Much about life can be impacted by a call, e.g. the doctor called with the test results; the sheriff called to say there has been an accident; and the list goes on and on.
My Bible study has moved from the Old Testament book of Exodus into Leviticus. Leviticus is an interesting book, but quite likely the last Book a Christian seeks to study today. I was surprised to learn that it is the first book that Jewish children are taught. Why is that? Because it explains the standards God calls His people to! Leviticus is popularly called by the Hebrew name Vayikra . . . meaning “He called,” which is how Leviticus begins in chapter 1, verse 1. Leviticus is known formally as Torat Kohanim, “instructions for the priests (Mishnah Megillot 1:5).
In my study, I have discovered (at a new, deeper level) that the Bible really tells the story. Let me explain:
In Genesis, God creates the universe and everything within, including mankind, and he invites man to live in relationship with Him. But, then the enemy makes an appearance into creation and human history and introduces man to sin. Man takes the bait and sin grabs man and holds him in bondage . . . creating a great strain between Holy God and unholy man.
Then in Exodus, God calls man out of sin and bondage . . . and actually with a mighty hand, delivers man out of bondage, and reissues His gracious invitation for man to live in relationship with Him. In that experience, God speaks to man of a place He has for man to live, and begins leading man to that place.
In Leviticus, God sets His standard for man, about how he is to behave and think. In that, God provides rules, regulations, and procedures necessary for man to live in peace with God. Normally, it would not be possible for anyone to worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The Bible says that all people are sinners (Romans 3:23). By our own efforts, we cannot please God. But God has provided a method so that we can worship him properly. For the Old Testament Jews, that method was by sacrifice. They would give to God parts of select animals that they killed. Sometimes they gave the whole animal. The priests burned the gift on the altar at the house of God. God accepted the animal’s death so that the Jews could worship him. The animal had suffered death so that the Jews could live as friends with God. The big idea and the overall message of Leviticus is sanctification. The book communicates that receiving God’s forgiveness and acceptance should be followed by holy living and spiritual growth. Now that Israel had been redeemed by God, they were to be purified into a people worthy of their God. “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy,” says Leviticus 19:2. In Leviticus, we learn that God loves to be approached . . . but we must do so on His terms.
In the New Testament, we learn that we must approach God through His son, Jesus (John 14:1 – 6).
Just as surely as we live and breathe, God calls people today! Actually, there are three distinct calls to each one of us. Those calls are as follows:
- God calls sinners to repentance in the form of “Come experience forgiveness — become my child” (John 3:16; Matthew 11:29 – 29; Revelation 3:20)
- Come walk with me — live in relationship with Me; (John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent”; and finally,
- Come up here and live with me — forever! Hebrews 9:27, And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; 1 Thessalonians 4:14 – 16; and 2 Corinthians 5:8.
I hope you have answered the first call . . .
I pray that you are responding to the second call . . .
And I trust you are prepared to answer the third call . . . it is coming and you can put that in the bank!