A Levitical camp

If you were choos­ing a theme for your annu­al church camp, what would you choose? Maybe some­thing pas­toral like Ephesians, or some­thing encour­ag­ing like the Psalms per­haps? But I sus­pect it is pret­ty unlike­ly that you would choose the book of Leviticus! Well, this week­end we went away as a church com­mu­ni­ty to the Yarra Valley for 3 days and guess what we looked at… that’s right the book of Leviticus.

I must admit, I was pret­ty excit­ed when I heard we were going through Leviticus on camp, my OT stud­ies last year and essay on Leviticus gave me a great love for the book (weird huh!) and I think it was a great chance to open it up with our church, after all, it is prob­a­bly one of the most ignored books in the Bible for Christians. Rowan Kemp of Sydney Uni EU did the talks and I think he did a won­der­ful job of open­ing up the book, draw­ing out the main themes and mak­ing it acces­si­ble to all of us.

The thing I love about Leviticus is that it is all about the rela­tion­ship between God and His peo­ple. God has just tak­en his peo­ple out of Egypt, mirac­u­lous­ly saved them from slav­ery and now comes down to dwell with them. But God is holy, mag­nif­i­cent, amaz­ing (he’s God) and his peo­ple are not so holy, in fact they’re pret­ty hope­less, sin­ful, doubt­ing, grum­bling peo­ple (they’re human), and Leviticus is all about God pro­vid­ing the way for them to be made clean so that they can dwell in the same place as Him. In oth­er words Leviticus is all about God’s grace, and it’s all about God’s holi­ness, and it’s all about the way God pro­vid­ed atone­ment for his peo­ple to restore the cre­ation ide­al of God dwelling with His peo­ple. The rules and reg­u­la­tions are not all about the Israelites becom­ing right with God but they are there for them to know how they can live in response to the fact that God has already made them right with Him.

As a Christian, read­ing Leviticus is even more amaz­ing because we know the end of the sto­ry. The peo­ple of Israel didn’t stick with God, they kept on for­get­ting Him and doing their own thing, but God made the ulti­mate sac­ri­fice in Jesus, and gives us His Holy Spirit, that now we are able to live in His way. The old covenant with one group of peo­ple with all it’s rules and reg­u­la­tions has been super­seded in the new covenant with Christ. We are in Christ, we are a new cre­ation by God’s grace, cre­at­ed to do good works which He deter­mined in advance for us to do.

In case you didn’t notice, I real­ly like Leviticus… my OT lec­tur­er would be proud I’m sure 🙂

We also enjoyed spend­ing time with our church com­mu­ni­ty. There were loads of fun activ­i­ties at the camp­site (water­slide, water tram­po­line, nor­mal tram­po­lines, fly­ing fox …) and we had some real­ly encour­ag­ing con­ver­sa­tions with oth­ers. I was so blessed to have peo­ple speak into my life, encour­ag­ing me to keep on trust­ing in God through every­thing, and I am so thank­ful for week­ends like this which help refo­cus me in my walk with the Lord.

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