1 – “You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” (Exodus 31:14, ESV)
RAF: This seems strange doesn’t it? first, because REST has to be commanded. And secondly, that failure to use this rest should be punished by death. But Scripture elsewhere affirms the necessity of both. First, that in refusing to rest, man makes himself to be his own god. He is above God, not recognizing that all came from Him and that He ultimately is to be relied upon and seen as the provider of all things. To fail to rest is to refuse to acknowledge God as God, and that He has made all things, and that we are to look to Him, trust Him and not imagine everything in life depends upon us and our own efforts. Nor are we to be so greedy, that we are not satisfied with what can be obtained in the normal appointed course of work. But secondly, this weekly rest is shown to be a type or shadow of the “rest” to come, which is the heaven obtained not by works, but by resting in the finished work of Christ. And this is what cuts a man off from the household of faith – not to rest in the finished work of Christ. To try and obtain justification before God by effort, rather than by faith alone. It speaks to the very heart of the Gospel.
2 – “And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”” (Exodus 32:9-10, ESV)
RAF: Abraham thought he might have strained God’s mercy when he pleaded with Him not to overthrow Sodom. First he argued if only 50 righteous were present, would the Lord spare them. Finally, he arrives at – if only ten righteous are there. Abraham knew something of God’s goodness. But here, God says that His anger is being restrained by but one – Moses. That he would have to let God alone – be out of the way – before God would break out. Oh that we might have the heart of Moses here! That you and I would not be quick to give up on people, and to remain in the gap as it were, interceding. We are often more willing to give others over to God’s wrath when many thousands more of God’s own remain – in nations we thought God should long ago destroy for their sin – like our own perhaps. But He is so amazingly merciful and gracious on behalf of even one who remains before Him. He willingly restrains His own just wrath given but a single reason to withhold it. He does not afflict “willingly”, see: Lamentations 3:33.
3 – “And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to the derision of their enemies),” (Exodus 32:25, ESV)
RAF: When God’s people behave in ways that show no constraint due to the mercy and grace of God poured out upon us, we invite the mocking of the world. We provoke those around us to think about the God who saved us as though He were mad, or foolish in saving such a people. In faith, God justifies us, and in lives lived in holiness, we justify God – demonstrating that salvation is not a fiction, but a true work of grace on our hearts. We never sin, without it reflecting back on the Lord who bought us with His own blood. Father, how often my words and actions must have made the world think your salvation has had so little impact upon me. Forgive me. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you – and then, there will be no fear of how they might look to others.
4 – “Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Exodus 33:18-19, ESV)
RAF: Here is a most startling difference between he Mosaic covenant and the New Covenant. Here, God alone reveals His mercy grace, and that to but Moses. What must it be then now, that in 1 Peter 2:9-10, WE are given the task of being the means of revealing His mercy and grace to the world! “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10, ESV)
5 – “And none shall appear before me empty-handed.” (Exodus 34:20c, ESV)
RAF: No worship of God is acceptable apart from the context of a sacrifice for sin. The sacrifice we bring, is the Lamb slain at Calvary. There can be no true worship of the living God apart from Christ. He is the one mediator between God and man, the one acceptable sacrifice for sin.
6 – The one-word theme of Leviticus is FOUNDATIONS. In this book, we see what the foundations of a human society built around the worship of and service to God looks like. It begins as a pure Theocracy – God alone as ruler, with each man taking complete responsibility to serve God as he ought. Thus, no human king is needed. However, as each man neglects to take full responsibility to serve God as He proscribes in His Word, human government inevitably follows.