September 28, 2022
Thank you for your prayers for revival and for our prodigals. As we continue to pray for God’s working in our lives and in the lives of others, may this devotional be a source of encouragement.
The third book of the Bible, Leviticus, has been given a hard rap! It has been dubbed as tedious, or boring, or irrelevant to present-day life circumstances.
If you are not a believer, this may seem true. If you are younger in the faith, just casually reading, or if life is particularly difficult and you are searching for food to lift you up, then maybe Leviticus is not the place to spend most of your time.
Bible scholar J. Sidlow Baxter, says, “To speak of Leviticus as ‘dull reading’ misses the point of the book completely. How could we expect a book like Leviticus, which is occupied throughout with regulations, to provide exciting reading? Obviously, it is not meant just to be read, but to be studied. It yields little of its treasure to mere reading; but a reasonable concentration transforms it into one of the most intriguing articles in the Scriptures.”
The book of Exodus shows how God brought His people out in order to bring them in. He took them out of bondage to bring them into freedom. He took them out of Egypt to bring them into nearness. He wanted their full devotion, full allegiance, full surrender, and full worship.
Exodus gives the means by which God in heaven would live with His people on earth. The tabernacle, and more specifically the ark of covenant in the holy of holies within the tabernacle, was the place where God would dwell.
The close of Exodus says, “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34-35 ESV).
The huge problem that Leviticus addresses is that God is holy and people are not holy. The people of the Exodus could not live with God because of their sin. Even Moses could not enter God’s presence the way he was.
Notice the position of the Lord and Moses at the opening of this book, “The LORD called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting” (Leviticus 1:1). By the time you get through the book and come to the opening chapter of Numbers, it says,”The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting” (Numbers 1:1). So now, Moses is in the tabernacle with God and not on the outside. These are the parameters of the book and within those parameters we learn how a holy God and an unholy people can live together and enjoy fellowship.
In talking to my good friend Pablo Seguel, he told me that Leviticus is the book of 2 pillars. I looked at him with intrigue and then clued into his description. Let me explain:
The first pillar was the pillar of cloud God promised to guide His people (Exodus 13:21-22). This column rested over the tabernacle and continually reminded the people of God’s greatness and transcendence. It was a visible indication of the holiness of God. It would create a reverential fear or awe within them of how totally separate and unapproachable He was.
The second pillar was a column of smoke that continually rose from the bronze altar at the gate of the tabernacle. This “Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out” (Leviticus 6:13).
This column of smoke was a constant reminder that the holy, righteous, separate God could be approached and desired to be approached. It didn’t reduce or remove the awe of God’s greatness but rather provided a way or means for unholy people to reach God. It was the way of sacrifice.
The sacrifices made on the bronze altar, like the burnt, grain, fellowship, sin, and guilt offerings were all signposts to the one final sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the answer to the dilemma of Leviticus.
Jesus is the cloudy pillar that reveals the fullness of our holy transcendent God. “He is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). He fills our hearts with awe and wonder. He leads and guides us. He protects and keeps us. He is our holy God!
Jesus is the smoky pillar that has made the ultimate sacrifice at the cross. He is our only approach to God. “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18).
Then in Leviticus, there were laws — many laws. Some were ritualistic laws and other moral laws. They were all intended to set God’s people apart from the nations around them and to set them apart exclusively for God. These laws tested the obedience of God’s people.
There were also 7 feasts that kept the people focusing on God’s goodness. These were intended to ensure they were a thankful people and to cause full dependence upon the Lord.
With the sacrifices, laws, and feasts all past and done, may we learn through them and find our full joy in the one who fulfills them all in His glorious person.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel