You are to slaughter the young bull before the Lord , and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting. You are to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces. The sons of Aaron the priest are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar. You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord . “ ‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the flock, from either the sheep or the goats, you are to offer a male without defect. You are to slaughter it at the north side of the altar before the Lord , and Aaron’s sons the priests shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar. You are to cut it into pieces, and the priest shall arrange them, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar. You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to bring all of them and burn them on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. – Leviticus 1:5-13
This is one of those “bitter water” verses that it is hard to wade through, and even harder to tap deeper truths from. It feels very different from the wells and springs of living water that God has been sharing with me over the last several months. What deep meaning can I glean from washing animal guts and legs in water? Maybe nothing….perhaps there are times in our lives when we just have to do something because God asks us to do it. Kind of like “taking out the garbage”. It needs to be done, no one really likes to do it, and most of us would admit to the occasional grumble when we are doing it. Then again maybe God has a “hidden well” for me here in the desert.
Are there things in our spiritual lives and our lives as Christians that are somewhat like washing entrails and animal legs? Things that we do just because God told us to do them. Investing time and energy in messy relationships and people comes to mind. Also some of the more mundane work of the church can seem hard and laborious at times. I have to admit that there have been times when I was sitting through the fourth hour of a session meeting at church that it felt a lot like “taking out the garbage”. In fact reflecting on this passage feels that way a bit too…but hang in there I think God has revealed a hidden well.
The somewhat tricky part about obeying God is being sure that God is calling us to do something in the first place, especially if the thing we are being called to do seems a bit crazy — like “washing entrails and animal legs”. I can almost hear Aaron and his sons asking Moses “you want me to do what with the animal guts….are you sure…let’s pray about that again.” So how do we know the difference between God’s spirit directing us to step out of our comfort zone and something we are doing for self interest or to please others? I think we need to develop and exercise our discernment skills — our “spiritual whiskers” so we can sense the subtle leading of the Holy Spirit. It also helps to seek out the wisdom and discernment of others Christians to make sure we are not headed off into “left field” or just plain crazy:)
Prayer: Lord help me to discern your will and do the things you call me to do, even when the task seems hard and messy.SDG