About a week ago I finished reading through Leviticus. I think in some ways I understood the book this time better than before, but I still have some ways to go in fully understanding the truths and applications of the third book of the Bible. I was grateful for this one post by Peter Mead that was written with pastors in mind. It shared three main themes from Leviticus. I saw them clearly in reading through the book. Next time you are reading through Leviticus, remember them and it might help you better understand how God intends for us to learn from this book:
1. Worship and Atonement. Leviticus launches with seven chapters on sacrificial offerings, then builds to the climactic Day of Atonement description in chapter 16. It is too easy to preach from the New Testament and make vague references to “Old Testament sacrifices” and how glad we are not to have to do them. As a preacher it would be well worth reading this section closely enough to be able to describe what was involved in “all those sacrifices.” Can we really grasp all that Jesus has done for us if we are basically unaware of the system in place prior to His sacrifice?
2. Living and Loving. The priestly code of early Leviticus flowed out of the conclusion to Exodus (and the terrible golden calf incident). But then in Leviticus 17 there is a passing reference to another ghastly failure, this time on the part of the people: worshipping goat demons. What follows is yet more law, this time focusing in on the people who needed to live with one another and love one another in light of who the LORD is. In the midst of this section we find the seven Mosaic feasts described in chapter 23. Again, to preach the New Testament effectively we need to know our way around the annual feasts of Israel.
3. Living in God’s Presence. So the last time I preached the whole Bible in a single message, what text proved pivotal? It came from Leviticus. It is about living in God’s presence. Sounds like it will feel like a pressure passage pushing us to live holy lives so we might be able to approach God? Not quite. The anticipation of Leviticus 26:11-12 shows God’s desire to dwell with His people, a desire that shows throughout the canon and culminates the whole story in Revelation 21.
“I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.”