Alright … I love Leviticus.
Bet you weren’t expecting that first line in a blog post from this cup-is-always-half-full girl.
Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment, or maybe—more than ever before—God’s living and active word is making what used to be the most unappetizing pieces of Scripture vibrant and life giving. I’m going to camp out on the latter.
It’s true. I love Leviticus. And here are three reasons why.
It teaches me about God’s holiness
I have no idea how many times I underlined the words “holy,” “unblemished,” “fine,” and “pure” in the last few months … but I can guarantee you it was a ton (and I’m sure there’s some sweet seminary-savvy technology that can tell you just how many times you can find these words in the 27 chapters of this book).
The point is that God is perfectly holy, and nothing but holiness can be in His presence. Take it from Aaron’s sons who learned this the hard way.
Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Moses then said to 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.’” –Leviticus 10:1-3
It teaches me about God’s right rule
Although I’m not smart enough to understand or remember the historical significance of the sacrifices and commands in Leviticus, these texts certainly tuned me to a greater understand of God’s right rule.
The things He asks of us are meant to give life, not burden.
When we follow God’s right rule, it goes well with us.
“For I am commanding you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and multiply, and the Lord your God may bless you in the land you are entering to possess.” –Deuteronomy 30:16
And throughout Leviticus, God reminds the Israelites of His goodness when He gives them a command. We can trust Him because of His spotless resume.
“Do not make idols for yourselves, set up a carved image or sacred pillar for yourselves, or place a sculpted stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am Yahweh your God. You must keep My Sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am Yahweh. If you follow My statutes and faithfully observe My commands […] I will turn to you, make you fruitful and multiply you, and confirm My covenant with you. You will eat the old grain of the previous year and will clear out the old to make room for the new. I will place My residence among you, and I will not reject you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people. I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, so that you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to live in freedom.” –Leviticus 26:1-3, 9-13
It teaches me about God’s mercy
I think this one is my favorite.
Right after God declares the incredible benefits of walking in His ways, He warns the Israelites of the outcome of disobedience. And y’all, it’s pretty gnarly.
Then God plants a great big but in the middle of the chapter.
“But if they will confess their sin and the sin of their fathers—their unfaithfulness that they practiced against Me, and how they acted with hostility toward Me, and I acted with hostility toward them and brought them into the land of their enemies—and if their uncircumcised hearts will be humbled, and if they will pay the penalty for their sin, then I will remember My covenant with Jacob. I will also remember My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham […] I will not reject or abhor them so as to destroy them and break My covenant with them, since I am Yahweh their God. For their sake I will remember the covenant with their fathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God; I am Yahweh.” –Leviticus 26:40-42, 44-46
Man, the Israelites certainly don’t deserve this measure of mercy. And neither do I … but God keeps His promises. In His goodness He grants each of us mercy despite our failures when we humbly confess our disobedience.
Here’s what Leviticus—and the entire Bible—is pointing to: Jesus.
The sacrifices and extreme demands of righteousness before the Father can only be fulfilled by One who remains untarnished by the world. And that’s Jesus.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).