Pay Attention! God is a Holy God and He expects His people to be holy too. Follow His commands and you will be.
I have another confession to make. I probably said this before but it bears repeating and repenting again. I have been dragging my feet through this book and a lot of Exodus too. I’m afraid of what lies ahead in the rest of the “books of the Law.” I like the stories and the adventures that are contained in God’s word. I have a hard time getting excited about the dos and don’ts. BUT God says “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). So here we go again. Please forgive me when I miss a day because of dragging my feet.
When I first started reading our section for today I thought God was going through the Ten Commandments a bit differently. We have Him reminding us of honoring our parents, observing the Sabbath, honoring only Him and not making idols. He covered all but one of the first five. But then He moves onto the peace offering. I was wondering about this shift.
Each of the items God touches on share one thing; they are about a relationship between a Father/father and child. With the exception of honoring your parents the relationship in all instances is between our Heavenly Father and us, His children, or more appropriately His Jewish children.
The one relational command that stands apart is between earthly parents and their child/children. For many people, this relationship on the child’s side is where we first learn about love of a parent. We learn to honor and obey our earthly parents. Many build their foundational ideas of God from this first relationship. Unfortunately ALL of those models have flaws that can impact our relationship with Him, but He can take our broken parts and make them whole.
When God called His people to be holy because HE is holy, He started with this foundational relationship. “Every one of you shall revere his mother and father” (verse 3a). Start Here. Then He called for those parents to model holiness for their children. “You shall keep My Sabbaths” (verse 3b). Why? Because “I am the Lord your God” (verse 3c). “Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves ANY gods of cast metal: I am the Lord your God” (verse 4).
This relationship with God is exclusive. He won’t share with other gods. This is a personal relationship between a Father and His child. And just as an earthly father wants to spend time with his children, our Heavenly Father wants to spend time with His children too. This quality time is the subject He addresses next.
For the people of Israel the Peace Offering was about fellowship and thanks to God. It was also one of the few sacrifices where the worshiper actually partook in eating of the sacrifice. Most of the time the priest got the leftovers that weren’t burned. With the Peace Offering the worshiper fellowshipped with others who he had a relationship with that he wanted to share his praise to God with. This offering centered on relationship; with God and with those who shared it.
But God had rules on that relationship. They weren’t HUGE and cumbersome but they were hard and fast. Two days were allotted to eat this meal, then ANYTHING left over was to be burned. This kept the “party” from going on forever as well as protected the participants from partaking in spoiled food.
It is AMAZING to get to spend time with God but sitting at His table is only a portion of our life with Him. If all we do is “eat” we will be so fat we won’t be able to roll away from the table. We will also lose our appreciation for what we are “eating.” We have to get up from the table and put that food to use powering our bodies to do His work. Our food is our fuel not our purpose. But without it we have no resources to draw from to do the work.
Another thing I was thinking about is how people in the south (the southern states in the United States of America) think about sharing a meal. The kitchen is the heart of the home and every time people get together it almost always involves a meal together. That is where their relationships are built. The table brings them closer together. That is the same thing the Peace Offering table did with God and His people.
God wants His children to grow in relationship with Him. He wants to bring us to His level and encourage our growth every step of the way. The closer our relationship is the more like Him we will become. WE will be holy only by spending time with our holy Father. Just as we pick up traits of our earthly fathers, we model our Heavenly Father’s traits too. Like Father, like son.
PLEASE Heavenly Father, let me model Your traits more and more each day. Please make my life speak “Like Father, like daughter.” I want a deeper relationship with You. I know that pushing through this difficult portion of Your word is one way to get there. I want to come to Your table even when it is filled with “brussel sprouts.” Thanks for “filling my plate” today and reminding me to “sit down and eat” with You.