Sunday, April 27, 2008

On Leviticus

Tim Wilson would take Leviticus with him. And with good reason.
I keep coming back to this from Andrew Bonar, cited by Tim Chester.

"The blood must be 'sprinkled round about upon the altar.’ Surely Israel must have felt that their souls were reckoned very guilty by their God, since he spoke to them so continually in the language of blood. None but a heavy-laden sinner could relish this never-varying exhibition of blood to the eye of the worshipper.

The pilgrims to Zion, in after days, must often, as they journeyed through the vale of Baca, have wondered what was to be seen and heard in the courts of the Lord’s house, of which the worshippers sang, ‘How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God … Blessed are they that dwell in thy house!’ (Ps. 84:1, 2, 4). And when they arrived, and saw in these courts blood on the altar, blood in the bowls of the altar, blood on its four horns, blood on its sides, blood meeting the eye at every turn, none but a deeply-convicted soul, none but a soul really alive to the guilt of a broken law, could enter into the song, and cry with the worshippers, ‘How amiable!’ Even so with a preached Saviour at this day, and a sin-convinced soul!"

And Chester comments:
"...the blood-drenched floor and blood-spattered walls of tabernacle and temple testify to the depth of our sin and the need for a life to be poured out in exchange for atonement... I want to finish with that image of blood everywhere. It was, no doubt, an horrific sight to the eyes. But to the heart of a deeply-convicted sinner ‘how amiable’ for we see in the blood God’s love, God’s justice, God’s holiness, God’s grace, and God’s welcome."
I don't always see this clearly, but as I re-read these quotes I find myself happy in the gospel. Happy that my sin is atoned for, and not by me. Happy that this atonement brings me into the family of the local church. Happy that God's word tastes so sweet as I read of it - 'how amiable' - because my eyes are open, my mind is being renewed and my heart also. So quickly I can grow cold to it. So quickly I can grow hard to this. May the gospel always be amiable to me, not by my devotion and commitment (which waver so) but by the unwavering, unchanging blood of Jesus.

In Psalm 84 sin is before the Psalmist wherever he is. Either he sees sin in the house of the wicked, and no doubt enjoys it's 'pleasures'. Alternatively he's in the house of God and his sin is before him, in the form of the blood shed to atone for his sin. The latter is better by far! A thousand times better.

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