Keep the fire burning

The LORD makes it clear in Leviticus 6 that the fire on the altar is to continually be burning; it is never to go out. What does that mean for me as the priest of my house?

Lev 6:12-13 v13 “A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.

The LORD makes it clear in Leviticus 6 that the fire on the altar is to continually be burning; it is never to go out. What does that mean for me as the priest of my house?

What does the fire represent? In my last post, “What a bloody mess!” I shared about how flippant and casual I know I’ve personally (and I believe the church as a whole has) taken confession and repentance.

With that thought as the backdrop, the question then becomes,”Is my (figurative) house such a place that confession and repentance is not only received, but encouraged and embraced?”

Am I leading my family to understand the holiness of God, the sanctity of confession to LORD, and the healing offered according to James 5:16 (“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed…“)? Does the characteristic of my house invite sincere, deliberate, repentance?

Lord, teach me how to keep the fire lit on the altar. Show me how to be your priest in my household.

Running After Papa…

What a bloody mess!

I’m not sure we really “get it” when it comes to confessing and repenting of our sins…

Lev 1:3-9 (NKJV)
If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord. 4 Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. 5 He shall kill the bull before the Lord; and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 6 A
nd he shall skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces. 7 The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay the wood in order on the fire. 8 Then the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar; 9 but he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water. And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.

What a bloody mess!

This is the second day in a row, I’ve read this passage and what jumped out of the text to me is the fact that each person bringing their sacrifice (be it a bull or a sheep) had to kill and skin and cut it into parts so that the priests can make the offering to the Lord on his behalf.

Here is what the offer-er was physically responsible for in the burnt offering:
– slaughtering the animal himself before the LORD (v5, v11)
– skinning the animal (v6)
– cutting it into pieces (v6, v12)
– wash the entrails (guts) and legs in water (v9, v13)

A sacrificial bullHave you ever slaughtered a bull… by hand… with a knife? As gross as it may be, can close your eyes and imagine that? Can you imagine what a mess that would be? Can you imagine skinning a bull by hand? How does one manage a dead carcass 3x or 4x his own body weight? Where would one wash the entrails and legs? I expect that meant hauling all those parts somewhere to wash them and hauling them back.

Here’s my point. A burnt offering wasn’t a quick prayer at the end of a 30 minute sermon. I expect it was no small feat or quick little ritual. I expect this was a quite long ordeal. I expect by the time one was done, he was probably covered in the blood of the sacrifice.

In our “everything gets wrapped up in a 30 TV show” culture, I fear we don’t have a grasp on what it means for us to be “covered by the blood of the sacrifice.” I know I don’t. Way too often, I treat confessing my sin much too lightly.

Christ suffered a long, painful, multiple hour ordeal when He became the sacrifice to atone for my sins.  Galatians 2:20 tells me that I’ve been crucified with Christ.  Have I killed my self in this crucifixion?   Have I labored hours over that sacrifice? Am I a bloody mess at the end of it?

I hope to be. I need to be…

Running After Papa…

Esau: Unable to Repent (Gen 25:29-34)

Gen 25:29-34 (NKJV)

29 Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom.
31 But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.”
32 And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?”
33 Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.”
So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Esau sells his birthright for a bowl of bean soup.

In my western mindset, I’m not sure we understand the significance of this transaction. One of the commentaries I read said: “… that is the rights and privileges of the first-born, which were very important, the chief being that they were the family priest (Ex 4:22) and had a double portion of the inheritance (Deut 21:17).

Doesn’t this sound exactly like American culture today? How many men, fathers, and brothers have sold their birth-right for something so insignificant and temporary as a bowl of bean soup?  How many men are not stepping into their role as the priest of their families?  How many families are not living in the richness of a double blessing from their Heavenly Father?

How do we get our birthright back?

Check out what the writer of Hebrews wrote:

Heb 12:16-17 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

Hang on a minute… Esau was unable to repent even though he “… sought it diligently with tears.

Is there a place we can get to in life – regardless of how broken we are – where we cannot repent, even if we want to?

What is the ramification of that?

Talk to me…

The Tent and The Altar

Gen 12-13

So Abram sets out after his call and God meets with him personally to assure him of his calling.  How cool is that?  After that meeting, Abram builds an altar to the Lord. (v7)

Then Abram goes to Egypt and deceives Pharoah about who Sarai is.  We all know the story.  One of the commentaries I read made an interesting point about this:

What a shame that believing Abraham should be rebuked by an unbelieving king. Until he knew the truth about Sarah, Pharaoh “bestowed favors” upon Abraham, but once God stepped in and exposed the lie, Pharaoh had to ask them to leave. What a poor testimony the Christian is when he or she mingles with the world and compromises. Someone has said, “Faith is living without scheming.” Abraham and all his descendants have needed to learn that lesson! Lot lived with the world and lost his testimony (19:12–14); and Peter sat by the enemy fire and denied his Lord.

Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the Old Testament (Ge 12:1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Then after that debacle, Abram goes back to the place where he built the first altar. (Gen 13:1-4)

1 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. 2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord.

I totally relate to this.  How many men have longed to go back to Hunt, or to the place of their Quest where – perhaps for the first time – they really met face to face with God?  Man, I long to be there… in His presence… in that place.  That’s one of the reasons I love to serve on Quests.  From that same commentary:

Abraham could not have confessed his sin and remained in Egypt! No, he had to get back to the place of the tent and the altar, back to the place where he could call upon the Lord and receive blessing. This is a good principle for Christians to follow: go nowhere in this world where you must leave your testimony behind. Any place where we cannot build the altar and pitch the tent is out of bounds.

Great thought to live by…  “Any place we cannot build the altar and pitch the tent is out of bounds.”  In his commentary, Wiersby describes the tent as the pilgrim, the person who trusts God a day at a time and is always ready to move.  He describes the altar as the worshiper who brings a sacrifice and offers it to God.

Restated,  “…any place we cannot worship and offer God our sacrifice and be ready to move in complete trust of Him is no place for the Christ follower.”

Building and pitching…