“Purify Yourself Before The LORD!”(Lev.15:1-5&15-19).
As a scholar and researcher in African Traditional Religions and African Theology we look for commonalities between gospel and culture; in search of openings through which we can convert mindsets from old belief systems that are no longer relevant in the light of the gospel of Christ.
When the times were good it was the joy of sons and daughters of Bali Nyonga as they anticipated the next Lela festival. The Lela festival was/is an opportunity for socializing and the best time for tourism. Beyond socializing, partying and dancing, the Lela festival is a religious festival. On the first day of the festival(Ntshu Suh Fu) the priests of Lela offer sacrifice to God seeking his good will, blessings, fertility and protection of the people and the land.
From the first day as the Lela is to begin, all the Lela priests leave their homes and relocate to the palace where they sleep in a kind of dormitory. These priests purify themselves before handling the holy things of Lela. To maintain that purity they have to leave the comforts of their beds and families until the festival is over.
This is how much purification is to the priests of a local deity.
For Israel the day of Atonement was one such day in which Aaron was to offer sacrifices to the LORD for the sins of the Israelites.
Apart from its historical importance, the day of Atonement should be one of the Old Testament passages that should not bear importance to followers of Christ Jesus. The day of Atonement happened yearly and the priest offered the sin offering for the peoole. Jesus Christ did the same with his blood once and for all times.
The importance of this passage is the lesson on the purification of those who stand the gap between God and the people.
The sanctuary is the place of God where he comes to meet his people during a worship service. Aaron knew better. He had just lost two sons because “they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. So fire came out of the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD”(Lev.10:1-2f).
Aaron was to be dressed in a special way before entering the Most Holy Place for the purification offering.
To this day, we the ministers, elders, deacons, readers and all who Mount the sanctuaries of the Most High should purify ourselves before touching holy things.
When Aaron’s two sons died Moses told Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: ‘Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored'”(Lev. 10:3).
Dear friend, is there any time when it seems to you that your prayers were not answered? Did you purify yourself before approaching the Throne of God’s Grace!
God has redeemed us with the blood of his Son once and for all. In return for what the LORD has done for us through Christ, all he wants from us is to lift up only holy hands to Him. God is not asking for too much. He asks us to confess our sins before entering his presence. May we learn from the priests of Lela what it means to purify ourselves before coming into the presence of our God!
Prayer: Purify us O LORD and in your mercy hear our prayers. Amen!
Have a blessed day! Peace be with you!
Prayer point: Pray for spiritual revival.
Rev Babila Fochang.