through Leviticus, I have often been intimidated by the book. In fact, that’s a big reason many people don’t study Leviticus. It feels like a huge undertaking, one that I often don’t have time for.
To be sure, there are some chapters that I chose to put 2 or 3 weeks work into unpacking and applying to my life. I thoroughly enjoyed researching Leviticus 23’s festivals. Digging deep into that heritage was not just a chore; it touched me deeply with God’s love and sovereignty. And I spent almost 3 weeks studying it, praising God the whole time.
But here’s the thing. When we choose to study through a book, we can easily make it an academic exercise instead of an intimate conversation with our loving Father.
On busy days when Shane and I are apart, I still make time to send him a phone call or a text message. Even though it is short, 5 minutes of connection still provides a healthy dose of encouragement, perspective, and warmth to my heart.
Today, I only have 5 minutes. Naps and a shower are going to win over cracking open my thick commentary. But I am connecting with God, discovering His character, and embracing my own role in this story together with Him. It might not be a feast, but it certainly whets my appetite for more.
Here’s how my brief study through Leviticus 24 spelled out:
What does this tell me about God:
- God desires fellowship. It is an integral part of His covenant.
The bread was to be always before the Lord, right in front of the veil covering the inner sanctuary. God invites the priests to share a meal with Him, to stay daily in fellowship with Him.
- God’s name deserves reverence and careful regard.
The young man who cursed God’s name after a fight deserved death. My Bible’s study notes comment that a persona’s character was deeply rooted together with his name. God’s name, and identity, is not just something humanity gets to throw around like an insult, or even an exclamation, in a fit of anger or poor judgement.
- God values justice.
I find verses 17-22 fascinating. I suppose the “eye for an eye” rule would deter the people from these sins. However, history shows us that the Israelites took what God meant for righteousness, and turned it into means for one-upping each other.
For instance, the principle God set up in Leviticus 24 seemed to become distorted over time, becoming more about selfish justice than God-honoring righteousness. We see this when Jesus challenged this rule in Matthew 5 when He encouraged His disciples to turn the other cheek.
How can I live in light of this:
- I should value fellowship with God.
As I mentioned above, even 5 minutes is enough time to prioritize my relationship with God (though, not always my theological study of His Word). He deserves
more of all of my time. But I must remember the truth behind Leviticus 24: He invited the priests to share bread with Him. My “bread” is Jesus Christ, and through Jesus’ sacrifice, I have access to fellowship with God in spite of my sin. Even 5 minutes can be enough to express my gratitude for that.
- I can revere the name of God in my daily habits.
We might find the punishment in Leviticus 24 harsh. After all, we hear God’s name used in vain all the time: on tv, at the store, in our own homes, sometimes even from our own mouths. The names of God and Jesus have become “less” offensive than many foul-mouthed expressions. I tend to lose my own feelings of justice and being offended upon hearing it. Of course, “taking the Lords name in vain” goes so far beyond just using it as a cuss word. However, today I am challenged to redefine my understanding of how to revere the name of Jesus.
- I can promote justice and righteousness in my own heart, rather than judge it in others.
Jesus’ reminder in Matthew 5 was about keeping your own heart in the right mindset: in this instance, going the extra mile in humility. Instead of always looking for other people’s mistakes, and using them as a springboard for my own self-confidence, I am convicted that I must first pray for revival in my own heart.
Other thoughts or questions:
- Why did God require continuous light? (verse 2) [Answer: God provided the first fire, if it went out, that meant the people would have to re-light it with their own fire. This has so much significance to whether or not we value heavenly provision or our own.)
- What is the significance of 12 loaves of bread (verse 5)? Why not 7, like other things mentioned in Leviticus? [Answer: they represented the 12 tribes of Israel; symbolizing everyone was included in the fellowship with God.]
- What exactly does verse 11 mean when referring to “blaspheme” the Name?