Kponu, Dieovietoo Fabian
Day 1: God’s code of worship.
‘‘According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.’’ Exo. 25:9
Additional reading: Act. 7:14; Heb. 8:5
This is The Making of the Nation of God 3: The Levitical Code of Worship and Separation. This study will deal basically with God’s model for worship and His standard for righteous living in the camp of Israel as handed down by God Himself to Aaron and his sons and the Levites through Moses.
In the beginning of this study, i.e. The Making of the Nation of God 1: From Adam to the Entering into Egypt, I did say that the reason why God made man was for man to know God, love God and be with God forever in the next world to come. Despite the sin of Adam and Eve, God showed His love towards mankind and promised to redeem man through the seed of the woman. From that moment, God set in motion His divine redemptive plan to restore man to his first estate.
So, from Adam through Noah to Abraham, God made His intentions known. Specifically, God did not fail to mention to Abraham His grand design to raise a seed through Abraham by whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. God also promised to raise a multitude of people through him. He also did not fail to tell him that his children would be held in captivity for several years but at the end He would deliver them, then, give them a land of their own. All these were fulfilled except the promised seed, which was partially fulfilled in Isaac (in the Old Covenant) with its full fulfilment being in Jesus Christ (in the New Covenant).
The book of the Exodus, which contains God’s multifaceted acts of deliverance expresses further, God’s continued desire to have a people set aside for His purpose; a people named after Him and called to worship Him in spirit and in truth, a people strikingly different from those of other nations.
In Genesis 3:18, God said to Moses: ‘‘…and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the King of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’’ Moses in company of the elders of Israel were to appear before the Pharaoh of Egypt to demand of him three days off their daily labour so that they would journey into the wilderness to worship the LORD their God.
Let us examine this: ‘‘…and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the King of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice[zabah — a primitive root; to slaughter an animal (usually in sacrifice):- kill, offer, sacrifice, do sacrifice, slay ] to the LORD our God.’’
If you study the book of Exodus, you would notice that all through the negotiations between Moses and Pharaoh, Moses consistently demanded Pharaoh as directed by God to let the children of Israel go on a three days’ journey into the wilderness. This journey into the wilderness was to afford them total separation from all that had to do with Egypt. Please note that Egypt was a symbol of sin, so they needed to be separated from Egypt entirely. Zabah, which is the Hebrew word for sacrifice, a primitive root to offer an animal in sacrifice denotes worship. And the implication was to take a three days’ journey into the wilderness to rid themselves from sin so that they could approach the LORD in worship. This was also necessary because it was only in offering sacrifices that man could be cleansed from sin.
The book of Exodus therefore, was God’s continued process of making a people after Him. He established this by calling His nation out from Egypt to worship Him after His great acts of deliverance by giving them the Levitical code of worship through His appointed priests. This gathering in the wilderness was God’s congregation of the called out ones but not with the blood of Jesus Christ.
Today, we are all members of an assembly of the called out ones who have been redeemed by the bloody of Jesus Christ, and believe that the word of God is the final authority, that is the church (ekklesia). Being redeemed implies that we have been separated from sin like the people of old so that we too can offer sacrifices unto the LORD in the newness of our lives. Therefore, Paul wrote saying: ‘‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.’’
What really did Paul mean? Let us see: ‘‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice [thysia — sacrifice (the act or the victim, literally or figuratively):- sacrifice], holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable [logikos — rational (‘‘logical’’):- reasonable, of the word] service [latreia — ministration of God, i.e. worship:- (divine) service].’’
According to Paul, we are no longer to offer animal sacrifices as the people of old did in the wilderness, but in total submission and commitment unto God, as the called out assembly of the LORD, we are to humbly offer our bodies as a living sacrifice daily to God, this in the right sense of judgement is the only service we can render unto the LORD, which is worship. Read this: ‘‘So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.’’ (GNB).
The charge is that we the assembly of the called out ones should respond to God’s great mercy shown towards us by consecrating ourselves unto God through worship, which is the only thing we can offer the LORD while maintaining a life of holiness and righteousness.
Meditation: How do I respond to God’s great mercy shown towards me?
Prayer: In response to Your great mercy shown towards me; I offer my life as a living sacrifice and may my life be pleasing and acceptable before Your throne.