In this series Alan Hill surveys some of the lesser-known books of Scripture.
The Indian civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi once read through the Bible. Upon reading Leviticus he said that the book ‘appeared to be full of procedures and practices that have nothing to say or do with the church’.
Many think the same way today, and Leviticus remains unread and unstudied by many Christians. However, no book in the Bible contains more of the direct words of God than Leviticus. God himself speaks on almost every page. This alone should captivate our attention.
Leviticus is the manual of Old Testament worship given to Moses by God after the Tabernacle had been built. It provides laws about the Israelite priesthood, animal sacrifices, cleanliness, feast days, and holy living.
The New Testament is clear that the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ brought the Old Testament sacrificial system to an end, but that does not render Leviticus redundant for Christians. It holds many lessons for us today.
Leviticus brings us face to face with the sinfulness of man
As we read Leviticus, we may become weighed down by repeated descriptions of bloody sacrifices and strict codes of cleanliness. But this is exactly the purpose of the book. It is meant to weigh us down with a sense of our sin and inability to keep God’s law. On every page, Leviticus intimates to the reader, ‘You are a sinner.’
Every day we sin. As I washed this morning, I sinned. As I had my quiet time, I sinned. As I ate breakfast, I sinned. As I read emails and saw the news, I sinned. As I write these words, I will sin. Sin taints all that we are and do, and Leviticus brings us face-to-face with this reality.