By Toni Ford
Have you ever heard of the Book of Leviticus in the Bible? Some people might have heard of it, but like me, have not really spent much time reading it. In times past when I read Leviticus for my daily reading plan, I remember thinking that it was just a book written to the Jewish people with lots of details and laws regarding diet, how to offer sacrifices, proper social behavior and other instructions on daily living in their homes and communities. As a result, I would hurry through the book, thinking it did not really apply to me.
When it came time to read Leviticus in my one-year Bible plan this year, however, I decided to do a little more digging into the book’s background. As a result, I learned that Leviticus is the first book studied and learned by Jewish children in the synagogue, and yet in the church today, it seems to be the last part of the Bible Christians read. I also learned that within all the details and instructions, we discover the holiness, the separateness and the distinction of our God. The lessons in Leviticus are not limited to the Jews in Israel alone but the spiritual principles in this book apply to Christians in the church today.
Here are just a couple of those spiritual principles:
God is holy. The Hebrew word for “holy” used here in Leviticus means “that which is set apart and marked off, that which is different.” Our English word “holy” comes from the Old English word “halig,” which means, “to be whole, to be healthy.” What health is to the body, holiness is to the inner person. Anything God said that was holy had to be treated differently from the common things of life. Our God is the complete definition of holiness. In his love, his character, his nature and in all areas, He is set apart – whole, different and whole. Take a minute and let that thought sink in – that the God you serve is a holy God, perfect in every way and set apart from all other gods and religions. He alone is completely whole! It is so hard to fathom but oh, so true!
God desires for His children to be holy. God’s original plan and purpose for the nation of Israel was to be as Exodus 19:6 states, “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Everything in the Book of Leviticus is directions for the Jews on how to live a “holy” life, set apart for God’s exclusive use. The Jews were set apart, distinguished by their diet, their treatment of newborn babies and their handling of people with diseases. God’s church is supposed to be a “holy nation” in this present evil world. We are to be set apart from the world and live a life that is distinguished from the world. We cannot do this on our own, and we must recognize our need for Him in order to live a holy life. However, God longs to help us in this area, be our support and teach us how to live a holy life. It can be done; otherwise, God would never have said eight times in His Word, “Be holy, for I am holy!”
Lord, today we thank you that we serve a holy God! One who is set apart like none other, and one who longs for us to be holy as well. Today we pray for your strength to make us holy. Open our eyes and hearts to things around us that are not holy and give us wisdom and strength in those situations. We love you and thank you for your perfect love towards us.