This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!
Fun Fact about Leviticus:
The word “holy” is mentioned more time in this book than any other book of the Bible
The Big Picture:
Leviticus was written by Moses and seems to take place around Mt. Sinai. It seems, as the fact above could attest, that one purpose God has in this book is to remind us, and his people then, of His holiness. It is filled with lots of guidelines and instructions which at times can be overwhelming to read or even lead to a sense of despair realizing we could never live up to such standards. I wonder if that’s kind of the point as it leads us to discover our desperate need for God’s grace and salvation.
Some Key Events/Themes in Leviticus:
- Leviticus 1-7 – Outlines the laws for various offerings and sacrifices
- Leviticus 8-10 – The Consecration of Aaron and His sons as priests
- Leviticus 11-15 – Teachings about clean vs. unclean
- Leviticus 16 – Institution of The Day of Atonement
- Leviticus 17-27 – Various Laws, celebrations, and guidelines for the people
A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:
Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of Leviticus you want! These are just some ideas.
- Leviticus 5:6 – “And, as a penalty for the sin they have committed, they must bring to the Lord a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement fro them for their sin.”
REFLECTION: What does it mean to you that Jesus became the Ultimate Sacrifice for our sin, once and for all? How does Hebrews 10 help us understand Leviticus?
- Leviticus 5:7 – “Anyone who cannot afford a lamb is to bring two doves or two pigeons to the Lord as a penalty for their sin–one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.”
REFLECTION: This is just one example, but where else do you see God’s grace and mercy in this book that feels so overwhelmingly filled with Law?
- Leviticus 17:11 – “For the life of a creation is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”
REFLECTION: How do the things we read about in Leviticus connect with what Christ did for us in the New Testament?
- Leviticus 19:18 – “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
REFLECTION: Jesus, show me who I need to forgive this week and help me begin that process.
God’s Grace in Leviticus:
To be honest, God’s grace feels a lot harder to find in a book known for it’s focus on laws, guidelines, and rules. When we read things like “anyone who does ____ should be killed”, it’s difficult to even keep reading. However, I believe fully that God’s grace is all over this book. One specific place is in the outlines God gives for the offerings and sacrifices. Our God knew that we can never live up to a perfect, holy standard that is necessary to be in relationship with Him. Yet, He LONGS for us to be in relationship with Him (that’s one main reason He created us in the first place!) The sacrifices and offerings in this book aren’t meant to feel as just one more religious duty they were forced to comply with. No, this was the very way that God could continue in relationship with his people.
A penalty was needed; blood must be shed… God remained just while also being gracious in allowing sacrifices to be made to atone for the sin of the people. We can praise God even more now today that Jesus has come as the perfect Lamb of God, a blameless sacrifice that does not require repeating the rituals day after day, year after year. God’s grace in Leviticus is actually highlighted in Hebrews:
“The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.
But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, when Christ came into the world… for God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.” – Hebrews 10:1-5, 10
Some Other Resources:
- The Bible Project Summary Video of Leviticus
- A Pinterest board with some artistic Bible journaling ideas and other resources about Leviticus
- The 66 in 52 Schedule and Tracking Sheet
So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!