Leviticus maybe your least favorite biblical book for many find Leviticus hard to read. It is the “Bermuda Triangle” of the Bible for oftentimes, people who start reading Leviticus are rarely heard from again. Christians have found this book to be difficult to read and prefer to skip from the Ten Commandments to the exciting stories of conquest in Joshua. Even though this book is the shortest of all of “Moses’ books,” it contains only a short amount of narrative and is almost entirely God’s laws for Israel. The world of Leviticus is a mystery to us. Just a few pages into the book and we are encountering strange things like ritual purity and a holiness code. For most, Leviticus is drudgery to read because it is a totally different world.
With so many things going against reading Leviticus, I believe you should you still take the time to study it. While this book seems disconnected to our world, here are five reasons why you should read and study Leviticus:
1) Leviticus is in the Bible. Remember, God does not waste words. He is not a “talking head” on a cable news network where you mute or ignore Him. When God speaks, every word should be heard and weighed carefully (2 Timothy 3:16). Much of Leviticus is directly quoting God.
You may be surprised to hear popular author David Platt’s words: “I believe it is more important for you and me to read Leviticus than it is for us to read the best Christian book ever published, because Leviticus has a quality and produces an effect that no book in the Christian marketplace can compete with.”
We should remember the words of Jesus: “…everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). Yes, Moses wrote Leviticus and this book is still valuable for your spiritual growth.
2) How you worship God stills matters today. While Exodus tells the Hebrew people where to worship God – in the tabernacle, Leviticus tells them how to worship God – by offering sacrifices. Read Leviticus to deepen your practice of worship.
3) God’s presence is deadly. Yes, God is holy and you cannot approach Him outside of God’s grace. Left to our corruption, we would not last a nanosecond in the presence of a holy God. His holiness is dangerous to our sinfulness and we need God to tell us how to come near Him.
4) Leviticus is quoted twelve times in the New Testament making it the sixth most quoted book in the New Testament. The New Testament also frequently alludes to Leviticus. Plus, the New Testament writers assume you have a knowledge of purification after childbirth, offering after the cleansing of a leper, journeys to the festivals in Jerusalem, and separation from the Gentiles when eating. All these practices find their origin in the book of Leviticus.
While we often pick and choose only the parts of the Bible we enjoy, we must remember how interconnected the Bible really is. Keep in mind, many of the categories of the New Testament are first introduced in Leviticus. Think of these as lanes on a highway for you to travel over. You wouldn’t know the meaning of atonement, purification, or consecration if it were not for the highway lanes laid in Leviticus.
For example, when you quote Jesus by saying, “Treat others the way you’d want to be treated,” you are quoting Leviticus 19:18 and Leviticus 19:34. So, if the New Testament matters to you, then you should also value Leviticus.
5) Leviticus tells us part of God’s big plan for the world. Again, this book is important because it is part of God’s plan to save sinners. While we love to think of Jesus’ death on our behalf and its impact on our lives, the precursor to His death and resurrection is found in Leviticus. We should long to study and know God’s plan – even the angels wonder in amazement at God’s strategy for the world (1 Peter 1:12).
Like money after payday, the memory of Joseph had vanished (Exodus 1:8). God’s people were languishing away in slavery in a foreign country, wondering whether God cared about them (Exodus 2:23). Hope was at the lowest of ebbs and the bad guys seemed to be winning at every turn. The Hebrew people were so oppressed that the Pharaoh ordered every Hebrew male child to be cast in the Nile River. But God heard the groaning of His people and remembered the covenant He made with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). God is a promise-keeping God.
While much of Exodus is about Moses, don’t confuse him for the hero of our story. Moses lacked the ability to save his life at his birth from Pharaoh’s orders. He lacked the wisdom and patience to carry out the task of Hebrew emancipation. Watch him bury an Egyptian in the sand to hide his murder and you’ll see a young, angry man who’s on the run. And when called upon to reason with Egypt’s highest authorities for the release of the Hebrew people, Moses demurred. No, Moses isn’t our hero. And though we admire him, we know God Himself “wears the cape” in our story. Moses may have thought of the awful plight of his people, but it is God who sets a bush aflame; it is the Lord who rescues His people, just as He said hundreds of years before.
“Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.” Genesis 15:13
Have you heard the voice of God? Just yesterday, a man sat with me and told me about hearing God speak to him years before. He choked up as he thought back to the experience. I, too, have heard the inaudible voice of God speak into my life. When you sense His presence and hear His message, it’s a Copernican revolution. Your life revolves around a new axis for you are fundamentally changed.
God Himself had descended to Moses and spoke through fire. This was an intense worship experience. Today, let us draw near to the pages of Scripture and experience Him. His voice continues to speak and His power is still on display.