Knowing God: a new, old commandment

The reality of God was never something I’ve really questioned. Sure, I’ve doubted the nature of God, the person of God, and my relationship to this God. In the end, the deciding question for me was whether this divine being would have any implications for my life.

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

— 1 John 2:7–11 (ESV)

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Leviticus: a two-faced God?

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Reading: Leviticus 26:1-27:34

Focus: Leviticus 26:1-46

When people ask you to describe a person, you generally gravitate to their pleasant and good characteristics, or if it’s someone you dislike, you generally gravitate to their more negative (in your opinion) characteristics. Rarely do people give a balanced perspective when they describe a person. The same goes for God, you often find that there are two extremes which people focus upon. The first, generally Christian, response focuses upon God’s grace and love; the second, generally non-Christian, response focuses upon God’s wrath and justice (injustice from most perspectives).

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Leviticus: forever free…

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Reading: Leviticus 23:1-25:55

Focus: Leviticus 25:1-55

We live in a world where the rich are only getting richer, and the poor are only getting poorer. Over the generations, the status of families and businesses have overpowered and domineered over those who simply have not been able to keep up. As they continue to grow from the failure of those smaller than them, their growth expands exponentially as there is close to no way for people to catch up.

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Leviticus: it’s simply not good enough…

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Reading: Leviticus 20:1-22:33

Focus: Leviticus 22:17-33

I used to have a violin teacher in high school, a Russian violin teacher, who was never satisfied with my progress (catalysed by my lack of practice and apathetic attitude towards her). Without fail each week she would have an episode, “No, no, no. Not like that! (*insert unintelligible Russian*) Like this! Like this!” or something of similar effect. Suffice to say, while I progressed, it was simply not good enough for her. (When you realise that we had students in the Melbourne Youth Orchestra, with calibre that high…you just can’t compare.)

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Leviticus: because I am God!

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Reading: Leviticus 16:1-19:37

Focus: Leviticus 19:1-37

Don’t you hate it when your parents give you the response, “Because I told you so!” It’s not that you disagree with what they want you to do (ahem!) but you just want to know the reasoning behind it. “Why do I have to do it?” … “Just because!” … “But why?!” And then the anger flares up and then no longer is it about the issue at hand but your disobedience and lack of respect. All you wanted was just a simple explanation.

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Leviticus: the clean and the unclean…

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Reading: Leviticus 14:1-15:33

Focus: Leviticus 15:1-32

Probably one of the most difficult things to understand about the Israelites was the matter of cleanliness and uncleanliness. The picture that is perceived by our account of the Gospels is that it related to one’s spiritual state: cleanliness indicating a right standing with God and uncleanliness the opposite. However, a proper understanding of cleanliness and uncleanliness is far from the case.

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