Discipline is not a strength of mine. I have started at least 9 journals in my lifetime, and maybe gotten to page 3 in each. I build grandiose plans in my head for a house cleaning schedule, and then barely do the dishes each day.
And my whole life I’ve struggled to consistently read the Bible. I even got a cool app with a Bible reading plan! Let’s just say I’ve had to catch up my reading plan at least 10 times now.
Despite my lack of self-discipline, I have made it to Leviticus in my reading plan. Hooray!
Some describe Leviticus as the obstacle for all earnest efforts to read through the Bible.
I’ve known a couple of folks who read Genesis and Exodus without an issue, but stop cold in Leviticus because:
It has too many rules.
It has nothing to do with my life today.
I have to admit that I had these thoughts each time I opened my Bible app to listen to another chapter. But as I traveled through Leviticus, I kept asking the question, “What can I learn about God?”
And you know what? I actually realized a couple of things:
God is a God of order.
God didn’t bring His people out of Egypt and then abandon them. He led them and set up a way of life for them. He knew His people needed guidelines now that they were on their own. He was very meticulous in how he described the laws to Moses. There was a clear system He wanted in place.
He sounds like a type AA personality! He is not a God of chaos, as some unbelievers would accuse. Read Leviticus and you’ll see an orderly God.
God LOVES His people
God wanted to be close to the Israelites. He loved them! However they couldn’t be in perfect union with their Creator because of their sin. The LORD is holy and detests sin (Psalm 5:4).
God had to make a way for His people to be in communion with Him, so He set up the sacrificial system…not as a way to control and make a bloody mess of animals and people…but as a great expression of love for those He desired. He not only desired restoration, but went out of His way to design a system for them. That’s like love with a cherry on top.
Jesus is all over Leviticus
The people of God had to sacrifice for each offense made against the LORD. Over and over again. Imagine how much blood and sacrifice that was!
The sacrifices point to the One great sacrifice of Jesus. He was the greatest offering that covered the sins of all time for all people. That’s a BIG sacrifice!
Further, the Day of Atonement as described in Leviticus dealt with the sins of all the people. The sacrificial blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies (a place only the high priest could go). Again, Jesus fulfills the Day of Atonement sacrifice and He acts as our high priest with His own blood. Now that’s a great high priest!
God set His people apart
God wanted His people to live differently than their neighbors. He had specific guidelines to set them apart as unique, as His chosen people.
The Israelites weren’t the only group of people practicing blood sacrifices. Surrounding communities practiced it as well. But there was a major difference: God commanded His people to sacrifice animals, NOT people. He never required children sacrifice (except for Isaac, which He stopped, and then provided a ram sacrifice). So while many around them were killing people to keep their gods happy, the Israelites found restoration with the one true God through animal offerings.
I walked away from Leviticus with a deeper understanding of God and His love. Sure, reading about all of the owls and lizards that were detestable got a little old; but seeing the God behind the rules was powerful. I realized I love the God of Leviticus (kinda silly since God is always the same God)!
I don’t have to worry that my life is a random chance of happenings because God is a God of order. I can loosen my grip on the fear that God doesn’t really love me because He intentionally made a way for me to be in forever with Him. And I can trust God’s Word because it is cohesive and continually points to Jesus.
And all of this from Leviticus! Go figure…now what does Numbers have in store for me…
Have you read Leviticus lately? What have you learned about God from Leviticus?