Leviticus Bible Study
“God seems so far away … if only I could see or hear him.” Have you ever felt this way—struggling with loneliness, burdened by despair, riddled with sin, overwhelmed by problems? Made in God’s image, we were created to have a close relationship with him; thus, when fellowship is broken, we are incomplete and need restoration. Communion with the living God is the essence of worship. It is vital, touching the very core of our lives. Perhaps this is why a whole book of the Bible is dedicated to worship. After Israel’s dramatic exit from Egypt, the nation was camped at the foot of Mount Sinai for two years to listen to God (Exodus 19 to Numbers 10). It was a time of resting, teaching, building, and meeting with him face to face. Redemption in Exodus is the foundation for cleansing, worship, and service in Leviticus.
The overwhelming message of Leviticus is the holiness of God—“You must be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (19:2). But how can unholy people approach a holy God? The answer—first sin must be dealt with. Thus the opening chapters of Leviticus give detailed instructions for offering sacrifices, which were the active symbols of repentance and obedience. Whether bulls, grain, goats, or sheep, the sacrificial offerings had to be perfect, with no defects or bruises—pictures of the ultimate sacrifice to come, Jesus, the Lamb of God. Jesus has come and opened the way to God by giving up his life as the final sacrifice in our place. True worship and oneness with God begin as we confess our sin and accept Christ as the only one who can redeem us from sin and help us approach God.
In Leviticus, sacrifices, priests, and the sacred Day of Atonement opened the way for the Israelites to come to God. God’s people were also to worship him with their lives. Thus we read of purity laws (chapters 11–15) and rules for daily living, concerning family responsibilities, sexual conduct, relationships, worldliness (chapters 18–20), and vows (chapter 27). These instructions involve one’s holy walk with God, and the patterns of spiritual living still apply today. Worship, therefore, has a horizontal aspect—that is, God is honored by our lives as we relate to others.
The final emphasis in Leviticus is celebration. The book gives instructions for the festivals. These were special, regular, and corporate occasions for remembering what God had done, giving thanks to him, and rededicating lives to his service (chapter 23). Our Christian traditions and holidays are different, but they are necessary ingredients of worship. We, too, need special days of worship and celebration with our spiritual brothers and sisters to remember God’s goodness in our lives.
As you read Leviticus, rededicate yourself to holiness, worshiping God in private confession, public service, and group celebration.
Life Application Bible Notes (Tyndale, 2007), 158.