Friday, October 19, 2012

It just got real: Leviticus 8

You start with a plan. It’s a good plan. It’s a big plan. It’s an amazing plan. People will be wowed, the world will be astonished. Through it all, God will be glorified in what you have planned, and the whole thing will go down in history.

Except that a plan is not really anything. It’s just a plan. There is nothing of value in a plan if you cannot get anyone to get their hands dirty and do it. All you have is a lovely spreadsheet and some nice PowerPoint slides. That and a dollar will get you a pseudo-burger from the golden arches.

This is where the narrative of the Old Testament sits as we start Leviticus 8 (link). Moses has been given the plan. The materials (Tabernacle, et. al.) have been assembled. The instructions have been given.

Now the question comes to it: Will Aaron and his sons take up the task? Will the priests undertake their duties? Will the people participate?

If you have never tried to get a group of people to do something, you may not see this as a stress point. It is one. All the pieces start coming into place, everything looks like it’s going to work out, but there’s this huge fear of that one last issue, that one hiccup that will rip the whole thing to pieces.

Moses may have been mature enough not feel that at this point, but some of us are not quite there yet. I know I am not: the best laid plans of mice and men often involve fighting over cheese, and I worry about whether someone will shred what should be sliced.

The fear, though, is an illusion. While it is true that no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy and no lesson plan survives first contact with students, we miss the point if our greatest concern is a perfectly executed plan. Our greatest concern is obedience to the Lord God Almighty. Oftentimes I have found that this requires obedience and diligence in planning followed by faithfulness and flexibility and obedience in execution.

However, so far none of this plagues Moses. Instead, he has the ordination services for Aaron and sons and puts them to work in the Tabernacle. The sacrifices are offered, the anointing oil is poured, and new clothes are put on.

This marks the point where things get real for the covenant community of Israel. They have been “on their way” to being a nation with its own religion. Now they have it: a primary day-to-day leader in Moses and a spiritual leader in Aaron. They have portions of the civic law and portions of ceremonial law. They have a plan, a promise, the first real pictures of its fulfillment.

Now it’s about obedience and faithfulness. Which is frequently where we stumble.

Which gives us that sense of dread for the coming chapters.

But you’ll have to wait a few days for that. Or you can read ahead.

Today’s Nerd Note: That sense of dread will be fulfilled. One thing to take note of is the command at the end of the chapter regarding staying put for seven days. That’s worth remembering: if God says stay put, then stay put.

Also worth wondering about: Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar are to not leave the doorway of the Tent of Meeting for those seven days. What did God show them, what did they see/hear/experience in that time?

We don’t need to know. But that falls under the list of things that I would like to know.

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