The Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting... (Leviticus 1:1)
If you are reading this blog post, there’s a good chance you are still hanging in there on a goal to read the Bible through the year. And if that’s you, congratulations! You’ve made it this far!
Now comes Leviticus.
Leviticus is often where Bible reading goals go to die. All the exciting stories of Genesis and Exodus are in the rearview mirror. All the stories Hollywood has made movies about, from The Ten Commandments, to The Prince of Egypt, to Evan Almighty, we are past those now. As far as I know, no one has made a single movie about anything in Leviticus. For the next ten days, there aren’t any stories. There’s just Levites and priests, and offerings and feasts.
And an entire chapter on what to do about mildew.
So how do you make it through Leviticus? Well, first, keep checking in with your buddies you are doing this reading journey with. Hold each other accountable. Think of this as the first big hill on a marathon course. You’re still together as a running group, it’s still early in the day, and you’ve still got lots of stamina for the rest of the course. So take this hill, stay together, and keep encouraging one another.
Second, try to keep the big picture in mind. I’m really thankful for the guys who put The Bible Project videos together, because they pointed out something that has changed the way I look at Leviticus. Here’s the video, if you haven’t watched it already in the Bible Recap plan on YouVersion:
Here’s the big takeaway: The previous book, Exodus, ends with God’s glory filling the Tabernacle, and it being so overwhelming that Moses can’t even enter it (See Exodus 40:35).
Now, flip ahead to the first verse of Numbers, the book immediately following Leviticus:
The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt...
Something has happened between the end of Exodus and the beginning of Numbers that has granted Moses entrance into the presence of God. And that something is the book of Leviticus!
If you see the entire book as an expression of the love God has for His people who cannot handle His holiness, it changes the way you look at the laws. Instead of being restrictive and oppressive, you can instead see them as the means a holy God uses to get His people back inside the tent.
The overarching theme of the book of Leviticus is that God has made a way.
Which is the overarching theme of the entire Bible. You can read the book of Leviticus and, if nothing else, be thankful that we no longer are obligated to follow it. (As a pastor, I can’t thank God enough for the fact that no one in my congregation has EVER called me to inspect the walls of their house for mildew. More on that on day 47).
You see, the Law was a placeholder, meant to teach us how we relate to God. I love how Galatians 3:24 puts it, especially in the King James. It says that the law “was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
But when Christ came, He showed us a new way to enter into the presence of God, through His blood! God continues to make a way. Hear the great promise of the rest of Galatians 3:
25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[g] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise (Galatians 3:25-29).
Thank you Jesus! You have made a way!