February 01, 2007

Where It All Begins

Genesis 2:8-9; 3:21-24

God banished him ... [and] placed ... cherubim ... to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:23-24


Our reflections on the book of Leviticus need to begin with the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve enjoyed complete fellowship with God, with one another, and with the world around them. Life in God's presence was very good. But Adam and Eve's sin changed all that.

Banished from God's presence, neither they nor any of their descendants looked for a way back to God. But God did. Through many and different ways God brought his people close to him. After giving the people his law for daily living at Mount Sinai, God's holy presence descended from Sinai to dwell in the tabernacle, a tent God designed for staying with his people in all their travels. The camp around the tabernacle was almost like the Garden of Eden: a good place to live with God in renewed holiness. From the tabernacle God gave Moses the words that make up the book of Leviticus. Through Moses God instructed the people on how to enjoy his holy presence again.

Through many and different ways God has come even closer to his people today. Through the finished work of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2), the Holy Spirit of God dwells in the hearts of people everywhere who are called to be his disciples. As disciples of Christ today, let us hear the holy words of God in Leviticus and discern in them God's wisdom for living in Christ today.

Thank you, Lord God, for bringing us into your holy presence again. Help us to live holy, faithful lives through the power of your Spirit in us, for Jesus, our Savior's sake. 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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