I have a confession to make. The book of Leviticus and I have had less than a close relationship in my short lifetime. Each time I come to this book, I come with groanings. I have always felt it was redundant, boring, and confusing. Since beginning my inductive study of the Bible, though, I came this time with a renewed hope that I would see something I have been missing. Unfortunately, my study until a few days ago gave me a renewed bitterness for the book. I have found myself most mornings saying, “There are so many types of sacrifices. What is the difference? It seems like they are calling the sacrifices different names but they all serve the same purpose,” or “This seems crazy! Why are people with leprosy or women who give birth unclean and then have to make a sin offering? It doesn’t seem like they did anything wrong.”
Each time I begin spouting off questions like this, my loving husband will say something like, “Court, why does this all make you so angry? Are you angry because you feel like this is hindering you having a gospel-centered life or because you feel you deserve to have God’s knowledge?” Ouch! This poignant question always reveals one of my greatest heart issues–a pursuit of knowledge instead of a pursuit of Christ.
As always, when I feel like I am in a spiritual valley, God reveals Himself to me in a magnificent way. The past few mornings it has been through two chapters in Leviticus. In chapter 19, God is giving the Israelites several “do’s and don’ts,” and he followed almost every paragraph with the words, “I am the Lord your God.” Earlier in the same chapter, He says, “I the Lord your God am holy.” As I was reading this, my mind went to Romans 9:20. Paul is addressing some questions the Romans are sure to ask regarding God’s sovereignty, and he responds with “Who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” I am not holy. I am just a human with a sinful nature and a feeble mind. The Holy Spirit convicted me of the sin of pridefulness in my heart that is exhibited each time I want to question God’s motives for doing something. I am not to question Him but to trust Him in all His goodness. He is the creator, a God of order, and a God who works all things together for the good of those who love Him. Who do I think I am?
The answer to the question of who I really am came to me as I was reading chapter 20. In this chapter, God tells the Israelites the consequences of breaking some of these commands. Almost every time the consequence is death or being cut off from Him. As I looked at each sin, I knew I had committed almost all of them in some form, and I was able to rejoice once again for the core of the gospel message–I, a vile sinner, deserve nothing more than death and the wrath of God; however, in His infinite goodness and mercy, God provided a way for me to stand in His presence. He sent His Son, who was sinless and holy, to be the one and only needed sacrifice to take away all those sins for eternity. Now, because of that amazing grace and Jesus interceding for me, I, detestable, abhorrent, and guilty though I was, will one day stand before my great God and Savior who has taken away the sins of the world! There is no praise that can go high enough!
Even though I don’t understand much of Leviticus, I’m grateful that God was kind to remind me that even this difficult book shows His grace and mercy in a multitude of ways.