Term 2 2019

Leviticus: Bridging the gulf between us and the Holy God

The book of Leviticus takes up the account of the people of Israel after their redemption from slavery in Egypt. Even as Moses meets with God to receive the law, the people of Israel choose rebellion and idolatry. The continuing problem of human sin and rebellion opens up a gulf between the Holy God and his people. God’s presence is linked to the tent of meeting (Tabernacle) but his holiness
requires an elaborate system of sacrifice and ritual set out in the book of Leviticus. This book will help us to appreciate the grace of God in providing Jesus as the atoning sacrifice for our sin. Ultimately only Jesus can bridge the gulf!

Moral Purity   Leviticus 18-20   9th June

  1. Are there certain rules or laws (e.g. speed limits, not staying out late when you were younger) that you’ve thought of more as guidelines that don’t necessarily always have to be followed?

Read Leviticus 18:1-5

  1. Who should the Israelites be following in regards to how they should live their lives?
  2. Why do you think it’s important that God states his name in verses 2 and 5?

Read Leviticus 18:24-19:2

  1. Why do you think the land is important here (18:24-28)? What is the punishment that is hinted at in 18:28?
  2. Why do you think it’s important that everyone is involved (18:26)?
  3. What does “holy” mean (19:2)?
  4. 1 Peter 1:13-21 quotes Leviticus 19:2 and urges that Christians should also live holy lives. What do you think that looks like in our day and age?

Ritual Purity   Leviticus 11-15   2nd June

  1. From Leviticus 11, what would the distinction between clean and unclean food teach Israel about God and His worship?
  2. What changes did the coming of Jesus bring? See 1 Peter 1:14-16 and Ephesians 4:22-24.
  3. How did Jesus show that the distinctions between clean and unclean food are no longer binding? See Mark 7:14-23.
  4. What constitutes defilement in God’s sight?
  5. Did the mere fact of a child being born a Jew give that child a place in the covenant? See Leviti9cus 12:3, Deuteronomy 10:15-16 and Deuteronomy 30:6. How do the principles illustrated here apply today?

Priests as “Go-Betweens”   Leviticus 8-9; Hebrews 7:23-28 and 4:14-5:5   26th May

  1. Read Leviticus 8. Why do you think the arrangements for the “ordination” of Aaron and his sons as priests are so elaborate and detailed. What types of sacrifices are offered in this ritual and what is their purpose? What is Moses’ role in all of this?
  2. Read Leviticus 9:1-17. What offerings do the priests have to make before they intercede with offerings for the people? What is different about the way these two categories of offerings are made and what do you think explains this?
  3. In Leviticus 9:18ff a fellowship offering is made. Why is this a fitting climax to the work of Aaron and his sons on this day?  What would they and the community do after this offering?  How is God’s acceptance of the work of these offerings shown?  Why do you think this is important?
  4. One major difference between protestants and Roman Catholics since the reformation has been the understanding of the role of the priest in the church, and in particular – his role in the Lord’s supper.  Roman Catholic Church teaching (put simply) is that the Priest offers the body and blood of Jesus as a sacrifice during the Mass. The protestant understanding (again simplified) is that Jesus offered himself once for all as the one true sacrifice for sin and that the priest does not “re-sacrifice” Jesus.  Read Hebrews 7:23 – 28 and 4:14-5:5 and discuss which of the two views outlined here fits best with these passages.
  5. How would you help a friend who thinks that they need a priest or minister as their “go-between” with God – and that without a priest or minister God will not hear their prayers? How would you explain the difference between the role of  priests in Old Testament Israel and the New Testament church?  What makes the difference?

Sacrifices of Thanksgiving   Leviticus 2,3 & 7   19th May

  1. Read Leviticus 2 and note any general principles this chapter teaches and/or illustrates about our relationship with God.
  2. The “Fellowship” offering of Leviticus 3 could also be called a “Peace” offering or a “Thanksgiving” offering. What do each of these terms teach us about our response to God? How can we help each other to develop a regular habit of thankfulness to God?
  3. What does the all-encompassing nature of the sacrificial system teach us about how we should think of our relationship with God?
  4. Read Romans 12:1-8. Why does Paul use the language of sacrifice here? How does this help us to shape our “whole-of-life” response?
  5. How would you respond to a friend who says – “ I do my religion at church on Sundays. I don’t see my faith has any bearing on the rest of my week.”?
  6. Leviticus 7 provides food for the Priests from the offerings. Imagine your group is a committee given the task of reviewing stipends paid to church staff in our diocese. What biblical principles would you use to do this?
    See also 1 Corinthians 9:1-14  and 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

Sacrifices for Sin and Guilt 
  Leviticus 4-7 
  12th May

Read Leviticus 5:14-19

  1. How might the Israelites have been unfaithful to God?  Is it any different from how we are unfaithful to God?
  2. How can you come to realize your sin and guilt, even if you don’t know what you have done?
  3. What does restitution involve for the Israelites? What does it look like for us? What is the difference between the Israelites personal relationship with God and ours?
  4. How would your life change if you lived under this sacrificial system? How would it change your relationship to others?

Approaching the Holy God    
Exodus 19:1 – 20:2
    5th May

Read Exodus 19

  1. What is the nature of the elaborate preparations the Israelites have to make before they meet with God? Why do you think this meeting was so dangerous?
  2. Deuteronomy 4:24 says “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God”. See also Exodus 20:5 and Hebrews 12:29. From these verses in their context what does the Bible mean when it says God is jealous? What is he jealous for? What is the difference between divine and mere human jealousy? What are the implications of this truth from each of these verses (in their context)? Read Exodus 32 to see the outworking of God’s jealousy.
  3. Hebrews 12:18-24 says that meeting with God now is very different from the Exodus meeting. What has made the difference?
  4. How would you respond to two friends  – one who says “God will forgive me, no matter what I do” and the other who says “I’m afraid of God’s judgment because I fail to measure up to his standards every day”? Are your answers consistent or contradictory?
  5. In the light of what we know of God’s character, what principles could we use to assess whether St Anne’s should participate in a “Multi Faith” service for the City of Ryde?