Some TIPS on How to read
The overwhelming message of Leviticus is the holiness of God – “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (19:2)
As we read, we let the Word of God examine of lives.
Someone once said that ‘the book of Leviticus was the first book studied by a Jewish child; yet is often among the last books of the Bible to be studied by a Christian.” This is so true, isn’t it?
When was the last time you heard a sermon on Leviticus in church or read parts of it personally? The title of the book Leviticus means ‘pertaining or relating to the Levites’, which unfortunately, often leads many of us to think that what it says is irrelevant to us today. However, as we take a closer look, we will hopefully begin to see its rich contribution to our understanding of God and the way that He relates to His people.
Leviticus begins with the people of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai. If you are familiar with the book of Exodus, the book ends with the construction of the Tabernacle that stood at the centre of the Israelite camp. The Ark, which was the primary symbol of God’s presence with His people, resided in this Tabernacle. How are they to approach this holy God and live as His people? How are they to offer sacrifices that are acceptable to God in this Tabernacle? As we read the book of Leviticus, we will find in it the answers to these questions.
The 27 chapters of the book can be divided into 2 main sections:
1) The Levitical Code (Chapter 1-16)
This section deals with the rules and regulations for the people and priests related directly to the Tabernacle.
2) The Holiness Code (Chapter 17-27)
You will find the command ‘be holy, because I am holy’ repeated in these few chapters. God here reveals to His chosen people how to relate to Him and each other, as a holy nation.
You may find it helpful to read the book of Leviticus in these suggested chunks:
Day 1: Chap 1-16 (Read these chapters in 1 sitting to grasp the big picture of the Levitical Code)
Day 2: Chap 1
Day 3: Chap 2
Day 4: Chap 3
Day 5: Chap 4:1-5:13
Day 6: Chap 5:14-6:7
Day 7: Chap 6:8-7:38
Day 8: Chap 8:1-9:24
Day 9: Chap 10
Day 10: Chap 11
Day 11: Chap 12
Day 12: Chap 13
Day 13: Chap 14
Day 14: Chap 15
Day 15: Chap 16
Day 16: Review the Levitical Code (Chap 1-16)
Day 17: Chap 17-27 – read these chapters in 1 sitting to grasp the big picture of the Holiness Code
Day 18: Chap 17
Day 19: Chap 18
Day 20: Chap 19-20
Day 21: Chap 21-22
Day 22: Chap 23
Day 23: Chap 24:1-9
Day 24: Chap 24:10-23
Day 25: Chap 25
Day 26: Chap 26: 1-13
Day 27: Chap 26:14-46
Day 28: Chap 27
Day 29: Review the Holiness Code (Chap 17-27)
Day 30: Review the whole book of Leviticus
As you read the words of God to His people in Leviticus, capture the awesome holiness of god and His demand for His people to ‘be holy, because I am holy.‘
How does it affect the way you relate to this holy God?
“Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (19:2)
It is easy to see the book of Leviticus as just a book of rules and regulations that does not apply to us today. However, as we take time to reflect on what is written in this book, we will discover a God who is personal and who desires to dwell with His people to enjoy ongoing companionship with them.
However, since the fall of man in Genesis 3, mankind has been continuously sinful and unholy.
That is precisely what the first part of Leviticus deals with (Chapters 1-16). In the few chapters, we are given detailed instructions on how to offer sacrifices so that the sin of the people can be dealt with. So great is God’s love for His people that He provides a way for them to draw near to Him through the shedding of blood – the cost of a life.
As we read about the sacrificial system, we are led to the great climax of the Day of Atonement (Chapter 16), and we can’t help but to see how it anticipates the coming of Jesus, the Lamb of God who is the ultimate sacrifice by which our relationship with God can be restored. Thank God for Jesus: the perfect, unblemished, sacrificial Lamb!
Chapters 17-27 of Leviticus show us that holiness has a horizontal aspect to it as well. God is honoured by our lives when we relate to others in love. The Israelites were shown how to be holy in every practical aspect of their lives.
The second half of the book of Leviticus finally reaches its climax when it discusses the Year of Jubilee (Chapter 25): the year when right relationships are to be restored among God’s people. The requirements for observing the Year of Jubilee include treating each other justly and mercifully.
Through the book of Leviticus, God was preparing His people to live as a holy nation before a holy God despite being amidst nations that have no idea what it means to be holy.
As His people today, His demand for us remains the same in a world that does not put much value on holiness: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
What does it mean for you to be holy in your college or university, among your coursemates, friends and family members?
Do our lives show that we are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God”? (1 Peter 2:9)
May God help us to obey His command to “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy”, and remember that the goals of becoming fully acceptable to a holy God and maintaining good relationships with one another cannot be achieved without God Himself making it possible through Jesus Christ, our great High Priest who once and for all offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.