Leviticus 21, God Gets To Tell Me What To Do
1. God Gets To Tell Me How To Grieve (v1-6, v10-12)
2. God Gets To Tell Me How To Live (v7-9, v13-15)
3. God Gets To Tell Me How To Serve (v16-24)
Leviticus 21, God Gets To Tell Me What To Do
Leviticus 21, God Gets To Tell Me What To Do
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Well, as we look at Leviticus Chapter 21 this evening, I've titled the Message God gets to tell me what to do and it's something that I would encourage you to consider and maybe repeat to yourself.
Allow yourself to absorb this and accept this and grasp hold of this truth.
God gets to tell me.
Do the fact that he is creator gives him that authority the fact that he purchased me with his blood gives him that authority and many other factors that we could consider as well, of course.
But here as we look at the conduct prescribed for the priests, it's a reminder for us this evening that God has this.
Kind of authority in our lives that he gets to tell us what to do.
It's his rightful place to tell us what to do and what we ought to be involved in and how we are to handle different types of situations in our lives.
The commentator RK Harrison says it this way like other living offerings, presented to the Lord. The priest had to be free from physical and ceremonial blemishes so that he would be acceptable to God.
His way of life was hedged in by restrictions which were designed to maintain his special state of holiness.
To the Lord.
God had some special requirements for the priest that hedged him in that kept him in that special state of he was set apart unto the Lord, set apart for the service of the Lord.
And in a similar way as we've been looking at Leviticus over the past few weeks, I've shared it multiple times and so I'm not going to get into the details of it again, but but God calls us as believers today.
Priests that we are enlisted by him as believers in Jesus to make disciples, and we have responsibility.
Not the same exact priestly ministry, but similar types of responsibilities.
Similar types of ministry to be the ambassadors of Christ.
And to be making an influence and having an impact on the lives of people around us, and so there's a lot of parallels that we can draw upon as we look at these passages dealing with the the priest now all of the specific details don't exactly apply in that we are not of the tribe of Levi.
I'm doubt you know, maybe you are, but if you are, that's a different story, perhaps.
But for us as believers in the Lord today, you know the exact details of some of these things may not exactly apply, but it definitely teaches us, and there are parallels that apply to us as we consider these.
Things in the Lord because of course now the priests here in verse six, it tells us.
They shall be holy to their God and not profane.
The name of their God, for they offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire and the bread of their God.
Therefore they shall be holy.
God says they are this.
They have this role this responsibility, and so therefore they shall be holy.
The priests were given.
To the people by the Lord.
To minister to the people.
And they served the Lord in that way, and as we've seen over the past few weeks, we have a similar call in Romans, Chapter 12 verse one and two.
To where we are called to be a living sacrifice, to offer ourselves holy and acceptable to God.
And so just as the priest was called to be holy and set apart and reserved for the Lord, Paul says it's our reasonable service.
It's the right response for us to be a living sacrifice.
Like the priests were to be holy, like the priests were to be not conformed to the world, but transformed instead by the renewing of our mind that we may approve what is that good and perfect will of God.
The good and acceptable and perfect will of God, right?
The the things that God wants us to do, and again it brings me back to the title this evening.
God gets to tell me what to do, that good and perfect and acceptable will of God, right?
That that is another way of saying God gets to tell me what to do that God has his.
Plans for my life, which means he gets to tell me what to do if I want to walk in the will of God.
That means I must come to the place where I tell God, God, you get to tell me what to do.
You get to have a say in every aspect of my life.
You get to determine what my conduct is as I face different situations.
And it might be easy for us to think, you know, we are.
Are not called to be priests or were not of the tribe of Levi.
Like you know, maybe these things aren't that important or or special for us, right?
But I would encourage you to consider that the Bible is filled with example examples of normal people who lived as living sacrifices to God, one note.
Where the example would be Abraham right?
He was just a guy.
That the Lord gave this promise to and brought the nation of Israel from his descendants, because he devoted himself to the warden and was a living sacrifice unto God.
You could think about Ruth.
You could think about in the New Testament Dorcas or Feilim and Joseph Arimathea, the disciples.
We're just normal fishermen, right, who devoted themselves to the Lord.
This speaks to all of us.
And so as we consider these things, there's a lot of detail here that we're not going to get into or consider in regards to the specifics of the role of the Levitical priest.
Good, but at the same time it teaches us about the different realms of authority that God has in our lives and about the different things that he gets to speak to us about and tell us how to conduct ourselves and how to live.
And so the first area that we're going to consider in regards to that.
Point number one this evening is God gets to tell.
Me how to grieve.
And this is an important one for us to consider.
This is something that we need to understand.
God gets to tell me how to grieve here in verses one through 6.
God leaves out some specific instructions for the priests in regard to a death in the family.
Let's just take a look at the 1st 3.
Verse is really quick.
It says the Lord said to Moses, speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them none shall defile himself for the dead among his people.
Except for his relatives who are nearest to him, his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, and his brother.
Also, his virgin sister, who is near to him who has had no husband for her.
He may defile himself.
The Lord is speaking about the priests coming in contact with someone who has died as a defiling.
Now that's not, you know, speaking negatively of grieving, or you know that process, but what God is doing here is saying, look there is the ceremonial clean and uncleanness.
That he is establ.
Finished and there was certain things.
So in contact with a dead body meant that you were ceremonially ceremonially unclean for the day and so you would have to wait till the next day.
Then if you were a priest to be able to fulfill your role as a priest.
Now the priests rotated their duties, and so they were not always on call except for the high priests.
We'll get to him in a second, but there was a rotation, you know, and so the priests were serving on designated schedules.
And So what?
The Lord is saying here is look when when it's your turn to serve as priest, you're on schedule.
And you're there at the Tabernacle.
You have a responsibility to keep yourself available for the ministry that you have been assigned to.
You have a responsibility not to defile yourself, because then you won't be able to offer sacrifices when people come and need to bring sacrifices.
And so you have an obligation that supersedes.
Normal types of behavior when it comes to someone close to you who has died.
But God leaves out some exceptions for that.
If it's a very close family member, God says, OK, that's an acceptable time for you to break your responsibilities to break away from you know what it is that you are charged with.
That that's an acceptable reason for you to defile yourself ceremonially.
And and to not fulfill the role of priests because, well, it's your mom, your dad, your son, your daughter, your brother.
You know those types of relationships then that is acceptable, but otherwise it's your good friend.
It's your great aunt, it's you know your second cousin.
You know that that kind of thing God says.
That you're not to break away from your responsibilities for those circumstances.
Now this again, there's some details that we could consider and things that we could get into, but I'm not going to pursue those really this to me just speaks to us about.
God's ability to say this is how I want you to behave and handle these situations of grief. It doesn't mean that the priest was not allowed to grieve.
But the way that he behaved and conducted himself in the midst of that grief had to be governed by God, had to be submitted to God.
He had to allow God to say.
You're allowed to do this now.
The priest would be off duty after his schedule was completed, and then he would be free.
You know to go and be involved with the services or you know whatever it needed to take place.
It was not a complete and total prohibition, but but it was, you know, for that those times that he was on duty.
That there was to be this responsibility to make himself and preserve himself in his availability to serve the people.
And so God instructed the priests on, when it was appropriate for them to grieve in this way.
Warren Rasby puts it this way.
The Lord even regulated the manner of their grief.
These forbidden practices were the customs of Pagan peoples around Israel and God.
People aren't supposed to sorrow as others which have no hope even in our grief.
We must seek to glorify God.
The Pagan practices that he's talking about are listed here in verses 4-5 and six that that they must not, you know, shave themselves in certain way or make cuttings in their flesh. There was practices in the society around them, of handling grief and processing grief and demonstrating grief.
That God says that that is not demonstrate wholly.
Business that is not bring glory to God to behave that way in your grieving, and so the priests are not to behave that way again, he says.
In verse six they shall be holy to their God, completely devoted to God, completely devoted to representing God to the people.
And so that meant that God.
Had authority over their manner of grief.
Now, as you think about grief, grief can be influenced by a variety of things.
The way that you and I grieve is partly based on our culture and different cultures throughout history have grieved in different ways.
Americans today grieve differently than Americans.
A couple 100 years ago.
Americans grieve differently than Europeans then.
Well, if you go to Okinawa and visit Pastor Tom over there, invite him to share with you some of the traditions that the Okinawans have in regards to death and burial and the the grieving process.
That they go through is very different and and would seem very strange to us because it's not part of our culture, it's a.
It's a different thing than we have known and experience.
And so, making cuttings in the flesh, you know, maybe that's not something that is something that comes to mind for you when it comes to the idea of grief, but again, it was something that they practiced in Leviticus, chapter 19, verse 28. God applied that instruction not just to the priests, but to all of Israel.
He said you shall not make cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you.
I am the Lord.
That famous tattoo Levitical universe that people like to refer to?
It's connected to this.
Practices that they would have in regards to their grieving for the dead and God says you're not to grieve, you're not to mourn and sorrow in the same fashion, and conducting yourself in the same way as the culture around you.
And so for you and I today grieving is partly based on our culture.
We grieve in ways that are familiar to us in ways that we've seen in, you know, society around us, and that is not necessarily bad or wrong.
Young, but we need to add in.
OK, this is how culturally we grieve.
This is how we mourn.
OK, but Lord.
Do you want to say something different than what we're seeing here?
Do you want to say something different and and do you want this case to be different for me as I'm mourning?
Typically, you know in our society we would mourn this way, but God you get to have a say if I follow our cultural traditions or not.
You get to have a say if I respond as I normally would based on what I know from our society, and so grieving is partly based on our culture and what we're familiar with.
But grieving is also partly based on theology.
What we know about God, what we believe about what God has said will have a huge impact on the way that we grieve and the way that we process those emotions.
One notable example of that is Paul writing to the Thessalonians in first Thessalonians 413. He writes to them about the rapture.
Of the church, but it's also writing to them about the reunion between the believers at the Rapture and those who have died in Christ.
He says I I don't want you to be ignorant about those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
If you have like bad theology or you don't know the scriptures well, you might sorrow in a way that is not appropriate.
Just because you don't know God very well and because you don't know what he says and and you're responding to the situation based on a lack of information.
About what God has declared and so grieving for those who are in the Lord and who have died, is one example of.
That, but there are many other examples of that that we could consider as well, and so we need to have good theology.
We need to know the scriptures in order to handle these situations.
To know what God says and have a good grasp of doctrine so that we can grieve according to the truth.
And according to what God has declared.
And not just what society says or what is normal or customary for us, or based on how we feel.
And so grieving is partly based on our culture.
Grieving is partly based on our theology.
But thirdly, I would say that grieving is partly based on our personality.
And every family who has experienced grief together can identify and recognize that each person grieves differently.
Each person has a little bit of a different response and a little bit of a different process, and oftentimes this can cause difficulties in families, because here are siblings processing a time of grief and and the one sibling looks at the other and says, why aren't you grieving?
And it's not necessarily that the sibling is not grieving.
But the sibling is processing grief differently, and so the one looking on says you're not behaving like we are, right.
Usually you know there's one or two that are different, right?
So it's like you're not behaving like the rest of us.
And so why are you so cold?
How come you don't care?
Why are you so callous?
And and you're not grieving in this?
Time and it can cause many difficulties where.
There's a different kind of grief, a different expression of grief, a different process, and even a different timeline and time frame when it comes to grief for different people, it's based on our personality a little bit.
It's based on our life experience.
It's it's based on.
What we have encountered and gone through, and the way that we work as an individual.
And so our grieving can be.
Influenced in all of these different ways by our culture, by our theology, by our personality.
And as you consider each of these things, I would suggest you like they all combine to express the grief you know, as we express our grief, they all combine and work together and they all have influence and and an impact in the way that we grieve.
And in context of Leviticus Chapter 21, what I'd like to say is that each one of these can be perfectly appropriate, or it can be out of line, and so we need to listen to the Lord.
As far as how he wants us to grieve.
My personality if I allow it to.
If I allow my my normal nature to dictate and run my life, I may find myself in a position of grief that is not appropriate for my calling and for the way that God has called me to be.
And it may not be the way that I prefer to grieve.
It may not be, you know, the way that I want to express the grief, but I may need to in order.
To represent God and be holy unto him.
Good theology bad theology has an impact in the way that I grieve.
And it might feel better.
To grieve as if I was ignorant of good theology.
It might feel better if I pretend that I don't know what I know the scripture says.
Perhaps you know in the case of the death of an unbeliever.
It would feel better to try to just ignore that aspect of life and eternity and.
But it may not represent God very well.
I might want to express grief in that way.
But it might not be appropriate.
The way that culture typically grieves.
The way that theology and what I know about God.
Impacts the situation.
I'm grieving over the way my personality is and how I process things internally.
All of these things work together.
To express our grief and and it can do so in healthy ways and unhealthy ways.
And what I would encourage you to consider this evening is that.
Allowing the Lord to dictate.
The way that I grieve is the healthiest approach.
Because God knows what I need the most.
And it's not a one size fits all.
Everybody has to grieve exactly this way.
This is really a, you know, here.
Going through a difficult situation.
Perhaps as the example here someone close to you has died.
The Lord has.
Going back to Romans 12 one.
A perfect and acceptable will of God for you, and expressing and experiencing and walking through that time of grief.
He has a perfect will and a perfect plan to work you through that to get you through it to the other side.
In a way that benefits you in a way that's good for you in a way that will help you, and so you need to allow the Lord to instruct you.
Not just what other people do.
Not just what you feel or what you think or how you want to respond to that and experience that.
But what does the Lord have to say to you personally?
Instruction instructing you in that time of grieving?
One thing I always encourage people to do is to feel your feelings.
You know many times again for us in our society.
Culturally we kind of have a tendency to try to not feel our feelings.
We have a tendency to escape our feelings to distract ourselves from our feelings, to bury our feelings, to drown our feelings.
You know anything except for to feel what it is that we are feeling.
And I would encourage you.
I would remind you that your feelings are not to dictate your life and rule over your life.
But at the same time, your feelings are an important part of God's creation of you.
And he gave you feelings so that you could feel them.
That's part of the experience that God desires for us to have and wants us to have and is a healthy experience for us.
I would like to refer to the example of Jesus in John Chapter 11.
There his friend Lazarus had died and he.
While he was visiting the sisters Mary and Martha.
They were weeping, they were.
Questioning Jesus, why didn't you come sooner?
Couldn't you have done something?
Yes, in verse 34, where have you laid him?
And they said to him, Lord, come and see, and then. Verse 35 we know, it is the shortest verse of the Bible. Jesus wept.
It's the shortest verse of the English Bible.
There's a different shortest version of the Bible, which is the shortest verse in the Greek that's just a little side exercise.
If you want to try to figure that out this week, you can go and do that, but but Jesus wept.
Now we know in a couple verses after this that Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
And it's very likely that at that time the Lord knew.
Also, he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead.
But at the same time.
He allowed himself to feel.
He identified with Mary and Martha, and the feelings that they were going through and what they were experiencing.
And he felt that with them.
His friend Lazarus had died.
His friends Mary and Martha were hurting greatly because they have just lost their brother.
And Jesus experiences.
All of that.
Knowing full well.
But also knowing full well he's about to revive him resuscitate him and bring him back to life.
You know this is a hard lesson to learn for some of us.
I I am not one who likes to feel my feelings and and even when I do I don't even.
I know what it is that I'm feeling so many times right and and so there's been a lot of situations in my life as I look back on them where I can see the Lord, allowing me to experience things.
To help me learn to feel my feelings.
Times of difficulty.
Times of depression.
We've shared with you guys, you know the the miscarriages that we've experienced, and the emotions that go along with that.
Peaks and valleys.
Highs and lows.
These are things that God has created as a part of us.
And we need to feel them.
In a way that glorifies God.
Not necessarily the way that culture feels them, and expresses that not necessarily the way that you know we feel or we prefer or we want.
Personally, you know what what our personality is or what our natural tendencies are.
But to go to the Lord and and.
Ask the Lord, Lord help me process these feelings that I'm going through.
What is it that you want to work in me in the midst of this and how can I feel these and and not then, you know, go into a state of rebellion or disconnection from you.
But how can I feel these things and still?
Bring glory to your name and be holy unto you and be a living sacrifice unto you.
In the midst of it.
And so here, as God gives these instructions to the priest about the way that they are to express emotion, the way that they're to express their grief.
He's saying, look, I have authority in this realm.
And the Lord would remind us this evening.
He has authority in this realm, and he gets to say, you know, it's not appropriate for you.
To grieve in that way.
Now, in verses 10 through 12, the Lord goes on to talk about the high priest and the high priests had a little bit stricter requirements for his grief or stricter instruction about his grief.
Check out verses 10 through 12.
It says he who is the high priest among his brethren.
On whose head the anointing oil was poured, and who consecrated to wear the garment?
He shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes, nor shall he go near any dead body, nor defile himself or his father, or his mother, nor he shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God.
For the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him.
I am the Lord.
Here God says OK for regular priests.
You should not defile yourself for the dead.
You should not grieve like everybody else.
You should not mourn like everybody else.
Even your close friends.
You need to maintain your availability as priest.
But if it's your mom, if it's your dad, if it's someone close to you in that way, OK, there's an exception, and you can break away from your responsibility to tend to the family matters.
But now in verses 10 through 12, when it comes to the high priest, he had special responsibility and a little bit higher requirements as a result.
God says even if it's your mom or your dad, you cannot.
Break away from your responsibility.
You need to continue to maintain your service unto the Lord.
And to do something different would be to defile yourself and profane the sanctuary of God. Now this was very real and practical to the LEVITE'S as the Lord was presenting this because just a few chapters earlier, Leviticus Chapter 10 you remember Aaron Sons need abona by who took.
Strange fire into the Tabernacle.
Disobeyed God went into the Tabernacle, perhaps tried to enter the Holy of Holies.
And they were killed.
Right then and there for their behavior.
And at that time in Leviticus, chapter 10, verse six and seven, the Lord speaks through Moses to Aaron, and says do not uncover your head.
Do not tear your clothes.
More in like you want some more and more in like the traditional way.
Do not grieve in the same way that you typically would stay here in the Tabernacle and fulfill your time of service unto the Lord.
Here they just went through this.
And so God here is telling them the high priests, there's these stricter requirements that I mean it.
And, you know, see exhibit A Leviticus chapter 10.
This is the way that you are to conduct yourself as high priest.
And so depending on your role, depending on what God has for you and where you're at and what you're going through.
The point is that God may have different criteria and you know the way that you grieved in the last situation might be different than the way that God wants you to grieve in the next situation based upon the.
Service that you have unto the Lord, and where you're at as a living sacrifice and how he's using you in different people's lives.
And so we need to be careful not to get stuck in one way like this is the only way.
To grieve, you know I learned, you know, when my dog died 25 years ago that this is the way that I grieve.
And so now every time I need to grieve, I grieve that way.
Well, no, I would suggest to you that that each time it's going to be different, and each time you need to give God opportunity.
To instruct you because God gets to tell you how to grieve.
He has that authority in your life.
Pastor John Courson, in sharing his testimony, talks about this great extent because, well, he's experienced a lot of grief as he was pastoring there in Oregon, his wife died.
And when his wife died, he shares about, you know him seeking the Lord and figuring out like how is he going to handle this?
And what does the Lord want from him?
And what the Lord put upon his heart was to continue on his normal schedule of preaching and teaching.
And of course, people around him, you know, rebuked him sharply and said he was crazy.
And all of that.
But he persisted that this this is the way that God wants me to process this and walk through it.
And then it was five years later his daughter died and similar thing he shares about that and and he he had to respond to what the Lord wanted of him in the midst of that situation.
Now I would be careful to say that that doesn't mean that everybody in similar circumstances should behave exactly the same way.
I share that to say listen everybody around us might not understand what it is that God is calling us to do in grieving in that way.
But but the important thing is for us to have that connection to the Lord, and that invitation to the Lord, Lord, you get to tell me how to grieve.
And so, Lord, would you instruct me in this situation where I'm at?
How to walk through this in a way that honors you and glorifies you?
The normal expression of our grief is partly based on our personality or culture or theology.
And all of those are good and important aspects of who we are in our lives, but.
We also need to allow the Lord to override any of those.
And say, here's how I want you to handle this.
Here's my instruction for you.
Well, moving on to consider the next area of our lives that God gets to tell us what to do in.
It's more generally speaking, and that is that God gets to tell me how to live.
God gets to tell me how to live now.
Originally as I was writing my notes for this I I wrote it down.
This way God gets to tell me who to marry and he's.
Giving marriage instructions here to the priests and these.
Verses, but I kind of broadened it a little bit because, well, when God tells me who to marry, he's telling me about the most personal, the most intimate, you know, the most important decision of my life, aside from believing in Jesus, is who to marry, right?
So I'm broadening it to say if God gets to tell me who to marry, well, then God.
It's to tell me everything else in life.
God gets to tell me how to live.
Check out verses 7 through 9.
Here's what it says.
They shall not take a wife who is a harlot or a defiled woman, nor shall they take a woman divorced from her husband, for the priest is holy to his God.
Therefore you shall consecrate him, for he offers the bread of your God.
He shall be holy to you, for I am the Lord who sanctify you, am holy.
The daughter of any priests, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, she profanes her father.
She shall be burned with fire.
Pretty serious, right?
God says I'm holy and you're to be holy, and I mean it.
And so the priests had this responsibility that they had to have God's approval on who they married.
And so again, here God is asserting authority over the most personal part of their lives.
Over the most you know, intricate and intimate detail of their lives.
And if he has authority there.
He has authority.
Then over every aspect of life now the priests had a specific responsibility to carry on the lineages of the priesthood.
The high priests, especially, and so God says, look there needs to be a very strict standard of conduct for the priests in regards to their marriage, so that we preserve the lineages of the priests.
Because you know what the next generation needs you to behave well and to have a good you know spouse so that.
Produce priests that will serve the next generation, and if you're bringing in, you know things that will break that priestly line well now.
Next generations will be hurt and damaged because of that decision.
The high priests, especially.
The Lord gives a little bit, you know, stricter instruction, again, in versus 13 through 15 and verse 13 he says he shall take a wife in her virginity, a widow or divorced woman, or a defiled woman or a harlot.
These he shall not marry, but he shall take a virgin of his own people as wife, nor shall he profane his process.
Posterity among his people for either Lord sanctify him.
The high priest was.
That role was passed on from Father to son to son to son to son.
And so God says there needs to be some strict regulations.
Then about your life so that you maintain that because if you break the chain of high priests.
But now the people will be.
Damaged hurt Defiled as a result of not having that priesthood that high priest to serve them.
And so God gives these instructions to the priests about their marriage in order to preserve that.
Again, they are to be a living sacrifice unto the Lord, to serve the Lord.
Even when it comes to their own personal lives and you see the example there of the daughter right, the the daughter, their children need to be trained in the ways of the Lord and walk with the Lord and and when the daughter defiles herself, she defiles her father as well.
And and it doesn't disqualify him from the ministry, but it does impact his ministry.
And so there is this impact of the family upon the priests.
For you and I, we need to understand that God has authority over our families.
God has authority over who we have relationships with.
God has authority over the way that we conduct ourselves at home.
You know it's not just OK.
We post, you know rules of God here on the wall of the church, and so while you're here, you have to behave yourself a certain way you know.
But when you're out of here, then you can do whatever you want.
No, there is no realm that you can go to.
No area of your life that you can go to where you are outside of God's authority.
To speak to you.
And so you could think about this as a you know, career choice.
God gets to tell you what kind of job to do.
You could think about it as relationships.
God gets to tell you who to be in a relationship with.
He has that authority in your life.
He gets to tell you how you're to behave and how you're to relate to one another.
And many times these things in our very personal aspects of our lives.
Are the most difficult and challenging parts of our walk with God.
The commentator, John Jelenik, says it this way.
The issues in Chapter 21 and 22 mark the highest obstacle to holiness Riddly to one family relations, and this remains true for believers today.
There is a reality to this sometimes.
You know, loving your neighbor as yourself is easier on the freeway than it is at home, right?
Following the obstruction of God and being obedient to God and being godly and being holy and being a living sacrifice sometimes is most difficult.
When it comes to our personal lives, when it comes to who am I going to marry?
Who am I going to be?
You know, spending time with who's my relationships going to be with?
But we need to allow the Lord to have authority.
In those areas of our lives, he has authority.
It's not like we have to, you know, give him that authority.
He has it, but but of course, as God is he doesn't force his way upon us.
But if we want his good and perfect and acceptable will of God in our lives, and we want to experience that well, then we need to invite him.
To instruct us.
But how do you want me to live?
And there are many people who have engaged in relationships that God hasn't authorized and God hasn't approved and there are many people who have broken off relationships when God hasn't authorized that and God hasn't approved.
Even in the marriage relationship where there has been unfaithfulness.
Their God gives the choice the opportunity for the marriage to be dissolved, biblically speaking, right, but it's not a requirement and so still there needs to be even in those circumstances a seeking of the Lord as far as his instruction Lord, what?
What do you want?
Because you get to tell me how to live.
You get to tell me what I'm going to do.
You get to tell me how I'm going to handle these situations.
Even these core situations that are so personal and intimate to the very core of who I am.
As you go through the qualifications that God provides in first Timothy Chapter 3 and Titus chapter one, he gives qualifications.
There are qualities of leaders and servants within the church.
You can see it.
It revolves around similar things.
It's based upon a person character.
It's based upon their integrity.
It's based upon how they relate to their family.
Their leadership qualifications is not based on their number of followers on Tik T.O.K.
Their leadership qualifications is not based on how you know popular they are or you know what they're able to accomplish, or how much money they have.
Their leadership qualifications are based on.
Are they like God?
How much are they a living sacrifice unto him, holy and acceptable?
How much are they walking in that perfect and acceptable will of God?
God maintains the rights and the authority to rule over our lives and to instruct us.
In the things that we are to do and the way that we are to handle.
Whatever situations were facing when it comes to marriage, as we're talking about with the priests, Paul tells us in First Corinthians Chapter 7 a wife is bound by the law.
As long as her husband lives there is to be that continuing of the marriage bond.
If her husband dies, then she's free.
And she's at liberty to marry who she wishes.
But then he adds on the little qualification.
They're only in the Lord.
God gets to say, listen.
For marriage type relationships.
You you should not be involved in any that do not know me.
You should not be involved in relationships where there is not a as we often refer to it in an equal yoke.
Refrained at Second Corinthians chapter 6.
And the Lord is saying, is you uniting together with someone?
You need to be in unity with them in your pursuits of the things of God.
And I'm God, I get to say that to you.
Well, but I love this person and I, you know, want to spend the rest of my life with them.
And you know they're gonna change one day and they're gonna you know all of those things.
And God says, OK, very nice.
OK, great now.
Do what I'm telling you to do.
I get to tell you what to do, who you're going to marry, who you're going to spend time with when you're going to break up when you're not going to break up.
I get to tell you that I have authority in your life in that way.
The Lord demonstrated that to a great degree through the Prophet Hosea, and if you want to read a rollercoaster of a ride and try to picture obedience to God to the radicalist degree than you've ever imagined, spend some time reading through the book of Hosea and Experience a little bit of what that Prophet experienced as the Lord instructed him and said, look.
I get to tell you.
About every aspect of your life when you forgive, when you bring back when you restore who you marry, who you pick, who you choose.
I get to tell you all of that.
I have authority like that in your life.
God gets to tell me how to live.
Now, again in this we need to understand that God is not just looking to you, you know live out his power trip and you know he just enjoys dictating everybody lives he he.
Has this authority has this right?
But he gives us these instructions because he wants what's best for us.
And I really liked the way that Warren Wiersbe summarized this whole concept.
He says it this way if we want to have God's blessing on our ministry, we must keep our ourselves, our marriages and our families pure and dedicated before God. A godly marriage with godly children constitutes a spiritual fortress.
From which God servants can go forth and do battle for the Lord, you want to be effective as a living sacrifice for God.
You want to be powerful in your service unto the Lord, and you're honoring of God, and you're representing of God to the world around you.
He says you can be a fortress.
I like that a spiritual fortress from which you could go forth and do battle for the Lord.
When you've got your home in order.
When at home, you are seeking God at home, you're with the right person, you're you're with who the Lord wants you to be.
Now, by the way, if you are married, you're already with the person that God wants you to be OK, so we're not suggesting to change that up.
But before that marriage happens, you still have opportunity and you need to make sure.
I always tell people listen.
This is the second most important decision of your life, and so you need to be as sure about this decision of who you're going to marry as you are about your eternity in heaven like it's that level because you are committing the rest of your life and so you better be sure that that is who God.
Wants you to be with.
He has that authority.
He has that role in your life.
Well, finally, the third aspect that we'll consider, God gets to tell me what to do and that involves my service unto him.
Point #3 God gets to tell me how to serve. And here in verses 16 through 24, we get that we're not going to read through all of these verses. But let's start in verse 16 and work our way through the 1st.
2 verses here.
Verse 16 it says the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, speak to Aaron, saying no man of your descendants in succeeding generations, who has any defect, may approach to offer the bread of his God.
For any man who has a defect, shall not approach a man blind or lame, who has a marred face or any limb.
Too long a man who has a broken foot or a broken hand or is a hunchback or a dwarf or a man who has a defect in his eye, or eczema, or a scab, or is.
Is a eunuch.
God goes on to give some more examples and more qualifications.
Their God says, look.
For the levite's for the priests.
They are to not have these kinds of issues.
In order for them to fulfill their role.
At the Tabernacle.
Now, understanding how this worked right, the levite's it was a tribe of the Nation of Israel. They were devoted to all things Tabernacle or temple.
And so they would be involved in the service of the Lord in various regards.
But then there was one family, the family of Aaron, who were the priests.
And the basically the Patriarch of the family at the time is the high priest, but all the other descendants of Aaron were all priests.
And so the priests you know we're this family, and it would carry on from generation to generation to generation.
And God is saying in this family, this is, you know, the whole pool of priests.
This is, you know, the the full selection of who can be priests.
But now there's criteria within this family.
If there is a young man who has this kind of defect or issue.
Well, he cannot serve in that capacity.
And some of these things that God lists here are interesting to consider, because some of them.
Would be like birth defects.
Some of them you know would just happen at birth.
This priest would be born in such a way that he could not serve in that capacity at the Tabernacle.
He is still considered a priest.
He still has that that status of holiness unto the Lord, and gets to partake of the things that only parties a priest could partake of.
But he could not serve in these specific capacities, and so some of these were just things that would happen.
But some of these are also things that.
Could happen by.
Or it could.
Happen upon a priest throughout the course of his life.
Again, Pastor Warren raised.
You puts it this way.
Some of these would be birth defects, others might be sad consequences of sickness or accidents.
The ancients weren't as skillful in setting broken bones or dealing with diseases as physicians are today.
And I would ask you to just like stop and think about that for a a little bit here.
Picture yourself as a young Jewish boy.
From the tribe of Levi, a descendant of Aaron.
And you are preparing your whole life has been preparing for that day that you get to serve the Lord at the Tabernacle.
And you've been trained.
You've been preparing, you've been, you know, working and are equipped and and you're getting ready.
The day before you start your ministry.
You break your foot.
God says no man with a broken foot.
And serve me in this way.
Something changes, something happens.
There's some accident.
There's some situation that develops.
And suddenly your whole life is different.
And this priest everything that he's worked for and dreamed of and everything that he expected his life to be.
And all that he was going to do.
Now is just completely gone.
God has the authority to say.
This happened in your life.
All those things that you were dreaming, all those things that you were wanting, all those things that you were hoping for.
That's all changed.
Now there is a whole new life ahead of you from this point on.
And you could think about it in some ways.
And think man, this is kind of hard, cruel, you know.
Perhaps you might.
You might be challenging God on this a bit.
But again, God gives all of these instructions for our good.
He has this kind of authority in our lives, and we need to understand.
In our lives generally God has this authority.
But also when it comes.
To our service, unto the Lord.
And this can be a challenge for us sometimes.
For this priest that hasn't changed his opportunity to know God.
It hasn't changed his status in relationship to God.
It hasn't changed his access to God.
His ability to worship God.
It hasn't changed any of that.
The only thing that has changed is his ability to serve in one particular capacity.
And it changed his whole plan.
The person plan, right?
But it hasn't changed God plan.
Because God knew.
What would come about?
And God still has a course of blessing and goodness and glory for this.
Priest, who has experienced this blemish.
This defect, this accident, whatever it is.
That may be.
And we need to understand that God has this for us as well.
Sometimes things happen in our life and it it dashes our hopes and our expectations and we were hoping to have you know this capacity, this ability we wanted to serve in this way we wanted to, you know, be able to accomplish that.
And circumstances change.
And and that's off the table, we're no longer able to do that.
And you know, sometimes we can handle that very poorly.
And we can be very discouraged and depressed and kind of give up on the whole idea because you know all that we've ever known.
And what we've been working for and what we've been wanting is this particular thing.
But I would encourage you to consider the example of David and to take heart from that.
David wanted to build a temple for the Lord the Tabernacle.
It's a tent, it's you know, temporary.
It's not that great, but man, God deserves a temple.
And you know the account.
God said no, not for you. David, your son will build the temple and so first chronicles Chapter 22 records for us God not God, but David saying look, my son is going to build the temple.
He's young, he's inexperienced. He's talking to the leaders of Israel and he's saying, look, the Lord's house needs to be exceedingly magnificent.
It needs to be glorious.
David still had a passion for the temple to be built and to be amazing.
And so David says, I will now make preparation for it.
God gets to say how I serve him and so he said I don't get to do it.
I don't get to do the building.
So what I'm going to do instead is I'm going to prepare what I can for it and it goes on to say he made abundant preparations before his death.
God made or David made abundant preparations.
The Lord had a different course for him, and so David found and followed that course.
There's been many examples of these kinds of things over the years where there were those who wanted to go on the mission field, but circumstances happened and things change and they weren't able to go.
But at the same time, perhaps the Lord would say you can support somebody else.
And send somebody else and still have that same passion for that thing for that ministry, for that calling.
But it might be fulfilled in a different way than you imagined or envisioned.
Many of us have had to kind of run into this over the past year as we've dealt with COVID restrictions and all of these things ministry for the past year for all of us relationships right?
And serving one another.
It's it's looked different.
Over the past year.
And you know, I don't know that we have.
Really fully experienced.
All of what could have been?
If we wouldn't have spent so much time trying to recreate or resist the circumstances, right?
Like come on, let me just figure out a way if I can like set my foot better or I'll break it again and try to heal it so I can walk straight.
And I'm not, you know, then can I serve at the Tabernacle like we're trying to like, force it, and force our vision forces?
You know what we're used to?
Worse, what we're come.
Trouble with listen I.
I think there's so many ways that that we could be ministering and serving the Lord even in the midst of all the crazy COVID restrictions and things that we experienced this past year.
I think we I think we just barely scratched the surface of what we could do, but we might have just been limited by not allowing the Lord to show us.
Let me show you how to make preparations when you wanted to build.
Sometimes geography restricts us.
You know, we really wanted to be somewhere we really wanted to go somewhere.
Sometimes schedule restricts us and that happens for me all the time.
I want to do so much more.
I want to do so many different things.
But I have to face the reality of the circumstances that I'm in and I cannot go beyond what God has allotted to me.
And so I must allow the lawyer to instruct me and say this is what you can do.
This is how you can serve me.
No matter what happens in your life.
God has his plans and purposes his good and acceptable and perfect will for you.
To be able to serve him.
Even if that is different than what you've always envisioned and desired for yourself, I've shared this verse a few times over the past few weeks, but I'll share it again.
Ephesians 210 we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for Good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
God has prepared it beforehand in your life, good works.
There's a whole path ahead of you of good things that you can do in honoring the Lord in serving the Lord.
In being holy unto the Lord and being a holy sacrifice, a living sacrifice.
You can fulfill your priestly ministry.
That God is set before you.
You don't have to invent it.
You don't have to generate it.
You don't have to come up with it.
You have to stay connected to God and allow him to show you.
The good works that he has set before you listen.
I am really sorry that you cannot serve God in the way that you wanted to and dreamed about.
But you can still serve God.
He still has a path of good works.
He still has a whole lifetime.
Of ways for you.
To know him to honor him.
To make an impact.
In this world for his Kingdom.
He has the plans.
I don't have the plans.
And maybe you don't have the plans, but God has the plans.
He gets to tell you.
How to serve, where to serve?
When to serve.
He has that authority in your life.
I want to finish up tonight with.
A bit of a quotation, it's just a snippet from a larger article that that was written a long time ago.
It's entitled, others may. You cannot, and if it interests you, I would encourage you to look it up. It's by a man named GD Watson and he has. You know this whole encouragement and exhortation.
For those who are serving the Lord, and here's the first paragraph of his exhortation.
He says, if God has called you to be really like Jesus.
He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility.
And put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people.
Or measure yourself by other Christians and in many ways he will seem to let other good people do things which he will not let you do.
In summary, others may.
But you cannot.
Or to be in a relationship with God, where you allow him to have authority to say this is how you're degraeve.
And you can't measure that and compare that to someone else and say, well, I'm grieving right?
Because this is how Richard grieves.
No, it doesn't work that way.
You need to.
Culture has an influence.
What we have experienced, what we know, and how our personalities.
Absolutely, it has an influence and has a part to play, but but ultimately all of that needs to be submitted to God and say, God.
This is how I feel.
This is how I want to grieve.
How do you want me to grieve?
God gets to tell me how to live.
This person just went to, you know, got to go out and marry whoever they wanted to.
So I want to go out and marry whoever.
I want to.
God says, well others may, but hey, you can't.
You want to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to me and so that means I get to tell you.
Who you're going to marry?
Who you're going to spend time with?
How you're going to live and every detail about your life.
I get to have that authority in your life.
And God gets to tell me how to serve well, look at this person.
They they serve in this ministry and that ministry.
In that ministry and they you know, you get to do all these other things and.
Problem I don't get to do that and sometimes we can be down about where we're at because you know it looks different than others around us, but.
That's not the standard, and that's not the measurement by which.
We need to use.
We need to be connected to the Lord and say, Lord.
What do you want?
How do you want me to serve?
What doors of opportunity and good works have you set before me?
You get to tell me what to do in every aspect of my life.
Let's pray, Lord, we thank you for this really solid and important reminder.
This evening, God, we want to be submitted to you.
We want Lord to be listening to you and in each of these different aspects of our lives and be.
Able to be living sacrifices.
To be representing you to be wholly unacceptable to you and right in the center of your perfect will for our lives.
And so God help us.
To use the right measurement.
And not just base it upon the world around us or Christians around us.
But to look to you.
And allow you to instruct us in our grieving.
And our relationships and our serving.
Lord, may we bring glory to your name?
And serve you well.
We pray this in Jesus name.