Who wants to read Leviticus? Not me!
And yet, my husband and I are attending a Wednesday night Bible study of Leviticus. We didn’t sign up because we were so eager to read this not so popular book. We signed up because the teaching team of three is so great and we thought it may actually be an opportunity to understand this confusing book a bit.
Three weeks in, we have covered the first 15 chapters. We don’t like reading all the rules and procedures . . . but we are. Our heads were swimming the first two weeks but last night a lightbulb came on. We are encouraged!
We tend to look at all the dos and don’ts of the sacrifices and how to stay ritually clean by eating the right foods and following the right procedures after childbirth and during skin conditions like leprosy . . . and on and on. Why? Why these meticulous rules? Why these animals and not those? One of our teachers said he did a study of various scholars and found quite a variety of answers. So, apparently no one really knows the whys.
With last night’s teaching I realized the details of the rules do not matter. It’s not so much about following this rule or that one . . . it’s about trusting God and loving Him enough to obey Him without asking why.
One of our teachers shared a story from C.S. Lewis about Eve. She was on an island that sat within a group of islands. One of the islands was perfect (think Garden of Eden) but she left it every night to sleep on one of the other islands, returning to the perfect island the next day. When asked why she did that, she explained God had told her to. Her questioner asked why He would tell her to do such a thing? She didn’t know why. All she knew was that she loved Him and wanted to do whatever He asked . . . without question. She trusted Him. And the lightbulb came on for me.
I thought about the military. They way they are trained to obey orders without hesitation. Of course, motives are entirely different here–it’s not an act of love but it is training that could someday save their lives.
I thought about the Garden of Eden in Genesis. We never ask why God told them they couldn’t eat that particular fruit. We don’t wonder if it was unhealthy. Maybe even poison. No, we just know God asked for them to trust and obey Him, and we all know how that turned out.
Back to the instructions in Leviticus. Maybe it’s not so important to understand the rules. But it is important to trust God and love Him enough to obey Him, no matter what. And to remember that all this teaching ultimately points to Jesus. Our need for Him. The once and for all sacrifice He made for us. That when we receive Him as Lord and Savior, He covers us with His righteousness.
In the class they also talked about the woman in the New Testament who had experienced a bleeding problem for years. No doctors could help her. But she believed in Jesus. She knew if she could just touch the hem of His garment, she would be healed. And she was. Jesus said her faith had made her whole. She had made the transition from the Law to the Person. The Fulfiller of the Law.
The words to an old hymn come to mind. “There is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”
There is so much more to the book of Leviticus. God’s holiness. Atonement. And more. But I praise God for this moment of light and trust him for more lightbulbs along the way.