You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the Lord your God.And you shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you. (Leviticus 20:7-8)
I actually made it over the hurtle of reading Leviticus and Numbers while undergoing trying for the hundredth time to use the B90 method.
As I encountered Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the mental speed bumps in my reading, I found myself doing some research (naturally) to prep myself for the task.
Prayer first and foremost than research…that’s me.
Which brings me to this, have you ever felt like this,”Many Bible readers admit to skipping over the book of Leviticus, claiming it is too dry or boring, or stating it has no relevancy for today.-Bible Study Guide-Leviticus)
Yet when we take the time to really read it and explore it….Leviticus does reveal to be something beyond what our sometimes own prejudices may take us to think of it.
“However, when viewed in the context of New Testament redemption, it is not only relevant, but reveals the heart of God who desires to dwell among His people….God’s character is not just one of rigid rules and swift retribution. Father God desired to care for and nurture his beloved nation of Israel, the newly liberated people He called His special possession. (Exodus 19:5) But even still, God requires order and Israel needed to be set in order if they were to have the benefit of God living among them. Gary E. Schnittjer, in his book, The Torah Story, said it well: “here is no greater danger for sinful humans than getting close to the Divine Being and the glory of His holiness.” Yet this same God chose to make a covenant with His people: if they would keep His commandments, and follow His ways, He would live among them and bless them.
This new covenant was based on three facts: sinful man cannot stand in the presence of God, sinful man cannot cleanse himself from the effects of his sin, and though sinful, man cannot live without the presence of God. So out of His love and mercy, God provided a way for sinful man to enter into His presence through the sacrificial regulations that were given through Moses in Leviticus.from Bible Study Guide-Leviticus“
According to “Hints for enjoying Leviticus“, one thing that is a great reminder is when reading Leviticus,
“Picture yourself not as a Christian living in the 21st Century , but as a Jew who is in the Sinai desert, having just been freed from slavery in Egypt, and having been given two strange gifts from God – the Tabernacle, and some Priests! Imagine asking yourself, “What am I supposed to do with this new place of worship? What are the Priests supposed to do for me?” You must find what this book meant to those who first received it before you can find out what it means for you today.”
As I read Leviticus, I couldn’t help but wonder if many felt like I did,
1. How do I stay awake?
2. How do I fight the urge to skim or skip?
3. What is the relevance.
Well, I don’t have much advice for questions 1 or 2, but just pray, be determine, and try not to take it all in one sitting, but one thing that the #B90 format has helped with is that it breaks it down to 12 pages which is a major help for those, who, like I, feel daunted by Leviticus, can just break it down to a simple 6 pages in the morning and 6 in the evening, to make it easier.
However with Question 3, it’s easy to answer.
Reading Leviticus is reading about Holiness and Worship and a continuation of the law that was set in Exodus.
Hank Hanegraaff said it best in his article, “How is the book of Leviticus Relevant today?” that,
“…..at first blush, Leviticus reads as a seemingly exhaustive list of detailed rituals, sacrifices, and regulations that have little to do with modern living.
We don’t participate in animal sacrifices, follow elaborate dietary laws, or practice ceremonial cleanness.
But reading Leviticus in context, you realize that Leviticus offers the ancient Israelites patterns of living so that they could live with an altogether Holy God. Recognizing this reality, Leviticus becomes gripping reading!
You see, an Almighty, all- powerful God entered the lives of a small and insignificant people who then had to restructure their lives in order to tabernacle with God. And while we don’t live in the world of Leviticus, we too have to restructure our lives so that God can dwell with us.”
It’s true and reading Leviticus took, not only take oneself out of a 21st century mindset but also a pride mindset (of getting all huffy and well I just don’t know about that thought) to really, putting ourselves in the foot of those who were first given these by our Father and not comparing it to a 21st century mindset that is often far removed from what God’s chosen people had to go through, but in today’s world of comfort and technology, seems like a far cry.
As Hank Hanegraaff eloquently puts it,
“Leviticus teaches God’s people to watch their lives carefully—to follow his rules so they can dwell with him. And while the people of Israel focused on outward laws (eating, washing, and the like), Christians today must be alert to maintain purity from within (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” [Matthew 22:37]“
Online I found some helpful study outlines that if you are using B90 or any other bible reading plan, would be of help understanding this book of the bible:
- Book of Leviticus outline: mb-soft.com/believe/txs/leviticu.htm
- Printable pdf study guide courtesy via: padfield.com/acrobat/ot/leviticus.pdf
As “Oh, No! Not Levitucs! A Sermon on the Book of Leviticus shared,
“God knew they could not live up to law, and he never intended to save them through their keeping the law. What, then, was the purpose of the law, if not to give Israel a standard of perfection they could achieve? Paul puts it this way in Galatians:
the law was our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ. (Gal 3:24 AV)
The purpose of the law was never to save, but to be our schoolmaster, our tutor, our pedagogue, to teach us about Christ, and to turn us over to him. God always knew that man would not obey the law, that man by himself was so stained by Adam’s sin that he cannot live a perfect life. Knowing this, God in his mercy set up his plan of salvation to deal with man’s needs, to deal with man’s imperfections.
From the very beginning God’s plan of salvation included the sacrifice of his son. Remember, back in Genesis 3 God promises that Eve’s seed would crush Satan’s head. But God sets up the sacrificial system to serve as a series of illustrations, a series of pictures of what Jesus would accomplish on the cross.
So Leviticus is a picture of the New Covenant in the midst of the description of the Old Covenant; Leviticus is New Testament truth in the midst of the Old Testament.”
With that it is also so important to read Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy all together, for they provided a big picture and are inter-related to how each book works together in the bigger picture versus looking at bits and pieces and trying to discern the whole from that.
As daunting as it may seem, it’s possible to read Leviticus and with that, gain a bigger understanding of the big picture that God is trying to share.
“…You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2)