As we continue in our Chronological reading this week, we enter into some portions of the Bible that may be described as heavy sledding. The sacrificial and covenant language, along with the myriad amount of laws and commands, makes Leviticus one of the most difficult books for the modern reader to appreciate. I joked this weekend that more one-year Bible reading plans have died in the desert than anywhere else!
I encourage you, though, to read carefully and to persevere. While some of these texts may feel a bit dry, hidden within them are some great nuggets of truth. Additionally, a basic understanding of the Old Testament law will make other parts of Scripture come to life. The rebukes of God through the prophets make much more sense when we understand the backdrop of a neglected sacrificial system. The significance of Christ's statements and activities take on more depth when the OT context is known. The book of Hebrews jumps to life when the source material of Leviticus is kept in view. So take heart, read on, and allow God to direct your thoughts.
It may be helpful to see Leviticus in four main parts: The Sacrificial Laws (ch. 1-7), the Priestly Beginnings (ch. 8-10), the Purification Laws (ch. 11-16) and the Holiness Code (ch. 17-27). These four movements of the book all center around one pivotal theme: God is holy. In many ways, Leviticus 11:45 serves as the theme verse of everything else, "For I the Lord am the One who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy." It would be an understatement to say that holiness is a big deal to God!
As we come to grips with the extreme requirements of God's holy standard, we can begin to appreciate the significance of Christ's sacrifice for us. Jesus has imparted to us his perfect holiness, so that we can stand before the Almighty God without spot, blemish or defect. God's holiness standards have not changed one bit since the book of Leviticus. The method of becoming holy, however, has changed completely. How awesome is that? I am so glad today to be clinging to Christ, and not headed out to sacrifice some animals so I can be made clean.
May you also cling to Christ as you read Leviticus. Peace-