I’ll admit left to itself, without any understanding of context, it can lack capturing our attention. Hollywood has so destroyed our ability to read literature any more.
Here is what must be known to read Leviticus:
*God is holy.
*God expects his people to be holy.
*God desire to live among his people but has high standards that must be maintained.
*God is serious about holiness.
Look at the word cloud above for the book of Leviticus. What word and whose name appears more than any other in the book? The Lord. He is the most important thing in the whole book. Not us and not our ideas.
Because God does have a pretty good idea about what it looks like to live with people in harmony. That lack of harmony is sin. Sin has consequences. The cost of those consequences is high and time consuming. Look at all they had to do to fix the error of their ways.
We have Jesus now. Our sins are forgiven at the mere awareness of our sin by the Holy Spirit and confession of that sin to Father. However, we still may have to deal with the consequences of our sin. Many times our decisions and sins get us in a real pickle. It destroys a whole bunch of stuff. That is why the saying, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, cost you more than you are willing to pay, and keep you longer than you are willing to stay” reverberates in my memory. Sin is ugly. Sin stinks. Sin is messy. God hates sin and so should we.
Leviticus contains information given to the Israelites while they were camped in the wilderness by Mount Sinai: instructions regarding management of sacred space (the tabernacle), sacred status (God’s people), and sacred time (in the festivals). These were considered important for maintaining holiness for God’s presence, which was at the center of their lives. Sacred times must be identified, maintained by the priests, and observed. Sacred space must be guarded and its holiness preserved. The status of priests and people must be regulated by specific guidelines so they don’t desecrate God’s presence. God is holy, and Israel is expected to be holy so his presence can remain in their midst.
Walton, Strauss, Cooper. The Essential Bible Companion. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.