What is your limit? Or, perhaps, who is your limit? Republicans? Democrats? Communists? Libertarians? Capitalists? Roman Catholics? The homeless? The hungry? A different skin color? A different nationality? A different religion? Neighbors? Friends? Family? Children? Spouse?
Relations and relationships are some of the biggest variables in human existence. One child may sacrifice everything to take care of their parent. Another child may do nothing at all. The driver of the car in front of you may give money to a panhandler, and you may not (a description, not a judgment).
For early and non-Western cultures, the family was a critical relationship. Not having a family was risky. The family was what defined and supported you. Unless that is, you were the High Priest of Israel.
Commentators come to different conclusions about what was meant by leaving the temple. Some commentators interpret verse 12 as only apply when family died to keep them safe from defilement. Other commentators propose that the High Priest never left, though none of those commentators could figure out ultimately how that worked.
Regardless, the COVID-era gave us an idea of the kind of sacrifice required by the High Priest. People lost loved ones they could never visit. Loved ones died and funerals and memorial services didn’t happen. Many people were angry, sad, and hurting for they lost the opportunity for closure. A taste of the High Priest’s sacrifice for us all.
It may be a stretch, but there is a similarity between the passage of Leviticus and 2 Corinthians; doing right in the eyes of God.
Paul definitely was concerned about “doing right” in the eyes of others. It was, though, secondary to doing right in the eyes of God. What is the point of being right in the eyes of men, if you will be wrong in the eyes of God? Of course, one has to be careful about that.
In our era, a person such as the High Priest would be looked down upon for abandoning his family to serve God in such a way. Granted, our understanding of things has somewhat changed, both in regards to family, priests, and ritual holiness. If we were to meet such a man today, we would probably think there was something wrong with him.
- Where have you found conflict in your life in pursuing God’s glory versus the acclaim of man?
- Have you experienced what you thought was following God’s plan and then discovered it was not?
Lord, help us to know your will. Holy Spirit, guide us to learn the right things before you and our fellow humanity. Amen.