It happens every year to me. I am in year 6 of reading through the Bible and every year I am privileged to read through the Old Testament book of Leviticus. At times, to be honest, I wonder, like I did the other morning, why do I have to read this stuff? Anyone else want to make the same confession? At times, Moses does get very monotonous and repetitive as the Law of God for Old Testament saints is codified. Is there anything for us who live on the other side of the cross of Jesus Christ?
We are introduced to the laws of burnt offerings, the laws of the Sabbath, the laws of how to deal with leprosy, etc. As we read through this material one thought stands out and is repeated,
“I am the Lord who redeemed you…” As well as, “Be holy, as I am holy, says the Lord….” In the midst of what kind of offering to bring, God reminds His people that they belong to Him. In fact, they owe their existence to His grace and His power.
The law may have seemed unfair and over the top to some. It may have seemed counter-cultural to others. But here is what I think, God was communicating to the people: “I called you to be mine. I called you to be a reflection of who I am, therefore live in a way that mirrors my character.” No matter how much they complained about it, they were under moral obligation to obey because of what God had done for them.
To those who walked with God on a daily basis, the law became the delight of their life. Joshua was counselled by God to meditate on the law day and night to be successful in his life of service (Joshua 1:8). David often times wrote about the law being the delight of the blessed person (Psalm 1). Those who long to worship God, readily obey what God says.
My theology professors would want me to point out that it is in the book of Leviticus where people could deal with their sin before a righteous and holy God. God extends his grace as people acknowledged that they had fallen short of His expectations. There was, and is, a way for us to be restored to God. Leviticus means nothing if Jesus Christ had not come as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. It is in Christ that the Old Testament sacrifices are validated (Luke 24:44). We therefore, read the book with one eye in this book and another on the coming King, who would give His life as a ransom for many.
As much as we may think that the Law is antiquated and nonsensical, it lays the foundation for the coming of the Son of God who would ultimately fulfill the Law (see the epistle to the Romans and Galatians). It is a reflection of God’s grace that extends mercy and grace to a sinful people.
“Be holy as I am holy…” (Lev. 19:2; 21:8;22:32) The command makes no sense if we try and become holy on our own, we cannot do it. We can become holy because Christ came to become sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
God is teaching me much through this Old Testament book. It is my prayer that I would always have a teachable spirit to learn and become what God desires of me. Would you join me in this school of lifelong learning?