“The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.”

Mike Stachura

TODAY’S READING: Leviticus 1–4

The book of Leviticus is named after the order of priests—Levi and sons. Exodus revealed that God appointed a priestly role to Israel as a nation, and Leviticus fleshes out what that means exactly.

It is thus richly significant that God confers on Israel as a whole people the role of being his priesthood in the midst of the nations. As the people of YHWH they would have the historical task of bringing the knowledge of God to the nations, and bringing the nations to the means of atonement with God. The Abrahamic task of being a means to blessing to the nations also put them in the role of priests in the midst of the nations. Just as it was the role of the priests to bless the Israelites, so it would be the role of Israel as a whole ultimately to be a blessing to the nations.[1]

In the mercy of the Lord there is provision for our unintentional sins. If a person (Lev. 4:2), whole congregation (v. 13), ruler (v. 22), or any of the common people (v. 27) sin because they were ignorant of one of God’s command, there is a path forward, a path that includes repentance and restitution. It is not uncommon for Christians who awaken to God’s great heart for unreached peoples, for missions, to feel guilt—guilt because they have not been functioning in their priestly role for the nations.

Many have served Jesus for years but have done so myopically, focused on their needs, their community, or their country. When the great missions heart of Father God bursts over us and we lift up our heads to the magnitude of unreached peoples in the world (some 7,000 unreached peoples, some 3.15 billion persons, roughly 42 percent of our world), we are first clouded with shame. We did not sin intentionally against God’s great heart and purpose, but we sinned all the same. We have been unknowingly selfish and ingrown. We have been unknowingly parochial, not global. We have been large in our own eyes and small towards God’s glory among all peoples. It is grace that teaches our heart to fear and grace that relieves our fears. When we awaken to the unintentional sin of neglecting God’s great missionary purposes for every unreached people, let us both repent and make restitution. Laying our lives on the altar of sacrifice for God to use in one way or another for His global glory among all peoples is a pleasing aroma to Him and the only acceptable way forward.

Chris Wright concludes: “The priesthood of the people of God is thus a missional function that stands in continuity with their Abrahamic election, and it affects the nations. Just as Israel’s priests were called and chosen to be the servants of God and his people, so Israel as a whole is called and chosen to be the servant of God and all peoples.”[2] Though the book of Leviticus was probably written in the short period of about six weeks between the completion of the tabernacle and the Israelites’ departure from Sinai (Exo. 40:17, Num. 10:11–12), it can seem like forever when wading through a reading of the laws and sacrifices. As you wade through Leviticus, do it with the joyful reminder that you spiritually are a priest and you stand in Abraham’s and Levi’s line with a two-fold task—to represent Jehovah to the nations and the nations to Jehovah. Read Leviticus prayerfully asking what the Lord of harvest requires you to sacrifice toward this great glory, the glory of God among Libyan Arabs and all unreached peoples.

[1] Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006. 331.

[2] Ibid. 331.

Prayer Focus: Libya (29 UPGs)

Today’s Unreached People Group: Arab, Libyan
Population: 1,841,000
Language: Arabic, Libyan Spoken
Primary Religion: Islam
Evangelical: 0.04%
Estimated Workers Needed: 37

[Source: Joshua Project]

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