The Bible180 challenge, week 4

After this week you'll be 3 books down, 63 to go!

 
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"I am the LORD"

This week we will finish Exodus and power through most of Leviticus.

When people think Leviticus, they think law.

When people think Leviticus, they think works.

When people think Leviticus, they think "old stuff for dead Jews" (as Pastor Randy would say).

The Psalmist wrote 176 verses of poetry about the amazing gift that is God's Law (not just Leviticus, but the whole Pentateuch), and yet it's probably neck and neck with Revelation as the part of the Bible that people are most afraid of. I was: I saw it as the big scary Law, as the birthplace of works-based salvation, as a lot of really confusing old stuff for dead Jews.

Then I actually studied it and found that the Law is big, but it's not scary. That there is no works-based salvation doctrine to be found anywhere inside it. And that while many of the details have little to no relevance to me as a Gentile believer this side of the Cross, they still hold incredible insight into the way God desires to walk with His people.

For example, the Law makes it clear that, by default, I stand morally indebted to God, and that death is the only way to make it right - but that the blood spilled doesn't have to be mine, hallelujah (Leviticus 4-5, 16-17)! But at the same time, it warns me that walking in relationship with God is expensive, and comes at the heavy cost of complete trust - often in the form of relinquishing possessions, time, and control (Leviticus 1-3). The Law cautions me to be mindful of how I enter into God's presence - a privilege that should never be taken flippantly (Leviticus 6-10, 15:31) - and how I live my daily life, which must be set apart from the rest of the world (Leviticus 11, 18-27).

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'I am the LORD your God. You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes. You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes, to live in accord with them; I am the LORD your God. So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD.'"
Leviticus 18:1-5

That phrase, "I am the LORD," is found several times in Leviticus - usually following immediately after the giving of a command. The Law tells me that there's just one main reason I should take anything it says seriously: because of who the Lawgiver is.

This is why it is so important to me that you come to know who God is and what He's like, to the greatest extent that a human mind is able. This is why it's so important to me that you understand the Scriptures. This matters at a very fundamental level.

Who God is informs how you can be saved from your sin. Who God is informs how you can walk with Him on earth. Who God is informs why you live the way you live when you've been redeemed.

Who God is gives you joy in this life and hope for the next.

God's character is the foundational truth that bears up every precept of Christian doctrine and gives it both immediate and eternal value. Without Him, all that remains is a set of rules and a social club - and for the many churchgoers who don't realize who God is, that's all that church ever means.

So when you think Leviticus, don't think old stuff for dead Jews. Don't think guilt and shame and works. Don't think you're going to die in the mire of details.

Think this is another window into who God is.

And He delights to open it to you, delights to declare "I am the LORD" and fill you with appreciation for the amazing grace and holiness of His heart that has the power to change everything about yours.

 

Resources

Leviticus: God of Holiness

Genre: Law (Criminal Code)
Total read time for the book of Leviticus: 2 hours

Hallie Liening

Olympia, WA

Hallie grew up on a small farm in rural eastern Washington. At 18, she moved across the country to go to Bible school, and then married the Boy Next Door at 20. Now 22, she is a graduate of Great Commission Bible Institute with a Certificate in Biblical Studies and resides in Olympia with her husband and her two cats. She survives the claustrophobia of living near the city by making frequent trips back home to visit her family and her horse, writing sentimental blog posts about the countryside, and by filling her house with photographs of Mt. Adams sunsets.