Monday, April 17, 2023

           Leviticus is one book of the Bible that many believers often skip past.  Not many Christians read it or study what it says.  It is routinely overlooked and dismissed.  I have never heard anyone say that their favorite book in the Bible is Leviticus.  And for sure, Leviticus does not have the exciting stories of Genesis or Acts, the miracles of the gospels or the lovely poetry that we find in Psalms. However, Leviticus is part of the canon of the Bible.  It is holy Scripture so it does matter and it does have a message for us even in 2023.  The overarching theme is a compelling one.  How do we approach God?  How do we come before a holy, perfect, majestic and glorious God? 
            Did you know that the word “holy” is found more than eighty different times in Leviticus?  Holiness before the Lord is a theme.  And the holiness of God is plainly taught.  God cannot be in the presence of sin and will not permit it to come before Him.  So, Leviticus was given to Israel to help the nation and individuals understand how to approach the Lord God in worship and obedience.  Remember God is the LORD—the Great I AM revealed to Moses at the burning bush.  God considers our actions but also the intentions and motivations behind how we act.  All aspects are to be holy in our approach to Him. 
            We might even point to Leviticus 19:2 as a summary for the entire book.  The Bible says, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (19:2).  The basis for our holiness is the holiness of God.  Because God is holy, we are to live in holy ways.  “Holy” means to be distinct or to be set apart.  We do not live as we please because such behavior is offensive to our Lord.  We are to be distinctly different people.  Paul said we are to shine like stars in the sky (Philippians 2:15).  God does not call us to make a few cosmetic changes here and there or to spend some weekly time on self-improvement.  We are to be holy—set apart and living in a distinctly different way.
            Early in Leviticus, in chapter three, God instructs the people to bring animal offerings and sacrifices that are without blemish or defect.  The reason for this command was to guide the people to understand that they were to bring their best to God—not the leftovers, the discards or the things they can live without.  Even today, we are to offer the Lord our best.  We are to give the first ten percent of our income to Him as an act of worship and obedience.  We are to give Him our time, worship, service and trust. We give to the Lord from the first and best that we have and not just whatever we can find at the end of the day, week or month.  God is without blemish or defect and calls us not to compromise what we bring to Him.
            In Leviticus 3:16 we read, “all the fat is the LORD’S.”  God made it clear what first and always belonged to Him when an offering was made.  When we bring our first and best to God, we do not struggle in deciding what to give or what to bring or what we can spare.  Indeed, we learn that when God is glorified by what we bring to Him in faith and surrender then we will be satisfied in the way that He cares for us in response.  When it comes to giving to God what is rightfully His, Leviticus ends in this way, “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.”  Truly, the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.  But God, in His grace and love, allows us to keep and to enjoy ninety percent of His blessings and provisions.  We return only ten percent to Him as an act of Thanksgiving and gratitude.  Take time to read Leviticus.  You may have avoided this book many times but it contains nuggets of wisdom, guidance and practical teachings about how to love, serve and approach God today.  Have a great Monday.  Remember you can worship at any time at    
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