Excerpt From Devotions From Leviticus: Living a life of holiness

“So it shall be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned.” 

Leviticus 5:5

Some of my favorite gleanings from the Word of God is the clear picture of the unchanging character of mankind. What we struggle with today is that which we struggled with yesterday. The result of sin and the way it manifests itself in us has not changed at its root. This is why the Scriptures never lose their relevance. In this chapter we see the sin of withholding information, the sin of touching something unclean, the sin of speaking thoughtlessly, and the sin of mishandling the Lord’s holy things. The guilt offerings covered in Leviticus chapter five also required more than just the blood of the animal sacrifice. These offerings required a verbal confession as well as restitution to be made to the one the offense was against.

Leviticus chapter five begins with the sin of someone not testifying as a witness when they had testimony concerning a case. The Lord points out to us that this is a matter of guilt even if we didn’t realize we had testimony concerning a case until after the trial began or even years after it ended. The moment we realize we have testimony concerning a situation we are guilty of not speaking out and our guilt remains until we make what we know known. In the Jewish Study Bible, Baruch J. Schwartz shares in the commentary that the guilt offerings in Leviticus chapter five “aim to counter the notion that duties weaken with time and eventually cease to exist.” He goes on to say that, “the opposite is the case: severity of negligence whether physical impurity or of moral or legal obligation, intensifies the longer it lasts.”

We live in the day of the NDA, the non disclosure agreement. According to nondisclosureagreement.com, “Non-disclosure agreements are legal contracts that prohibit someone from sharing information deemed confidential. The confidential information is defined in the agreement which includes, but not limited to, proprietary information, trade secrets, and any other details which may include personal information or events.” We can sign all the legal agreements we want here on this earth, but it will not hold in heaven. If we have testimony that is truth that alters the judgment concerning a case of any kind we are obligated to the One who judges all to speak up and speak out. We are accountable and there is no time limitation on accountability to our Everlasting Father the Eternal God.

We live in a day when people swear thoughtlessly with their lips and speak thoughtlessly with promises they never intended to keep. This sin is intensified because today that thoughtless speech is typed out and posted on a world wide web that literally travels the globe. Once that click is made to share that careless and thoughtless word, there is no way for the one who spoke it to take it back. Whether it was a promise to do good or a threat to do evil we can’t erase it today, even if we realized we were the ignorant ones when we spoke it. In this day of social media, when we become aware of new facts and discover our wrong, we can’t fix it with a simple apology. We can try, but we cannot trace and erase how far thoughtless speech spreads.

Moving on to touching that which is unclean, we as Christians could brush right on past this one as we are not bound by these particular laws concerning carcasses, or we can take Leviticus 5:2 and see it from a relevant perspective. A carcass is a dead thing. In Ephesians 2:1-2 we read, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” In Hebrews 6:1-2 we read, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.” In Matthew Henry’s  Concise Commentary he writes concerning Leviticus 5:2 and says, “Though his touching the unclean thing only made him ceremonially defiled, yet neglecting to wash himself according to the law, was either carelessness or contempt, and contracted moral guilt. As soon as God, by his Spirit, convinces our consciences of any sin or duty, we must follow the conviction, as not ashamed to own our former mistake.” 

In 1 Peter 1:14 we are encouraged, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance.” Our God makes concessions for the fact that we are flesh. He gives us room to fail out of our ignorance, but our ignorance is not an excuse to remain in that failure once the truth has been made known to us. Sometimes we just do not realize that we have been hanging around dead things. Sometimes we don’t recognize our dead works for what they are, but once we do He gives grace to forgive us our sin and He also gives grace that we might repent and take action to make restitution for the damage our ignorance caused us and those around us. 

Our God even gives us grace when it is His holy things that we have damaged. In Leviticus 5:15-16 we read, “If a person acts unfaithfully and sins unintentionally against the Lord’s holy things, then he shall bring his guilt offering to the Lord: a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation in silver by shekels, in terms of the shekel of the sanctuary, for a guilt offering. He shall make restitution for that which he has sinned against the holy thing, and shall add to it a fifth part of it and give it to the priest. The priest shall then make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and it will be forgiven him.” The phrase “holy things” in this verse is the Hebrew word qodesh and it means apartness or sacredness. The Strong’s Concordance adds that it is a consecrated thing, dedicated thing, hallowed thing, holiness, most holy day, portion, thing, saint. 

In 1 Peter 1:15-16 the scriptures go on to say, “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” Then in 2 Peter 2:9-10 we read, “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; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” The holy things of the Lord are not just pieces of furniture and utensils and altars and incense that are found in the temple, they are also the people of God. 

We do not have to intentionally hurt someone to be guilty of hurting them. We do not have to intentionally act unfaithfully to be guilty of doing so. Our lack of intent does not make the sin, nor the hurt it possibly caused, any less. Leviticus 5:17 reminds us that the guilt is there even if we are unaware of our sin. Therefore the moment we become aware we have a choice, we can humble ourselves, repent, and follow through with confession and restitution or we can allow our pride to keep us in our guilt. In our guilt we remain unforgiven and separated from the Lord, our sin unatoned for, and as a result the consequences of our actions continue to ripple through our life affecting not just us, but everything and everyone around us.

In Matthew 5:22-24 Jesus taught, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” The Lord has made it so easy for us to make it right. In James 5:16 we read,  “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” Then in 1 John 1:9 we are told, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There is no reason, no excuse, to walk around guilty before the Lord and guilty before one another when our God has made the way for us to be forgiven and reconciled.

Oh Father,

It is so hard sometimes to admit that we have hurt someone by our silence. It’s hard sometimes to admit that we have sinned against someone by our words, especially if it was unintentional. It is hard sometimes to admit that we have been hanging around and messing around and wasting time with dead things. It is hard sometimes to admit that we are guilty of mishandling Your holy things. It’s hard, but if we are ever to be who You have called us to be we must be willing to admit it, confess it, and carry out the action needed to address it and make restitution for it. Oh Father, might we be bold and courageous enough to face ourselves so that we can face You. My Jesus, I know that I have been guilty and I know that as I grow and mature in You that You are going to open my eyes to more and more of my actions and words that have sinned against you against others so that I, as well as those affected by my words and actions, can be set free and forgiven. Give me the strength and the confidence to see the truth You reveal to me and the heart to follow through in the power of Your Spirit.

My Jesus, I love you and it’s in Your name I pray, 


It’s Black and White

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. (John 1:1-4)

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ (Acts 17:24-28)

I read a twitter post earlier this morning that said, “racism isn’t worse today, it’s just finally being recorded.

This hit.

In the movie Hidden Figures there is a scene that displays where I feel that many, if not most, white Americans, if they will admit it, may find themselves.

I think many really believe we are not racist or prejudiced. I think that many believe that because we agree that slavery was wrong and incredibly unjust and we have a great respect for Dr Martin Luther King Jr and we cringe when we watch movies like “Mississippi Burning” and “A Time To Kill” that we are truly not racist. Yet, how many of us have never had a person of color in our home or been in the home of a person of color or built any type of friendship or relationship with anyone outside of our own race, nor have encouraged our children to do so.

When our youngest was six years old we were watching “The Help” at my Mother-in-Law’s on New Years Day and I recorded this conversation in a blog post:

Her first question came.
“Momma why can’t she go to the bathroom?” 

So the explanation of the civil rights movement began and as I spoke my child’s beautiful innocent eyes looked at me with utter befuddled confusion. The fact that someone could be treated so horrible simply because of the color of her skin was completely foreign and insane to her. Proof that racism is taught, not natural.

Her next question came.
“But why Momma?” 

My only answer.
“Foolish ignorance and human self-righteousness”

Racism is not just taught by our words, it is more so taught by our actions and often by our silence. I am white. My family is white. Yet, I grew up in and out of homes of black families that I considered family. They impacted my life and I loved them and I felt loved by them. I loved the color of their skin. I was jealous of it. Shoot, I still am! I always thought black is beautiful, I had to come to learn that so is this light skinned, freckled faced, red head.

To say that racism is not real is to lie to ourselves. So many of us live with this deep ingrained fear that has been planted as a seed inside of us and we don’t think it is there, until we find ourselves in a situation that causes it to sprout and reveal its presence. Then, boom, there it is. We didn’t think we were racist, until our child wanted to date that child of a different race. We didn’t think we were racist until we find ourselves lost and in that neighborhood after dark. The problem is, I believe, too often most of us justify it, excuse it, and brush it away when it shows up and so that seed sprout of fear remains and continues to dig its roots in us and it bears fruit subconsciously in ways that passes on from generation to generation. There has to be a generation that chooses to not justify, excuse, or brush away but instead chooses to face it, deal with it, and pull it out by its root.

Will this generation be the one?

My favorite part about serving on staff with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is that we are multi cultural, non denominational, and it doesn’t matter if you are male or female, you get to have a voice in the service of the Lord. However, in order for us to do this we have to be purposeful. We have to intentionally and purposely pursue this unity and truth because the reality is seen on our school campuses. If we are not intentional our campus ministries divide. We can walk in a school huddle and will see the black students on one side, the hispanic students on another side, and the white students on another. We have to be intentional to start the campus ministry time with a game that forces the kids to get up, mix up, and communicate with one another. Once this happens the entire atmosphere of the room changes, and it’s a good thing.

If we want to see our world change we have to be intentional and purposeful and church it SHOULD start with us. We have to choose to get out of our bubble. Please get out of your bubble. I understand we are in quarantine right now and social distancing is a thing, but make plans now that when we can meet again to open your doors. That person that’s not your color, that’s not your race, that you are just acquaintances, or co-workers, or teammates with, invite them over. Get to know them. Get to know them so that one day you can have real and open conversations together about seeds of fear in your heart that you didn’t even realize they were there until they were.

I may not be able to change the world, but I can change me. I can change my family. I can work on the hearts of my kids and those in my area of influence. I may not have a voice that carries around the globe becoming viral on social media, but I do have a voice that can carry around my dining room table. I do have a voice that can be heard in my Sunday School room. I do have a voice that can be heard in my church. I do have a voice that can be heard in my classroom, at my lunchroom table, in the bleachers of my gym. I will be accountable to the God who gave it to me as to how and if I use it.

“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Jesus, Matthew 12:37)

I began this post with Scripture. I began this way because I believe all the answers we need for life are right there in black and white. The Word of God, rightly used, will unite. The Word of God, rightly used, will teach us to love. The Word of God, rightly used, will conform us into the image of Christ and make us one… if we will let it.

In one of our FCA Coaches Events we had a counselor come and share about anxiety and how our coaches could help their athletes who struggled with it. The counselor shared the importance of not dismissing the emotions and feelings that the athletes were experiencing, but instead to acknowledge them. It is in the acknowledging not the dismissing that the one experiencing is able to be moved and settled and the reality of the situation is able to be changed. Validation of feelings allows us to be freed from them. If we are ever to change what we see going on in our nation concerning race, we have to be willing to validate the feelings of one another not dismiss or worse, belittle them. We have to be willing to listen. We have to be willing to hear. And for the love of God we HAVE to be willing to speak.