Leviticus Part One: Dive
HOLY COW THAT'S A LOT OF SACRIFICING
There are some books in the Old Testament that seem so far away from our culture that we are not sure what to do with them and most people just skip over them when reading their Bibles. Leviticus is one of those books. But when you stop and read this book you will see the incredible nature and character of God that it reveals is more relevant today than ever! See God doesn’t change, he is the same yesterday, today and forever. The incredible holy, pure, all powerful and precise God that speaks in Leviticus, is the same God we worship today, this incredible book is going to reveal his nature to you in a way that will give you so much gratitude and understanding of who he is that you will be overwhelmed with worship. I was!
In my New Testament class, we spend one lecture, two full hours on the Old Testament. Some students are shocked when they look at the timetable and see one full session on the Old Testament in the New Testament course, so why do I do it? I do it because the first year I taught the class I realised that the students didn’t know the Old Testament and therefore didn’t realise what they had been saved from and therefore did not have a full understanding of all Jesus had done for them. For me, if you don’t understand what they had to do and the regulations that they were under in the Old Testament, you will not truly understand or appreciate the freedom that we have in Jesus Christ. You won’t understand Paul’s passion to free us from human tradition and regulations once we are found in Christ.
Let me explain this further, I overheard a conversation once of a young girl complaining that it took her a long time to get to a coffee catch-up on Anzac Day because of all the crowds for the Anzac Day march in Sydney. She was truly annoyed. It really bugged me and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. As she complained about the crowds and parking, I could no longer hold my tongue. I turned to her and said “You walk down the street in freedom, because of those annoying old men, if those men and women didn’t fight for your freedom, let alone the ones who died for your freedom, this world we live in today would look very different. Our society is built upon those incredible heroes.” I wish I could have transported her back in time to show why those men and women died and what they gained for us. She looked at me like I was a crazy person, and to be honest at that moment, I was! It probably didn’t help that my grandfather had just passed away and he normally marched in the Anzac Day march but my point was made.
Sometimes we need reminding of what we have been freed from so that we have a fresh appreciation of the freedom we walk in today in Jesus Christ. We can see what Jesus did for us and all he saved us from as we read Leviticus. As you read Leviticus you will be overwhelmed with all the laws and regulations, what they had to do to stay holy in the presence of a holy God. As you read Leviticus take note of the repeated terms, sacrifice, atonement, sin offerings for when different people sin and the atonement that is needed to be done by the priest for forgiveness of those sins. Take note of the repeated terms and highlight them like “when they realize their guilt”.
For me Leviticus gives me a new appreciation of verses like 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
We don’t have to go to Leviticus when we realise we have sinned, and work out which animal we need to sacrifice and which penalty we need to pay. All we need to do is confess it and he forgives us and not only forgives us but purifies us from all unrighteousness. What!! You can imagine the Jews of the 1st Century reading 1 John 1:9 and say; Are you serious? That is all they need to do to be forgiven, confess their sins and they will be purified.” That is the power of the blood of Jesus that we have, don’t take that for granted!
Remember, today we are called to walk boldly into the presence of God in freedom (Ephesians 3:12, Hebrews 4:16). We can walk into the holy of holies, into the presence of God, into our churches without sacrificing, without the rules and regulations. Never take for granted the freedom that you walk in because that freedom was bought with a price and that price was the blood of Jesus Christ. I walk boldly and forever grateful for the presence of God because I know the cost of my freedom. That is why when I am in worship, I am so grateful for Jesus. That is why when I enter my Church without having to bring a blood sacrifice to be in God’s presence, I am so grateful for Jesus. That is why when the presence of God falls and I don’t drop dead because of my sin, I am so grateful for Jesus and that is why I will never dishonour or disrespect my freedom in boldly coming into his presence because I know the cost of my freedom and I will be forever grateful for Jesus!
Lastly, remember as you read Leviticus that Jesus didn’t abolish these laws and say “this was too hard for anyone to accomplish I am just going to get rid of them all and start again!” No the Bible says that he fulfilled them all, every dot, every iota, he fulfilled. This is incredible as you read Leviticus and Numbers.
Matthew 5:17-20 (ESV) “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished."
So, venture into Leviticus and go through all of the ceremonial offerings that were required back in the Old Testament, you will be overwhelmed with gratefulness for what Jesus did on the cross and for the presence of God in our churches without condition!