A few thoughts on…Leviticus

This is the third edition of this series. You can find the first one on Genesis here, and the second one on Exodus, here.

Leviticus is God mostly speaking to Moses and telling him how He wants His people to love God with all their heart, mind and soul, and love their neighbor as themselves. The ESV Bible, in the introduction to Leviticus says, “The central message is that God is holy and he requires his people to be holy. But the book also shows that God graciously provides atonement for sin through the shedding of blood”.

There is a huge amount of blood in this book. This blood is necessary to cover  sin against a holy redeeming God. Here are some of the thoughts I had while reading:

Leviticus: God provides a way

1. If you think about it– sin is a disgusting thing. Ever been to a butcher shop? Have you smelled the salty, metallic scent of blood? It’s repulsive. If my sin deserves the shedding of blood, then it speaks about the cruelty and evil of sin against a pure and holy God. Leviticus is a good reminder that no sin is too small that doesn’t deserve death.

2. Still, the kind of sacrifice we find in Leviticus could not perfect the conscience of the worshiper. “The Mosaic sacrificial system brought neither sanctification of the soul  nor the fullness of God’s peace into the inner life of the worshiper.” (ESVSB) This is why Jesus’s perfect sacrifice was needed. 

3. God’s righteous character is comfort for the soul. Two of Aaron’s sons perished because they offered an unauthorized fire before the Lord. (Lev. 10:1-3). After seeing his two sons die, the Lord spoke to Aaron through Moses: “I will be sanctified and before all the people I will be glorified”. The amazing thing about all this is that the text says “And Aaron held his peace”. He knew God was righteous, so He did not charge God with wrong.

4. The day of Atonement– what a dark and solemn day it was. A sacrifice for the sins of the people was going to be made on that day. They had to afflict themselves. No work could be done. They were going to be cleansed of all their sins through a sacrifice. It foreshadows the day in which Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was killed for the sins of His people. A somber day in which God provided a way back to him…by grace alone, and not through works. That day we would receive cleansing and newness of life.

4.  God blesses obedience, and punishes disobedience. If we disobey, he brings panic and a sense of insecurity in which we will look over our shoulder as if someone is pursuing us (Lev. 26:17). But He promises that if we confess our iniquity and humble ourselves, he will remember his covenant. He is a gracious God. (Lev. 26:40-45)

 In conclusion, Leviticus reminds me of two things:

“The purpose of the law is to foster hope” (Albert Mohler) The law shows us that we cannot be perfect, although we’re meant to be. It places us in a very desperate place so that we can only ask God to bring His redemption and wait for it in hope.

“Because God is both strong and merciful, we can be honest to Him about our sins and failures” (David Powlison) There’s no need to hide from God when we sin. He knows what’s inside of us. And because He is merciful and has provided a way to restore our communion with him through Jesus, we can be comforted that we are forgiven and accepted.

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