Today’s Reading: Leviticus 1-19
And now the book we have all been waiting for – LEVITICUS! Well, maybe not all of us. I must admit that I struggle to stay engaged as I read through this third book in the Old Testament. So why should I even try? What can possibly be gained by reading through Leviticus? Let’s find out.
We serve a God of details – a very specific God. By reading through the specific instructions for the priests of Israel, we better understand the God we serve. We understand that He is a holy God and that He has provided for the atonement of our sins so that we can worship our holy Father and live in a relationship with our holy Creator. Each sacrifice described, each holy day required, teaches us something about the God we serve and what He requires of us.
“For I am the Lord your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy….For I, the Lord, am the one who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy.” – Leviticus 11:44-45
GOD CREATED A PROCESS FOR THE ATONEMENT OF THE SINS OF HIS PEOPLE.
The priests were given specific instructions on how to purify the people from their sins and make them right with the Lord so they could be forgiven of their sins. Even when they sinned unintentionally, God required them to respond at the moment in which they became aware of their sin – to respond with a heart of confession (Lev. 4:35; 5:5,13).
Chapter 16 of Leviticus described the Day of Atonement – a day in which the sins of God’s people were presented to the Lord in confession and payment for those sins was made in order to make right what was wrong. The blood and life of an animal was presented to God as a substitute for the life of the sinner. As the animal parts were ceremonially presented to God, His anger was appeased and the worship of His people was accepted.
For the life of a creature is in the blood and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. – Leviticus 17:11
IT IS THE BLOOD OF JESUS THAT MAKES ATONEMENT FOR OUR SINS TODAY.
His death on the cross makes it possible for us to be in a right relationship with a holy God – a God who requires us to live a holy life.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. – Ephesians 1:3-8
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. – Colossians 1:20
JESUS NOT ONLY BECAME THE SACRIFICE FOR US, HE ALSO BECAME THE PRIEST.
He offered himself as the perfect sacrifice and mediated a new covenant between God and people. Because of this sacrifice, we are adopted into God’s family and will receive an eternal inheritance.
So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood – not the blood of goats and calves – he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant. – Hebrews 9:11-15
Precious Jesus, thank you so much for dying to set us free from our sin. Thank you for living in us through your Spirit, making it possible for us to experience a life of holiness. Cleanse our hearts and purify us from all efforts to be self-righteous and self-centered. Lord, we love you and long to worship you with pure hearts.
“You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” – Leviticus 19:2b