06 January 2015

BSF 2014-2-15: Leviticus 1-7, 11-15, 17-24

Welcome back! When we left the Israelites in December, they had built the Tabernacle according to God’s instructions, and God came down from Heaven to dwell with them. Now we’re moving on to the book of Leviticus, which is a continuation of the book of Exodus. In Leviticus, God gives His people specific instructions for how to worship Him and how to live a holy life. While many of these regulations do not apply to us today, the main truth of this book still is true – God is holy and calls His people to be holy.

To start, here is a brief outline of the book of Leviticus:

  • In chapters 1 to 7, God shows the Israelites how to deal with the barrier of sin.
  • In chapters 8 to 10, God reveals the need for and the role of the mediator between God and man.
  • In chapters 11 to 15, God explains purification rights for health concerns.
  • In chapter 16, God gives instructions about the Day of Atonement.
  • In chapters 17 to 27, God lists the laws that distinguish Israel from all other nations.

Let’s start off with examining the five offerings described in the first seven chapters:

  • Burnt offering – This was a voluntary offering that made a payment for sins in general. The burnt offering points to Jesus and shows that His death was the perfect sacrifice.
  • Grain offering – This was a voluntary offering that showed honor and respect to God in worship and acknowledges that everything the people had belonged to God. The grain offering points to Jesus as the perfect Man who gave all of Himself to God and to us.
  • Fellowship offering – This was a voluntary offering that expressed gratitude to God and symbolized peace and fellowship with Him. The fellowship offering points to Jesus as the only way to fellowship with God.
  • Sin offering – This was a required offering that made a payment for unintentional sins. The sin offering points to Jesus’ death as the payment for sins and the way we are restored to fellowship with God.
  • Guilt offering – This was a required offering that made a payment for sins against God and others. A sacrifice was made to God, and the injured person also was compensated. The guilt offering points to the fact that Jesus’ death takes away the deadly consequences of sin.

These offerings were a step of faith. The Israelites believed that their sins were represented in the offerings and that God forgave their sins because He took his wrath out on the offerings instead of the people. All of the offerings point to Christ as the ultimate sacrifice.

We don’t make these types of sacrifices today. Instead, God calls us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2).

In chapters 11 to 15 and 17 to 24, God gives instructions for living. He instructs the Israelites about clean and unclean food, about caring for people with skin diseases, about dealing with health concerns and about avoiding sexual immorality.

God told His people not to follow other people's practices but to obey His commands. All of these instructions demonstrate how the Israelites were to be different than all other nations. God called them to be holy because He is holy (Leviticus 11:45).

If you serve this same holy God, He also calls you to be holy.

Things to Think About

  • To give myself as a living sacrifice is to set aside my desires to follow God, to leave my energy and resources at His disposal and to trust Him to lead me.
  • God calls believers to live lives of purity.
  • A life of purity is a life free from evil. I can purify my life through confession, worship and prayer.
  • Will I choose to walk away from sin and seek to meet God’s high standards of purity?