"This part of the island is off limits. Don’t go down there…"

by Pastor John Eiselt

It’s hard to follow instructions, particularly when they are in conflict with your own desires.

We got off the plane in Maui and headed to the rental car desk. Jill and I were on our honeymoon. When asked what type of vehicle we wanted to rent, we chose a Jeep, of course. After all we were in Hawaii for crying out loud. 

As we began to sign the contract, the rental car agent began to explain some of the exclusions, gave us some directions, and gave us a few warnings.

He pulled out a map and pointed to where we were. He then proceeded to tell us about a few great day trips and helped us get our bearings with the map so that we could use it to guide our adventures.  

“This area of the island down here is off limits,” he stated. “Don’t go there. The road ends and there are sections of roadway that are impassable and other sections where there is no road at all.” He continued, “If you go down to this area of the island and have car trouble, get stuck, or in an accident, you are on your own, we will NOT come to get you.” 

After a few days of cruising around the island, we had driven almost the entire island. Naturally, we wanted to experience driving around the ENTIRE island. Jill reluctantly agreed after much coaxing, and we drove right passed the sign that said, “Pavement Ends.”

It’s a lot like that with God’s people in the wilderness. 

God gives them instructions on how to live in harmony with him and with one another. God’s desire is to be with his people and he even has them build an elaborate tent called the tabernacle so that he can dwell among them. 

Things go as they’ve gone before, and God’s people, continuing to go where he has instructed them not to go, continue to act in ways that defile their relationship with him, with each other, and with the land where they live.

But, unlike the rental car agent, our God is not God who says, “I won’t come get you.” In fact he’s quite the opposite. Not only will he come to find us, he has a plan to restore and reconcile us back to himself and to one another.

This weekend we’ll look at this plan as we step into the book of Leviticus. It’s a weird one, that’s for sure. For many of us it may seem off limits, but don’t dismay, we’ll discover the beauty of what God is up to in the pages of Leviticus.