Abstinence and celibacy? Not cool, right???

Every now and then a bit of salacious gossip makes its way to my eyes and ears.

I’m no fan of either Russell Wilson or Ciara, but the latest revelation about their relationship and people’s response to it definitely got my attention.

I remember when Ciara first came out. Her first song was very catchy, and undoubtedly she is very pretty and a FANTASTIC dancer. Per the lyrics of the song, from what I recall, her “goodies” were going to stay in the jar (goodies=euphemism for lady bits, if you will. Basically she was talking about refraining from sex). The message of the song was definitely a respectable one… in one of the lyrics she even mentions how just because a guy has a nice car does not entitle him to her “goodies”.

Not too long ago, Ciara hooked up with a rapper named Future who I know absolutely nothing about, as I am no longer a fan of rap music, and they had a son together. Well, let me go back. I do know something about Future–he has multiple children with multiple women. That’s the extent of my knowledge on him.

As for Russell Wilson, all I know is he is a football player who was married for about two years. I can say that I have not heard much about him that is overtly negative. As far as I know, he hasn’t been videoed punching women or anything.

Anyway, these two, very attractive and talented individuals have decided not to have sex before marriage. And boy, do people have faulty opinions about their decision.

I applaud it. Some people say it makes no sense for these two to abstain when neither of them are virgins. Perhaps they realized the error of their former ways and have decided not to repeat previous mistakes. Either way it goes, instead of people supporting this declaration and thus putting it out there to younger people that waiting until marriage is the way to go, people have been clowning these two. It is not surprising, but disturbing.

I hope these two stick to their guns. They’ll be better for it in the long run. I have said it before and I have said it again–I wouldn’t take anything for my journey at this point because I am able to use my failures and mistakes to educate my young counterparts, but I would have loved to be able to experience sexual intimacy with my husband and my husband only. Society is failing young people by acting like sex is akin to eating or breathing. It is not a necessity for survival! The moral degradation of society is real. SMH.

I must also comment on another story that bothered me. Here is the link:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/texas-mom-arrested-after-children-drowned/

Briefly, a Black woman had taken her kids to a swimming pool, which is inexplicable considering that she later admitted they couldn’t swim. Apparently she got distracted by her phone and did not notice when her kids drowned.

I am going to refrain from scolding this woman, because I assume the loss of multiple children is punishment enough. I have seen the dangers of these Smartphones and Ipads even at my job, where mothers check out on their children in the waiting room, barely noticing as they put those disgusting toys in their mouths, fall and hit their heads, etc. Moms only look up when the kid starts crying for whatever reason, and typically have no idea what has just happened–whatever was going on in their cell phone world (Candy Crush? Online shopping? Lumosity?) was too important for Mom to care about little old Susie. I see it at Chuck E Cheese and play areas in shopping malls. Parents use those avenues as baby-sitters and get lost in cell phone world. I’m sorry, but just because your kid is in a kid-friendly area doesn’t mean they don’t still need supervision.

As for this mother, Patricia Allen, and her story, another concern of mine came to mind. Black people, we need to get our kids in the water and teach them how to swim. All of these drownings of Black children is inexcusable at this point. Black kids drown in pools at higher rates than other children. There is no tide pulling them anywhere, no deep water. Our kids simply are not being taught how to swim, and it is pathetic. Mom and Dad, if you absolutely cannot find the time or do not want to get your hair wet (sarcasm here folks, because I do not think these are okay excuses for failing to teach your kids a necessary survival skill), then put them in a program that will teach them.

As for Leviticus…

Chapter 6 begins with more instructions regarding offerings. Notice that in the first through fourth verses of this chapter, God says “If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the Lord by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor, or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit–when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, or whatever it was they swore falsely about”. The key concept here that we must always be aware of that when we sin, it is FIRST an offense against God, and secondly an offense against whomever we wronged. God is the author of all things holy, so when we do what opposes him, then we have wronged him. Perhaps if we always considered a wrongdoing as an offense against God and punishable by God, we would take our behavior more seriously.

In addition to returning any lost property restitution has to be made plus some. A guilt offering must also be made to the priest in the form of a blemish-free ram.

This is followed by instructions for the burnt offering. These instructions are to be given to Aaron and his sons. A burnt offering is to remain on the altar overnight with the fire burning the entire time. This process involves a change of clothing at the hands of the priest (he has to wear a linen garment while removing the ashes of the burnt offering, and then change into other clothes to carry out the rest of the ceremony). Each morning the priest is charged with adding firewood and arranging it on the altar. The fire must be kept burning continuously.

Next we move into the grain offering. Again, this offering consists of the finest flour and olive oil and incense. Aaron and his sons are allowed to eat some of this offering. It must be without yeast. Any male descendant of Aaron can eat of this offering. The Lord says “For all generations to come it is his perpetual share of the food offerings presented to the Lord” (v. 18). The other eleven tribes supported the Levites in exchange for their work. The priests did not collect salaries or charge fees for performing the sacrifices. Their job was important enough–they did not need to also be bogged down with having to eke out their survival. Even today, we should support our spiritual leaders. They have a difficult job, particularly in this increasingly wicked society.

Specifically, the grain offering is to consist of a tenth of an ephah of fine flour (an ephah is the equivalent of one bushel); half in the morning and half in the evening. It is to be prepared with oil on a griddle. This offering must be burned completely. None of it can be consumed by any of the priests.

Next up is the sin offering. Just like the burnt offering, the sin offering is to be slaughtered before the Lord. The priest and any male in the priest’s family can eat this offering. However, if the blood of the sin offering is brought into tent of meeting so as to make atonement for sins, the sacrifice cannot be eaten. It must be burnt up.

Chapter 7 offers further instructions for guilt offerings and fellowship offerings. As for the fellowship offering, there were three kinds, depending on the purpose of the person offering the sacrifice. There were thankfulness or thanksgiving offerings, vow offerings and freewill offerings. Thanksgiving offerings are fairly self-explanatory. Vow offerings were given when a vow was fulfilled, and freewill offerings required no special occasion. For the first of these fellowship offerings, the offferer (technically not a word, I don’t think, but flow with me) was to also include thick loaves with olive oil minus yeast. For vow or freewill offerings, the rule of the loaves does not apply. While the sacrificial meats of the thanksgiving offering must be eaten the same day, the sacrifices from the other two offerings can be eaten up to the second day after it was sacrificed. If any of the meat from those offerings is eaten beyond two days, the sacrifice will not be accepted.

Meat that has become ceremonially unclean cannot be eaten–it must be burned up. Clean meat can be eaten by anyone who is ceremonially clean. However, if someone is considered unclean and partakes of the meat of the fellowship offering, this is a serious offense punishable by being cut off from the people. Awhile ago, I thought these rules and regulations were extremely tedious. But they do, in fact, point to the holiness of God, and how he MUST remain separate from what is unclean and impure.

Moving right along, God then touches on eating the fat and blood. Fat is considered the best part of the animal, so it makes sense that one would give God the best of the offerings. The fat of the sacrificed animal is not to be eaten by the Israelites, and anyone who does so is to be cut off from their people. Eating the blood of any animal is also prohibited, because in the blood there is life. God is the giver of life, so blood was not to be consumed by the people. Never mind how eating blood is disgusting 🙂

I wonder what “cut off from their people means”. Is this a temporary banishment or permanent? Is it death? It interests me that the specific punishment is not spelled out here. I assume Moses and the priests knew what God wanted. I also found it interesting that the penalty was the same for eating the fat and for eating blood–being cut off. Different sins, but assigned the same level of severity. Just another example of how God is no respecter of sins, if you will. Sins don’t vary in their degree. One is not worse than another in God’s eyes (with the exception of the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ that can send you to Hell). A little white lie is as much a sin as a big whopper of a lie, for example. Wrong is wrong, and wrong is subject to punishment. However, there are some sins that have more ramifications than others. So although all sins are the same in that they all open the sinner up to God’s punishment (which, of course, is designed to correct us and bring us back onto the right path), but there are certain sinful instances which bring about more calamity than others.

Quick example:

Objective measure

It’s a question I assume all boyfriends and husbands hate. I am not sure why women even ASK their significant other about their appearance because nine times out of ten, women don’t want an honest answer unless it is a positive one. (I am in the minority. I want to know when I look a mess).

In the above scenario, the husband thought what he really wanted to say, but was not truthful in terms of what he actually thought. Let’s take out the fact that beauty is subjective here, and just assume that for all intents and purposes, yes, those stripes absolutely made the wifey look fat, and therefore the husband just told her a lie. But who did the lie hurt, really?

On the flip side, certain sins can cause the downfall of many. I promise I will move on after a few days or weeks, but we need to look no further than to our government to see how their immorality is affecting our nation. The SCOTUS did not think of anything other than misinterpreting a man-made document (the Constitution), and since church and state are to be separate, they probably felt their recent decision was the right thing to do. However, this decision will negatively affect a ton of people. In this instance, the failure to adhere to God’s Word has a larger negative affect than telling a “white” lie.

The Lord discusses the priests’ shares with Moses. Again, the priests are to be cared and provided for by the other eleven tribes. Here, beginning at verse 30,  we see the concept of a wave offering. Certain parts of the sacrifice–the breast and the fat–are to comprise the wave offering. Just as it says, these portions are to be waved in front of the altar, symbolic of the offering being given to God and then handed back (think of the wave motion). The priests get to eat the breasts (but not the fat, of course) and the right thigh.

In Chapter 8 we move on to instructions for the priests. We begin with the formal ordination of Aaron and his sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. They are to be brought, along with their priestly garments and the specially prepared anointing oil for which preparation instructions had been given in Exodus, a bull for a sin offering, two rams and a basket of bread without yeast, and the entire Israelite congregation to the entrance of the tent of meeting. Thus begins the ordination ceremony, which stretches throughout this chapter. Aaron and Co. are washed with water (of course they had to be clean before moving forward) and Aaron is dressed in his garments. Moses anoints the tabernacle with the oil and sprinkles some of it on the altar seven times (that good ol’ number 7 again, the number of completion). After anointing all of the items associated with the tabernacle, the anointing oil is then poured on Aaron’s head, setting him aside for service for the Lord. Aaron’s sons are then brought forward and dressed in their tunics, sashes and caps. The bull is sacrificed as a sin offering with Aaron’s and his son’s hands on the bull’s head. The rest of the sacrifice is done according to the instructions God has already given Moses–some of the blood is smeared on the horns of the altar, the fat and other innards are burned on the altar, and the remaining portion of the bull is burned outside the camp. The ram is then presented as a burnt offering, followed by a ram for the ordination offering.

During the ordination offering, Moses takes some of the ram’s blood and puts it on Aaron’s right ear lobe and right thumb and does the same to Aaron’s sons. I wondered how this was significant. Certain scholars have said that this symbolized that Aaron and his sons had crossed over from being regular private citizens into their holy calling. Their ears would hear the needs of the people, they would use their hands to respond with their service, and their feet would propel them in their daily walk with God.

Moses sprinkles some of the anointing oil and blood over Aaron and his garments and his sons and their garments, and they were consecrated. Moses then instructs them to cook the sacrificial meat according to how God wants it done–at the entrance to the tent of meeting, eaten there with the bread from the ordination offering. They are to stay there seven days, upon which their ordination will be complete. Aaron and Co. do as told.

In chapter 9, the priests begin their service to God. It is now the eighth day, and their ministry begins with offerings. Moses tells them, “today the Lord will appear to you” (v. 4). Aaron is to take a bull calf for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, and the people of Israel are to take a male goat for their sin offering, a calf and a lamb, both a year old without defect, as a burnt offering, an ox and a ram for a fellowship offering, and a grain offering mixed with olive oil.

Aaron offers up his first offerings (I wonder if he was nervous??). The following Scriptures show that Aaron and his sons go about the offerings exactly as the Lord has commanded them. Aaron then turns his attention to the offerings provided by the people. He then lifts his hands and blesses the people. Now that his first offerings are finished, he steps down. (I wonder if there was applause or was this a somber, super formal situation? Not important, I’m just curious).

The ceremony and the offerings have been accepted. God shows his approval when his glory appears to all the people. Again, the Israelites get to see a magnificent show of God’s power and majesty: “Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown” (v. 24). Time and time again the Israelites see confirmation that God is really working on their behalf. It amazes me, especially as I have been reading the minor prophecy books for Sunday school, that these very people continuously turned their backs on God.

Regardless of whether or not the atmosphere was celebratory or somber upon Aaron’s first successful completion of sacrifices, chapter ten brings about some gloom–and a lesson majorly learned the hard way. Perhaps feeling full of themselves (and not solely interested in how their proper service glorified God), Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu take their censers, put fire in them and add incense, offering unauthorized fire before the Lord. Fire immediately comes out from the presence of the Lord and consumes them (I’ll bet they were pretty surprised). In my opinion, I see another example of Israelite stubborness. God had JUST finished giving Aaron and his sons very specific details on what they were supposed to do, so this disrespect was inexplicable.

God puts who he wants in certain offices. If the man he installs as pastor of a church, for example, goes astray, God can and should knock him off his high horse. God doesn’t have to tolerate disrespect, nor should he, specifically from the leaders he has appointed. Some may see the punishment of death as being harsh. God has to set the tone and let these people know how serious he really is. He says “Among those who approach me I will be proved holy, in the sight of all the people I will be honored” (v. 3). Translation? “I will not be disrespected!”

Interestingly enough, Moses instructs Nadab’s and Abihu’s cousins to take their bodies outside of the camp. It appears no time passes before Moses gets right back to business. I don’t even know if Aaron had time to mourn. The Word does say that he “remains silent”, perhaps in quiet acknowledgement that what God did was just. Moses directs his next statements to Aaron’s two surviving sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, who undoubtedly are shaking in their boots (and making mental notes of what NEVER to do). They are told to never let their hair become unkempt or their clothes be torn, or they will die and the Lord will be angry with the entire community. Saying that the Lord would be angry with the entire community if the priests did become unkempt was interesting. Again, it seems to point to the concept of the entire nation being responsible for the well-being of their priests, and the priests have to make sure they are presentable for the Lord.

Aaron and his sons are prohibited from drinking alcohol. This is fairly self-explanatory. I think anyone who has ever had even a slight buzz knows that they are not one hundred percent in control of their faculties when they’ve have one drink too many. Alcohol has no place in worship or living a Godly life, as it dulls our inhibitions. I think back to my own drunken nights, partying it up in the clubs. Nothing good ever came of it. At the time I thought I was having the time of my life, but now I realize I had no purpose at all and was completely useless for the Lord. That explains why I was “having fun” but still dissatisfied.

At the end of the day, Aaron and his sons are not to be like the rest of the people, just like we as Christians are not to blend in with the world today. The world today tells us we need to have a stiff drink when we get home after a long day at work to relax. Prayer does the trick. The world today tells us we need to drink to have a good time. I can stand as a living witness who has done both and tell you that I have had MORE fun without the alcohol. Why? Number one, I don’t have to feel bad about doing something I know God disapproves of. Second, I am safer without alcohol. Clearer minds make clearer decisions.

Hanging out in a nightclub drinking ten drinks getting molested by random losers and waking up hungover and out of forty bucks or hanging out with my husband doing absolutely nothingI’ll take my husband and nothing any day. I just enjoy his presence. We don’t have to do anything but stay inside our house, cook dinner and eat and talk. I can’t think of a single nightclub experience more titillating than the times I’ve shared with him.

I wouldn’t want to be single again if someone paid me, but that’s a different subject for a different day. The moral of my mini-story is, Christians have to live sanctified, set-apart lives. If we blend in with the world, how can we teach them a different way?

Moses tells Aaron and his remaining sons to eat the grain offering in the sanctuary area beside the altar as God commanded. Aaron’s sons and daughters are allowed to partake in the bread that was produced for the wave offering, as well as the thigh and breast. However, Moses becomes angry when he discovers that the goat of the sin offering had been burnt up but not eaten, and he asks Eleazar and Ithamar for an explanation. The two were not trying to be disobedient. They were shaken up by what had happened to their brothers and as such the condition of their hearts were probably not in an acceptable condition. This shows that God knows our hearts, and he and Moses accept this explanation.

In chapter 11 information is given as to what is considered clean versus unclean food. I will spare you all of the details–let me rephrase. I encourage you to read it yourself. I won’t repeat it here on this blog 😉 I do, however, like this image:

There is some speculation as to whether or not these rules still apply. Of course they were given directly to the Israelites as a part of their Law, and we know that our Lord and Savior fulfilled the Law. These Laws were designed for the purification and cleansing of God’s people. Our purification and cleansing is solidified by the blood of Jesus Christ. It is my interpretation of Scripture that these laws do not apply to Christians, but I have no problem with people who believe otherwise. Nor do I mind healthy debate. Consider the following Scriptures:

In chapter 7 of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus speaks about inner purity. He says:

“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions” (v. 8). He then says that “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by doing into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles him” (v. 14-15).

In this instance, Jesus is referring to those religious hypocrites who thought they were so holy and righteous because they refrained from unclean foods, all the while perverting God’s Word for their own benefit. We should be concerned about what we put into our bodies, and we all know that too much bacon is not good for you (but it’s mighty tasty, I tell you). But overall, the condition of our heart is more importance than our adherence to dietary laws.

Side bar–I was also amazed at the many named animals in these passages of Scripture. Several different types of owls and insects and creepy crawlies are discussed, for example. It reminds me that Adam had to be very clever to come up with names for all of these creatures.

If anyone came into contact with an unclean animal by touching their carcasses are to be considered unclean until the evening and must wash their clothes. If an unclean animal somehow falls on an object, that article is unclean and must be washed. If the object is a clay pot, it must be broken.Other regulations are given, and God concludes chapter 11 by reminding the people that “I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God, therefore be holy, because I am holy” (v. 45, in case they forgot who they were dealing with) “These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves about in the water and every creature that moves along the ground. You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creature that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten” (v. 46).

The concept of clean and unclean animals was actually introduced back in Genesis when God was giving instructions to Noah as to what animals came into the Ark. Check out Genesis 7:2:

“Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate…”

What the Bible does not say is how God decided which animals would be considered clean versus unclean, and I also don’t know how Noah knew which animals were clean and which ones weren’t. For whatever reasons, the Word does not specify. But yours truly is curious 🙂 The only explanation that makes sense to me is that clean animals provide for a more balanced diet than the unclean animals.

And now it has gotten late. More to come tomorrow!

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