Last fall we started a series on the Bible-In-A-Year plan many women in our church are going through together. In case you missed those posts, you can click the links to read about Genesis and Exodus. Keep reading for thoughts on Leviticus.
My two year old’s eyes locked with mine the instant she heard me yell. She froze- her tiny finger inches away from her mouth and her little tongue sticking out ready to taste the goodies she had gathered on her fingertip.
“Do NOT put your hand in your mouth.”
Two year olds hear that sentence often, and she slowly lowered her hand.
What she thought must be a delicious treat was actually chicken seasoning on a cutting board piled with raw chicken. She loves helping me in the kitchen, and I enjoy her sweet attempts at helping prepare dinner. But she learned a very important lesson about kitchen safety that day: for now, only mommy touches raw meat. I explained to her that the cutting board and raw chicken were actually things that could make her very sick if she was not careful. There are things in the kitchen that are clean and perfectly safe for her to touch, but raw meat is not one of those things.
Learning the difference between clean and unclean is an important lesson we all learn. Knowing these crucial differences can make the difference between staying healthy or becoming very sick. A surgeon meticulously scrubs in and provides a perfectly clean, sterile environment for the patient to prevent infection. A child washes their hands to prevent getting sick (or doesn’t wash their hands and gets themselves and everyone around them sick!). A clean restaurant makes us feel much safer and able to enjoy our food than a restaurant that looks and feels dirty. Distinguishing between things that are clean and things that are not helps us stay safe and healthy.
Clean & Unclean
In college I once heard someone describe the book of Leviticus as “boring” and “a book you can just skip.” Even now that memory makes me cringe. God’s Word is alive, active, and always teaches us! The book of Leviticus can certainly be challenging and difficult, but it is very much relevant to our own lives today. Leviticus is full of laws and specifications for the offerings God commanded of the Israelites. Over and over it makes the distinction between things that are clean to the Israelites and things that are unclean.
Like a mother teaching her toddler not to lick raw chicken juice in the kitchen, the book of Leviticus gives us wisdom and guidance in learning how to distinguish between harmful sin that makes us unclean and separated from God, and the life-giving blessings of godly obedience. Even more importantly, it shows us how unclean we truly are in our sin and how glorious it is that Christ alone makes us clean and white as snow.
Here is just a glimpse of the things God has taught me while reading through Leviticus:
Laws for Cleansing a Leper
This passage reminds me of teachings in the New Testament. The priest was to tear out any stones with unclean marks on them and throw them away outside the city.
There are many places we see in the gospels where those who are not made clean by Christ on judgment day will be thrown into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The last verse says these guidelines in the chapter will teach the Israelites to know when they are unclean and when they are clean. The Word shows us how sinful and unclean spiritually we are, and praise God that Christ, the ultimate high priest, cleanses us and keeps us in Him.
Laws about Animals For Food
In 11:35 it says to smash any oven or stove that an unclean carcass touches. I would think a stove was a very precious thing to the people of this time. They couldn’t just get a new one from Home Depot, and they needed it to keep warm and cook food. But God calls us to care more about holiness than any object we may own.
I want to desire and cherish holiness this much.
Priests Nadab and Abihu (Aaron’s sons) make unholy fire and are struck down by God
In thinking about Nadab and Abihu, the expectations God had set for them was so detailed and clear. The chapters before this give such detail about the exact expectations for each type of offering. Yet they took things into their own hands and decided to do things how they wanted.
We are similar today. God has given us such clear instruction in what He expects of us. And yet every day I sin and do things my own way.
The consequence for Adab and Abihu is instant death. Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death. How gracious of God to give us Christ, or we would face a similar fate as Nadab and Abihu.
❤️Leviticus 24 ❤️
“An Eye For An Eye”
The end of Leviticus 24 stands out to me in particular. It talks about an eye for an eye and that any person who kills a man should likewise be killed. So it is pretty amazing that Christ’s death on the cross actually gives us life, not death. Instead of life for life, it is his death for our life
For those of you persevering through a Bible reading plan this year, I pray He continues to show you things in the Word you have never noticed before! If you don’t have a Bible reading plan for the year yet, I encourage you to find one! Don’t be intimidated by challenging books like Leviticus. Every book of the Bible is relevant to us today, and every book of the Bible has been given to us to show us His glory.