We began our #2YearJourney almost three months ago. We have had the chance to read about God creating all things, how He called a man named Abram and from him a nation was born. We read about how that nation ended up in Egypt and were slaves until God rescued them from that status and delivered them to a promised land. We also had the chance to read Mark’s account of the ministry of Jesus and then how that led to the beginning of the church that we are now part of. Needless to say, we have started with a BANG as far as great and interesting Bible reading… that is until this past Tuesday…
On November 8th we entered into the book of Leviticus. This book is primarily a list of regulations, many of them for the priests but also for the laity as well. It talks about the different types of sacrifice as well as the ways to offer those sacrifices. The book describes what priests should be wearing on certain holidays, and how to handle issues of dealing with what is “clean” and “unclean.” It’s a book that lacks some of the excitement that we’ve already seen in previous books we have read so far. Even with all of that in mind, as we begin reading this book that often keeps people (myself included) from pursuing reading plans like this, I want to offer some encouragement to help you during these next few weeks.
1. Leviticus gives us an insight into a conversation between Moses and God. The very first words of this book are “The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said…” What we read in Leviticus is Moses writing down what God told directly told him to. This gives us direct insight into God’s care and concern for the way that his people worship. Yes, Leviticus can sometimes be a bit dry, and it can be a challenge to see how this applies to us at times. (All the more reason to check out the REFLECTIONS that are written each week, and to thank those who are writing them, they work hard to help us connect with what we are reading.) But remember what this is, it’s God telling his people “This is how I want you to interact with me, this is how to go about your worship.” The same God who sent his son to die for us, dictated these words to Moses. His heart was the same, His love for us was the same. Even though the rules and regulations set before us in Leviticus no longer apply to us, the heart behind them, and the God behind them, are the same
2. It points us to Christ. Much like the entire rest of the book, Leviticus is about Christ. The rules and regulations about sacrifices, these are but a shadow of the great and perfect sacrifice that Jesus would be for us on our behalves. The many elements and details that are laid out concerning the Day of Atonement do much to foreshadow a day when Jesus would become both the sacrificial lamb as well as the scapegoat for us and our sin. This book gave the people a tangible reminder that God was for them, that He is for us. He built in to their lives these things that we can look back on and see that He always had a plan in mind for the salvation of His people.
3. It gives us a context for the New Testament. When we read about the Pharasees’ dedication to the law and how it consumed them. When we read Paul’s letters pushing back against the idea of having to force circumcision on Gentile believers or whether or not to eat certain foods, it is the book of Leviticus that these rules and laws come from. When we read this book we are helping ourselves to better understand the New Testament writings. Which means when we finish this book and head into the book of Hebrews we will have a better understanding of why the writer goes to such great lengths to explain the superiority of Jesus to the law.
Yes the book of Leviticus can be hard to read through, but I want to encourage you to press on. Remember that this book was not written by accident. It did not get placed in the Bible by accident. God speaks through the entirety of the Bible, Leviticus included. So over the next few weeks as you read, here’s my one big encouragement: PRAY! Pray before you read. Pray while you read. Pray after you read. Ask God to help you focus. Ask God to help you understand the difficult parts to understand. Ask God to bring to mind other scripture that the passage you are reading connects to. Pray for encouragement and dedication to stay with the reading plan.
I’m excited to read through this book with you all. I need your encouragement and accountability when it comes to staying diligent with our #2YearJourney. It’s not easier for me to stay committed just because I’m a pastor, I fall behind just like you do. But what keeps me coming back, what I hope keeps you coming back is the fact that God is doing something in us and through us when it comes to this reading plan. I’ve heard from many people about some of the insights and challenges they are getting from doing this reading plan together. I want this to be a great resource and encouragement for all of us so if there is any way I can help please let me know. If you haven’t joined in yet, jump in now! God has things he wants to share with you through reading His word with His people. It truly is a #2YearJourney and I am very thankful that we are doing this journey together.
Blessings on your Readings,