Monday, May 7, 2012

Clarity before obscurity

I am reading through Leviticus, perhaps one of the stranger books in the Bible. It is a very detailed description of the sacrificial rituals of Israel. This reminds me of what I think is an important principle of Bible reading and hermeneutics.
I should first focus on the parts of the passage I do understand rather than what I do not understand.

I am befuddled by burnt offerings (a sweet aroma to the LORD), wave offerings, cleansing rituals, ...
Yet, there are some important over-riding messages that are very clear. God is holy. We should be holy. God hates sin. Sin bears punishment. There is a need for atonement for sin. This can be achieved by a meaningful sacrifice. Blood is a symbol of life and of sacrificial atonement. Leviticus provides a very concrete picture of these important truths which provide a framework to understand the significance of Jesus death.

Perhaps this principle of focusing on the bigger picture of what we can understand rather than obsessing about smaller details we are confused is applicable to broader areas of life: politics, economics, marriage, and quantum mechanics!

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