If you’re reading through the Bible this year, you may be starting or about to start the book of Leviticus. If you began in Genesis and kept your devotion up through Exodus, you may still feel bogged down as you finish Exodus and round the corner for Leviticus.
The problem isn’t simply that New Year’s resolutions have a short shelf life and your new habit hasn’t stuck yet. Sadly, the book of Leviticus is where many wonderful Bible reading plans go to die. So how can we make sure this time is different?
I have three reminders that guide me through this inspired collection of rules and regulations. Remember:
• Rules follow relationship — As you worked through Genesis and Exodus. There is a natural flow from belonging to responding. In Exodus, God decided to rescue the Hebrews from slavery, brings them out of Egypt and only then gives them the Ten Commandments. The relationship begins before the rules. Leviticus picks this up with repeated reminders from God that “I am the LORD your God.” They already belong to him, the question is will they desire him.
• God wants to be known — For a moment, imagine you had just been freed from slavery in a foreign land with a bunch of different gods. The Egyptians had a whole host of gods and the worship and sacrifices to go along with them. But religions with many gods are notorious for miscommunication. For example: let’s say your crops didn’t produce. Was it (A) you didn’t offer a sacrifice to the god of weather, (B) you didn’t say your prayers to the fertility goddess properly, (C) something else, or (D) some combination of the above? When the LORD gives the rules of Leviticus, He wants to be known and He wants His people to know how to praise Him. That’s an incredible gift!
• See how seriously God takes sin — Smell the burning sacrifice. Taste the priestly portion of animals sacrificed in devotion. You’ll have to pick up very quickly that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin,” but this should point us to the better sacrifice of Christ at the cross (1 Samuel 15:22; Hebrews 10:4). God takes sin seriously, but that’s why He takes salvation so seriously as well.