February 02, 2007

The Voice of God

Leviticus 1:1-2

The Lord ... said, "Speak to the Israelites ..." Leviticus 1:2


When God questioned Adam in the garden, he hid; when God spoke at Sinai, the people trembled. "Moses, you speak with God!" they cried; "we don't want to die" (see Exodus 20:18-19). But without the voice of God we are left to listen to our own voice.

Human words can be impressive. Lofty poetry and powerful oratory move us to do great things. But none of it gets us back to God. Only God's voice can get us home again. Only God's voice has the power to draw us out of the darkness and into his marvelous light.

God's voice can be intimidating, as it was for Israel. All those instructions--those do's and don'ts. Perhaps you think God doesn't care for you because when you spoke to him in prayer one day, he didn't answer the way you desired. But God heard your prayer. And his personal word to you lives before you, in the Bible.

In Leviticus God tells us how Israel's sins can be forgiven. Then God gives instructions for the priests, who will help the people bring acceptable sacrifices to God, with humble and repentant hearts. Leviticus also teaches Israel how to be clean in body and soul. God teaches his people, priests included, how to live holy lives in their desert camp and later in the promised land.

These are holy words for holy living. And we can learn from them in the community of God's people.

We give thanks for your Word, O Lord. Help us to hear your voice so that we may walk in the light of your grace. Help us listen to your words and live by them. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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