Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Royal Priesthood: Preparing to Serve

I'm working my way through Leviticus right now. Lately, morning reading has been full of ritual sacrifices and offerings. Today, I read about the ordination of the priests. 

Preparing the priests for service was a lengthy process, and filled with symbolism. 

The ordination began as Moses washed Aaron and his sons with water, then dressed them in the garments of the priesthood. He used anointing oil to anoint Aaron and his sons. A series of sacrifices came next. At the end of all the sacrifices, Aaron and his sons were to remain in the tabernacle, night and day, for seven days.

The process is so foreign to our modern worship that we can easily miss the symbolism, but it's beautiful. 

The water washed away the dirt of this world, but water alone can never adequately deal with our sin problem. That requires the shedding of blood.

Admittedly, this next part is the Leanna interpretation, but the truth in this passage astounds me. 

The washing with water symbolizes the best effort of man to deal with sin. The priests were robed in priestly garments, but nothing we "put on" can ever deal with our sin. 

The good stuff came next. The God-work. 

Moses anointed them with the special anointing oil, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, for it is the Spirit of God that brings conviction of sin. 

Unless we understand our own depravity, our own sin problem, we will never submit ourselves to God for cleansing. 

A series of sacrifices came next. Every type of sacrifice was offered because the priests needed to understand that they were not exempt. Their sin had to be forgiven first 
before they could minister as God intended. 

The sin sacrifice was followed by a time apart. Seven nights and days in the tabernacle emphasizes the importance of time spent with God.

How is this pertinent to us today? Because Peter wrote that we, as disciples of Christ, are a kind of royal priesthood. Our job is to proclaim the excellencies of the One who called us out of darkness. We can't do the work of proclamation if we have not dealt with our sin problem.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for God's own possession, 
so that you may proclaim the excellencies 
of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;" 
1 Peter 2:9 nasb

As disciples, our responsibility is to share the good news of our Lord, the amazing truth that He has bought us with His blood and delivered us from the darkness of sin. We cannot do that if we are not equipped by the cleansing of the blood of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit, and time spent with our Lord.

We can't tell what we don't know. 

Moses, Aaron, and Aaron's son were a living tableau of the work of Christ. It is that same work of cleansing and filling that we must undergo, but there is more. The priests were not ready to serve when their sins were forgiven. Their preparation for service required time apart in the tabernacle, where God dwelt. 

We, too, will only be fully prepared to serve our Lord by time spent with Him.

Are we content with what God has already done in Jesus, or committed to the ongoing work of time spent with Him?

 Our preparation for service will never be complete unless we spent quiet time with our Heavenly Father. Don't miss it.
In case you missed one of the past week's posts, here are the links:  When Hard Times Come: Pressing OnFriday Night with Friends: Sara FoustHand Washing and Heart CleansingThe Wonder Dogs Run In CirclesCutting Edge Prayer: The Power of Fasting,  Changing the World: The Example of Kid President, and The View from the Inversion Table: When Christ Upends Your Life.

#aroyalpriesthood #preparingtoserve #linesfromleanna #leannalindseyhollis