As most of you probably know, my 2018 Bible reading plan calls for me to read each book of the Bible in one sitting. You can find my thoughts on Genesis and Exodus in previous posts. This week I would like to share with you some of the thoughts I had when I sat down and read the book of Leviticus. Most Christians seem to hate this book. I will admit, it was never my favorite either, but I think that’s because I was looking at it all wrong.
Leviticus is a strange book, especially to our ears. There is a lot of talk about blood, fat, and entrails. Most Christians speed-read through Leviticus and say, when they are finished, “I’m so glad we don’t live under Old Testament law anymore.” When I read Leviticus in one sitting, I thought to myself, “I wish people would stop saying that.” That’s really not how we should feel when we read this book.
1. God is holy.
I think most of us have the wrong idea about the word “holy.” We tend to think it means “morally good.” We assume when someone says, “God is holy,” it means God is really, really good. God certainly is good, but that’s not what “holy” means.
When we say, “God is holy” it means, “God is otherly.” It means He is totally, completely, and fundamentally different than anyone or anything else. He is one-of-a-kind. He is Himself and no other is like Him.
2. God desires closeness.
It may be hard for us to see the big picture, through all the blood and guts, but this book is about God wanting to dwell with His chosen people, Israel. He wants to be in close proximity to them. He wants to live right there in their camp.
Isn’t that beautiful and amazing? The God of heaven wants to live in a tent, so He can be close to His people.
3. God is both good and dangerous.
There is, however, one problem with God dwelling with His people. The problem is that God is holy and people are…well…people. When people – in their unclean state – come into the presence of a holy God, they die. In love, God put a separation between Himself and people so they don’t immediately die.
But God loves His people too much to allow them to remain estranged from Him. He put the Levitical system in place to make Israel incrementally clean, so He could dwell in their presence.
4. The whole book points forward to Jesus.
There is so much more I could say about Leviticus, but I will close simply by rejoicing in the fact that the whole book points forward to Jesus. He is our perfect High Priest, who has come to make us permanently clean by offering Himself, once and for all. As a result, through Jesus, God can take up His residence with us and in us.
God has always wanted to live with His people in harmony. The Levitical system was a temporary measure, but Jesus came to offer Himself in love as the permanent solution.
If you’re interested, I’m actually teaching a class on Leviticus, entitled, “Holy God.” You can hear the audio from that class by clicking here.
I love you and God loves you,