I was sitting outside tonight (a BEAUTIFUL evening to be outside) reading my devotions. I was scheduled to read Leviticus 22-24 tonight. Now, to give a brief background... "The overwhelming message of Leviticus is the holiness of God-- 'Be holy becasue I, the Lord your God, am holy.'" That was taken out of the introdcutory page of the book of Leviticus in my NIV life-application Bible. Basically, I've been plowing my way through a lot of sacrificial rituals and sin, guilt, fellowship, burnt, grain, and etc. offerings and the necessary steps. All I can say is... I'm glad Jesus Christ came and died on the cross and shed His blood to be the Ultimate Sacrifice... the Lamb of God. Obviously not only because we no longer have to go through these intense, detailed rituals, but because we are able to establish that AWESOME, personal relationship with the One who gave His life for our own. Think about it. We DO NOT DESERVE our lives. We are only here because of Christ. Sometimes, I almost think that having to go through these guilt and sin offerings would almost open our eyes to how big of a sacrifice Jesus really made, and how often we need to keep going back to God for forgiveness and seeking Him daily. We aren't perfect and we are GONNA screw up, but if we remember Jesus... we are reminded again Who we are living for and WHY we are, and that we are so unworthy of Him. That puts a whole new perspective on things. It makes my falling-apart car that I drive around ever day not matter. Who cares? At least I got one, and it gets me where I need to go. (And I really do love my car!) It makes my uncertain future not look so uncertain. So I don't know where I'll be in 2 more years? At least I know what I want to major in and that I love it, and that no matter what, God will use my talents and gifts to glorify Him! So I didn't get to go do something today that I REALLY wanted to do because I had to work. At least I have a JOB and OPPORTUNITY. It's a matter of focusing on what we ARE blessed with and remembering that even though things don't always seem to go perfecto, we don't have to let our attitudes be shattered and fall apart the second life isn't top notch.
Because when you really think about it... our life IS top notch. It's is nothing compared to what we will have in Heaven, but for what God has given us, it is sufficient and always will be. Maybe you're a Job. I doubt it, but look at him. He lost everything he had. Are you sitting in a miry pit somewhere without your house, job, car, family, friends, and pretty much every worldly possesion you own? No, I don't think you are (or else you wouldn't be reading this). But Job endured. And so can we.
A true measure of your character, in my opinion, is your reaction to life's difficulties. Where is your attitude? Do you let things that won't matter next week bother you? Ok, so you're a little ticked for a couple of minutes or hours when your computer locks up or your car breaks down or your dog peed on your BRAND NEW WHITE carpeting. But get over it. The computer can be thrown out the window (esp if it's a PC). The car can be fixed or replaced. And they make carpet cleaner. Or maybe it's a relationship issue... someone is REALLY kinda bugging you. What does Jesus say to do? See, I can tell the people who are founded on Christ and who have that awesome relationship and continual solidness with Him because those are the people who will take life's little frustrations or trials and difficulties and will find a way to smile about them, find the blessing in it, and give it to God. Now THAT is maturity. (And boy do I have a long way to come!)
So back to Leviticus... I dove in. The first part talked about the Seasons and Feasts, which was kind of interesting, but what really struck me was the latter part of chapter 24. The heading was "A Blasphemer Stoned." STONED. I sat there for a second and really let that word sink in. It made me cringe. I was intrigued, so I did an online search.
Here is a portion of the text I found on one of the websites:
"In early Bible History, stoning was the (perhaps surprising to many) God-commanded Israelite method of executing those found guilty of the most serious offenses against His Law. The Bible does not describe in specifics which form of restraint was used while the very gory process of stoning was done, however some manner of keeping the condemned individual from escaping was used (as documented by witnesses, and participants, over the centuries), ranging from being thrown before the stoning from an elevation of some sort that caused incapacitating injury, to being tied to a post (or simply tied hand and foot), to being buried with just the head and shoulders left above ground, to just being surrounded by a large crowd of stone throwers in an enclosed area. Unlike most other forms of capital punishment, stoning had no specific executioner, "all the congregation shall stone."
What I wanted to really find was what was entailed physically through stoning. It would be interesting to hear the gory details... exactly what they had to go through. The methods they used were meant to create a slow and painful death in punishment to the awful sin that was committed.
Since I'm reading through the Bible in a year, sometimes I get kind of bogged down reading all of the nitty gritty details of the Old Testament. I have discovered, though, that it IS intersting and it usually makes me thankful that I am living today and not then. It is an eye-opener and learning experience.
Enough on stoning! I have a Dairy Queen blizzard sitting on the floor next to me, and it really wants me to eat it. (This is being jusitifed by my Nautilus visit about a couple of hours ago...)
Any thoughts on this post are welcome!
Oh yeah, I love you guys.