In this year's "read through the Bible," I am currently in Leviticus. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus...this is about the point that so many folks throw in the towel. It can be very difficult to come back day after day and read description after description of how to kill this goat and where to kill that bull and what to do with the blood from those two pigeons and...
Last Friday, I was feeling weary and discouraged. As I sat down to begin my morning reading, I prayed, "Really, God? Do you really have anything to teach me today from Leviticus? From all these Old Testament laws about burnt offerings and grain offerings and peace offerings and sin offerings? How on earth can I possibly glean any nourishment or encouragement from all these rules and regulations?!"
You know what? God did meet me in the early chapters of Leviticus, and He encouraged me. As I was reading through verse after verse of tedious details about sacrifices, it occurred to me: God cares very much about seemingly insignificant things. He notices and cares about every single little detail.
The same God who spelled out all the precise details of how to make a sin offering - that same God is aware of and attentive to even the teeniest details of my life and faith and struggles and needs. That realization encouraged me very greatly indeed!
This morning, further along in Leviticus, I was reading in chapter 21 about holiness and the priests. God was giving very specific instructions about what the priests could and could not do. An interesting phrase is repeated over and over in this section of Leviticus, as God commands his people to live holy, set apart lives: "I am the LORD who sanctifies you."
Now, it might be tempting to think Scripture is teaching us that if the priests did just what God told them, that was what would make them holy. But that's not what we see in this passage. No, quite the contrary. God makes his people holy - He sets them apart. And He sanctifies them. And because they are set apart, and because God sanctifies them, they are called to live lives characterized by righteousness, purity, and faithfulness to God. God - not the priests (nor us, his "royal priesthood" today) - God himself does something amazing that works in us to produce changed lives. Again, here in the tedious book of Leviticus, I found great encouragement!
In chapter 23, I read this morning about the feast days that God instituted for his people. Again, something strange kept popping up. As God lays out the rules for each particular holy day, over and over He says: "You shall not do any work....You shall do no ordinary work....You shall not do any work." Odd, isn't it, that when we want to enter into the presence of God, to stand before his holiness, we want to work. To do something. And yet God commands us: DO NOT WORK! He is so serious about this that He declares He will destroy anyone who violates this command. Against all my desires to work in order to earn an audience with God, He commands me to do quite the opposite: He commands me to REST.
So, if you, like me, are chugging slowly through Leviticus - all those tedious passages about skin diseases, and body fluids, and how many goats to sacrifice on which day and exactly where they are to be killed - be encouraged. Be GREATLY encouraged. God is all about the details. God saves and sanctifies his people. God commands his people to rest.
This tedious book of Leviticus? Turns out, it's not tedious after all!
2 months ago