Covered: Exodus 32-35; 40; Leviticus 8-9; 16-17
Not Covered: Exodus 36-39; Leviticus 1-7; 10-15
Scripture Memory: The Gospel: Christ Paid the Penalty – Romans 5:8 // 1 Peter 3:18
I know what you’re thinking: What! We have to skip Leviticus 1-7! Leviticus is my favorite! O, did I read your mind wrong? Sorry about that.
Leviticus gets a bad reputation. Every time people talk about why Bible reading plans are difficult, it’s usually by the time they get through the awesome and epic stories of Genesis and Exodus, and then have to make their way through all of the laws that seem so outdated, so cumbersome, so ancient, and don’t seem to have any relevance for us today. That’s why we’re all excited that we only have four days in Leviticus. Hooray!
But let’s not move too fast past all these laws. I had a friend tell me one time that we tend to read the Bible like a yearbook. What’s the first thing you did when you got your yearbook in school? That’s right, went right for your picture! You spent money on this huge book just so that you could have a record and a story to tell about how you fit into your school years. The yearbook was ultimately all about you. Sometimes, we take that same mindset into the Bible, and specifically, Leviticus. We simply do not see ourselves in Leviticus and don’t know how to relate to it, and we skip right past it.
Praise the Lord that we don’t have to follow all these laws anymore! Praise the Lord that Jesus fulfilled all those sacrificial rules so that we can be cleansed! But does that mean that there isn’t anything we can take from Leviticus?
Last week we read one of the most important verses in the Old Testament in my opinion. It was God’s purpose statement to Israel: “5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (Exodus 19:6)
What this is saying is that the law had a purpose beyond just “hey, do this and don’t do that.” God is telling the Israelites that if they keep this law, then they will serve as priests to all the nations that are around them. We don’t use the word priest very much around The Chapel, but it just means that they are to be intermediaries between God and people, in this case, all the other nations. As these people follow the law that God has given them, they are sending a message to the world about who their God is.
In a couple of weeks, we’ll read this verse in Deuteronomy 4:6: 6 “Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
This is what it looks like for the people of Israel to be priests. As they follow God’s law, God becomes known by all the other nations around them. All those laws in Leviticus that seem really weird or pointless to us are actually telling a story to the world at that time about who God was. The law actually pointed the world to a God that loved his people enough to give them such a great law (by everyone’s standard at the time).
So as you read through Leviticus over the four days that we are given, let it remind you that God speaks to people of every nation and every generation. These words showed the world 4,000 years ago that this God really is amazing. Those words don’t show us the same thing, but God spoke to us in a different way: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his son…” – Hebrews 1:1-2
God sent Jesus so that we would know how good He is. He sent Jesus to fulfill all these laws that we don’t understand so that through faith, we can come to Him, and by His blood, not by the blood of lambs and goats, we can be purified.
God has always been in the speaking business, and God has always wanted the whole world to know how good He is. Don’t look at Leviticus like a yearbook and skip past it because you can’t find yourself. Let it remind you that God loves you so much as to speak in a way you can understand just like he spoke in a way the people of generations past could understand.
Written by: Steve Elworth
Graphic Credit: Flaticon