There are a few parallels between the passage in Leviticus, and the situations of many churches today.
Firstly, the Israelites were in the open, mid-way between Egypt and Canaan. They were wandering in the wilderness, not really sure where they were going, and what would be there at the end. Yes, they had a vague idea about the land of Canaan. But no-one had ever been there, and they really didn’t know what it was like.
Similarly, many churches today are mid-way between the past, and whatever is in store for them for future. They have no real idea where they are going, and what will be there at the end. Yes, they may have hopes and dreams. But that’s all they are—hopes and dreams.
Secondly, despite that, the Israelites were called on to have faith in God. Not have faith in idols, or anything else, but faith in God. They were called on to obey God’s commands, and to follow his decrees. Now that involved a step of faith, but they had experienced God in the past—they had the stories that had been passed on by their parents. God was not a totally unknown quantity. But still, specifics about the future were unknown.
Likewise for us, Jesus calls on his disciples to have faith too. After all, didn’t Jesus say that the greatest of God’s commands were to love the Lord your God, and your neighbour as yourself? (Luke 10:27) So Jesus asks us, his followers, to take a step of faith; to trust that God will lead us into the unknown.
And thirdly, the Israelites were promised a reward for their obedience. If they followed God, they would be rewarded. Indeed, they would be cared for, and all obstacles would be removed. He would look on them with favour, they would be made fruitful, and increase in number.
And similarly, for us, that reward is available for us too. Indeed, the Apostle Paul wrote “For there is no difference between Jew and Greek. The same Lord is Lord of all and gives his riches to all who call on him.” (Romans 10:12)
So, in one sense we can identify with the dilemma of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. On the other hand, we can all still live in hope. And we need to remember at all times, that God is in charge. And even though we don’t have all the details of where we are going, all we really need is to have faith and be obedient, and leave it up to God to do the rest.
Posted: 1st April 2018
© 2018, Brian A Curtis