This week I finished an in-depth reading of Leviticus. This is one of those books most people shoot through pretty quickly when they’re reading through the Old Testament. It can be tedious and downright dry at times. There are a plethora of laws to go through and the reader must be keenly aware of the three-fold division of the Mosaic Code: moral, civil, and ceremonial. Specifically, I’ve been using my Reformation Study Bible and reading the study notes at the bottom. This has been extremely helpful and I might even invest in a commentary at some point in the future for even greater study.
As Christians living in the New Covenant, we rightly see the full breadth of the Mosaic Code as a tremendous burden. If we think otherwise, then we deceive ourselves. Some commentators speculate that the Israelites were so unfaithful to the Law that they never once kept the Jubilee Year in the entire history of the nation. Even though the church in the New Covenant is no longer bound by the civil and ceremonial laws, just keeping the eternal moral laws is a burden we cannot possibly bear ourselves. And it goes beyond our external behavior, for we sin in word, thought, as well as deed.
I’ve prayed often recently that God would awaken me to my guilt. For every believer in Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and brings us conviction over sin. For if we remain comfortable in our sins, then clearly the Spirit is not in us and we are outside of Christ. As I finished reading Leviticus, it dawned on me that God was still far more gracious despite the myriad of laws in the Mosaic Code. Even with the burdensome sacrificial system, the Israelites still had it easy compared to what they–and we–rightly deserve from a holy God.
2011 was a year of happy events for our family. Engagement, marriage, honeymoon, parenthood, and pregnancy. Yet it was also a year of challenges. Specifically, it was a year in which I realized how often I fail. Too often I’ve let the wrong things become priorities in life. I’ve neglected to pray as often as I should. Likewise, I’ve neglected to be in the Word as much as I should. In making the transition from bachelor life to married/family life, I’ve made plenty of mistakes and I still have much to learn. Even in the workplace, I haven’t been the best employee.
The Christian life demands a great deal of introspection. I’ve realized that God does indeed place people and events into my life in order to assist me to that end. When I don’t read the Scriptures and meditate on them as I should, there are people around me to remind me of this. When I fail in my duties as I husband and father, I have my wife to remind me. When I’m not being a good employee, I have my boss to bring this to my attention. Whether I’m not praying as often as I should or failing in some other aspect of life, God brings about certain events (along with individuals) to assist in our sanctification.
This year has taught me to appreciate the people and circumstances God has providentially sent my way. At the beginning of this year, I was stuck in a dead-end job in which I thought I’d never be able to leave. Later in the year, I was graciously given a new job with higher pay. Yet both of these circumstances taught me well. Both of them served the purpose of sanctification. Certainly there are much worse things in life than being stuck in a dead-end career path, but in this I learned that I was there became God wanted me to be there. I didn’t like it, but I knew I had to submit to God’s will.
To whom much is given, much is required. That sentence alone ought to sum up 2011 for me. With a new family, new job, and–coming soon–new responsibilities at church, I pray that God would equip me and give me the sober-mindedness I desperately need. It’s hard for me to stay focused at times and I’ve no doubt strained the patience of everyone around me. I first pray that God would forgive me for my many shortcoming, and second I seek the forgiveness of those whom I have let down this past year.
As a family, we have discipline and growth as our themes for 2012. Quite appropriate, right? My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, please keep me in prayer. Even as I ask this, please forgive me for all the neglected emails and other correspondence. I’m probably the most selfish person I know. And I’m grateful that God has placed people in my life who direct me back to His sacred Scriptures and exhort me to prayer and repentance. I certainly pray that 2012 will see Godly growth and sanctification for my family as well as myself. Thank you all and may God bless you in this new year.