A lot of this week was spent in Leviticus. Leviticus can be one of those books of the Bible that is difficult to get through. Verse after verse on rituals and laws can make your eyes glaze over a bit, wondering how any of it relates to us today. But in the midst of all these details, there is beauty.
s – “For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel through all their journeys.” (Exodus 40:38)
“If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD.” (Leviticus 1:3)
“You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the LORD has spoken to them by Moses.” (Leviticus 10:10-11)
“Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2)
o – Leviticus lays out many of the laws for the people of Israel. It explains how they are to live before God and alongside one another. Many of the chapters detail the different types of sacrifices and burnt offerings the Israelites must bring to atone for their sins and the consequences (in the case of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10) if these instructions are not followed.
At first glance, to those of us living on this side of the cross, these commands can seem tedious or excessive. The reality, though, is that God was providing a way for His people to atone for their sins. God wants to be near His people. The final chapter of Exodus talks about how He filled the tabernacle throughout all of the Israelites’ journeys. Yet God is holy and cannot be in the presence of sin, so He had to provide a way to cover the sins of the Israelites. While these sacrifices and burnt offerings were only a temporary solution, they do foreshadow the ultimate sacrifice through Jesus’ death and resurrection, which fulfilled the Law.
a – Anytime I have read Leviticus there are two things that stand out to me: God’s holiness and my own unholiness. If God were not holy, there would be no need for a book full of laws to teach the Israelites about holiness or the need for sacrifices to atone for all the ways they had failed to live up to God’s standard of holiness.
We get to live in the knowledge that this was only a temporary solution and rest in God’s grace through Jesus. So while we don’t have to go out and find an unblemished bull or a turtledove, let’s avoid the temptation to write this book off as irrelevant.
Instead let’s spend time praising God for His holiness and righteousness.
p – God, we praise you for who you are. You are holy, yet you still desire to be near us in our lack of holiness. Thank you that through Jesus you have provided a way for us to approach your throne and to know you. Thank you for the forgiveness and grace we can freely live in. Help us to not forget the significance of this gift. Amen.