As I’ve been working through and meditating on Leviticus, looking at how God takes the symbolism of varied rituals which the Israelites were familiar with – but infuses them with new meaning I recorded this response to the end of chapter 14 after meditating on the typically arcane rituals of diagnosing varied rots and restoring purity to what became impure…
Once again many of the rituals, this one included, are echoes and remnants of the pagan cultures around them, but God strips them of their pagan lies and invests them with his truth. In other cultures the birds are sent to the underworld in order to appease the chthonic deities. But it is not so in Israel. God always recaptures the symbolism and directs the attention to Himself. He is the one who strikes down and the one who heals. The impurity present is not sin, but is symbolic – a teaching lesson that men might see in the common before them, the uncommon (but oft unseen in this world) horror of sinning against God.
In many of these procedures, rites, and rituals God always takes back the honor and the glory that is rightfully His and he does it by using what His people can understand. God stoops to reinvest new-sacred meaning into fallen forms. God stoops to display his glory in familiar imagery because we have no capacity to conceive of the unfamiliar. It is not that these fallen forms have in themselves truth, but that God is able to take garbage and make glory for himself. (Rom 8:28).
We must consider, how it may be, that we who are made in God’s image can take the familiar symbols and portrayals of culture, strip them of their lies and invest them with God’s truth in order to display the glory of God to a people wholly unequipped to perceive it. We must not deign to cheapen God in the process, but we who know Christ can feel free to dismantle the methods and procedures of the world of deception and to reassemble them with His glory.
Make movies tell of his glory.
Make books tell of his glory.
Make radio tell of his glory.
Make songs tell of his glory.
Make television tell of his glory.
Make the internet tell of his glory.
Take the fallen forms, rip out the lies, and embed the truth plainly in its reconstruction.
Take it back.