Suggestions for Reading Leviticus

Leviticus. Just the name alone has caused many a Bible reader to tremble at the thought of trying to slog their way through all the rules and regulations. In fact, I know of several who get into Leviticus, get stuck in the details and then leave the reading journey entirely! While on the surface, Leviticus seems a bit obsessive compulsive; if we keep a few principles in mind we will find that the book holds a great blessing for those who know the end of the story.

 

As you read, keep this phrase in mind: “Exodus was about getting the people out of Egypt; Leviticus is about getting Egypt out of the people.”

At the heart of Leviticus is the fact that God is holy and so then His people are also to be holy. The BIG issue here is that God was living in their midst (He tabernacled with them). Because the Holy God was present with them, they needed to be holy. They needed to be set apart and different from all things common. In chapter 10, we will read of the priests who were told “You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the clean and the unclean, and you must teach the Israelites all the decrees the LORD has given them through Moses” (10:10, 11). The reason all the people had to be able to make these distinctions on their own is found in Leviticus 15:33. “You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place which is among them.” All this was just so God could be with them and they could be with God! Hmmmm, are you making any connections with your own life yet?

 

In order to help make those personal connections, I encourage us all to make a conscious effort to turn every reading back to Jesus. Just imagine, if Leviticus describes what it takes to be holy enough to dwell in God’s presence, then what did Jesus have to do to be able to “tabernacle among us” (NIV, “made his dwelling among us”, John 1:14)? Then there is the other side of that coin too. What did Jesus have to do to make us God’s temple in which His Spirit resides, right now, all the time (1 Corinthians 3:16)?

 

After each reading in Leviticus, it might be helpful to add a quick dip into Hebrews. Take a portion of any chapter with each reading or take a look at Hebrews 2:14-18; 3:1-6; 4:14-16; 7:23-28 or 10:1-14, just to name a few. With a little prayerful effort, our reading of the Levitical Law can open our eyes to the work Jesus did for us and deepen our wonder at His love.

 

Just for fun, let’s drop down to ground level for a moment. Being the son of an engineer, I also enjoy the details so I thought I’d add this illustration of the Tabernacle from the Faithlife Study Bible.

 

All this reminds me of how a seminary professor of mine once challenged his students to preach a message on Jesus from every chapter of the Old Testament. He said it could be done and the more I read the Bible the more I believe him.

 

With these things in mind, let’s do what we can to help each other keep our eyes on Jesus as we walk each part of the path!
 

Rob