THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11
BY: Josh Boles
Today and tomorrow we are going to do something a little bit out of the norm. On Monday we are going to start on a journey through Deuteronomy. The last time we were in the Old Testament we were in Exodus so we thought it made sense to continue in order. We are going to skip Leviticus and Numbers but it is important that we spend a little bit of time in each. The fact of the matter is that it would be very difficult and time consuming to cover these whole books, but, they are still very important to us. What I am going to do today is give you a quick overview and breakdown of the different segments of Leviticus. This breakdown is not divinely inspired, but rather a theological framework to help us understand. Keep in mind that the devotional content will be lengthy today but We certainly do not expect you to read the book of Leviticus today.
The overall concept of Leviticus focuses on the one God who is most holy. Leviticus has always puzzled interpreters especially after moving on from the theological weight of Exodus into the even more weighty Leviticus. Leviticus offers a great deal of theological importance, mainly because it focuses on how a Holy God defines sin and forgives His people, and helps them avoid sin. Lets break this down on how it applies to us.
Chapters 1-7 The God who forgives.
This section of Leviticus is perhaps the most challenging for us to relate to and understand the theological importance. We are not familiar with any of these rituals, none the less, they are of great importance to us. Leviticus 1-7 focuses on the 5 offerings with are burnt offerings, grain, peace, sin, and guilt offerings. There is much we can learn about these but perhaps the most important is that forgiveness does not come without cost and sacrifice. In Leviticus these were the cost and the sacrifice. Jesus is our sacrifice and paid the ultimate price for us on the cross.
Chapters 8-10, primarily in 9 and 10 focus on the holiness of those who are ministers. There is a strong focus on the joy, wonder, and weight of being a minister for the Lord. Much of these verses also focus on building a place acceptable for Gods pretense to be experienced, the Holy of Holies. The take away for us here is that in Christ, we are all called to minister. Because of Christ we have the priesthood of every believer, not just that those who uphold the Law to the most extreme degree as we read about in Leviticus.
This section deals primarily with the fact that God requires purity from His people. The words clean, unclean, and holy are by far the most common words uses. Much has been said so far about Holiness, in the fact that God is most Holy. But now the theme shifts to God’s chosen nation being holy because He is holy. This is where we find for the first time God saying “Be holy, for I am Holy.” God actually says this twice in chapter 11. The main point in this section is that God has set His holy nation apart from all other nations. Us Gentiles have been adopted into the family of God so therefore this principle applies to our lives. We are to live lives not of a worldly nature but a Life devoted to God
Chapter 16 gets its own section and is arguably the heart of the entire book. This chapter focuses on the fact that the holy God we have been talking about forgives all sins. Chapter 16 also talked about the day of atonement which would have been something required to observe yearly. As the author of Hebrews says in chapter 9 this was the problem with the day of atonement, that it had to happen yearly. All of this is leading up to the comprehensive sacrifice of Jesus. Leviticus 16 focuses on the fact that there is a God who forgives all sins. Jesus’ one time payment for sin is the fulfillment of the promise!
This section again places an emphasis on holiness and how God’s chosen nation is to be Holy. Again in chapter 19, 20, and 21 we see the Lord say “be holy for I am holy.” This should tell us something about holiness. It should tell us that it is important! How do we do this? The same way the Israelites did. By extending their commitments to Yahweh. A life lived in commitment to God is not a one time decision for them then, or for us. We are to live a life devoted to God, continually renewing and deepening our relationship with Him. This section of Leviticus is not just a repeat of the previous sections. There is a repeated theme but it moves deeper into the personal lives of the Israelites. There is too much to mention here but God focuses on their purity and the sins hidden deep in their heart. Our life of devotion starts with repentance and we continue in that state.
Finally as we come to an end, the last book of Leviticus focuses on vows made to the Lord. Leviticus 26 focuses on the promises God has given to us, while 27 turns to the seriousness of keeping our commitment to God. We can assume, and be assured, that God keeps His vows to us. It is likewise assumed here that the Israelites will keep their vows to God. The same is true for us. If we have given our lives to Christ, we ought to live a life in service and devotion to him.
I hope you have been encouraged by our short journey through Leviticus. This book has incredible implications for our lives and should not be ignored. When you have time, I would encourage you to get a good study Bible and explore this book. It will not be easy, but non the less is important. Tomorrow Jeremy will cover Numbers. Be encouraged!