3 minutes reading time (641 words)

A Call to Holiness (Leviticus)

The Tabernacle
Leviticus 11:45 "I am the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy."

As we journey through the story of God's love for His people, we end the book of Exodus and begin the book of Leviticus in an awkward spot. God has led His people through the wilderness, forgiven their grumblings, and now seeks to dwell with them in the Tabernacle they built. God dwells in the Tabernacle, but, as we see in Leviticus 1, people are not allowed in the Tabernacle with Him. They cannot exist in the same location as God, creating a major dilemma in the story. God created humans to be in relationship with Him, and now they can't even dwell in the same location. And why is that? Because God is holy and we are not.

The concept of holiness is a hard one to grasp for a number of reasons. For one, we, as humans, are not holy. We lost that in the garden. Adam and Eve's initial sin led to the degradation of a thriving relationship with God until "every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood."(Genesis 8:21) Humans, if left to ourselves, are hopelessly unholy, resorting to whatever devices offer us temporary worth and pleasure. A second reason that we are not able to grasp holiness is, due to our unholiness, we are not able to actually visualize or conceptualize what true holiness is like in our everyday lives. What does it look like to be perfectly Good and perfectly Just and perfectly Loving all at the same time? We don't really know, and it hurts our heads just trying to comprehend it. God's holiness is not something we can obtain on our own. Humankind cannot make itself holy.

This fact must have been staring the Israelites in the face as they watched God's presence rest on the Tabernacle. They must have been overwhelmed by the fact that their relationship with God was broken and seemingly unfixable. God was right there in their camp yet somehow extremely distant and untouchable.
But thankfully, God's holiness doesn't stop with Him; it includes us. Throughout the book of Leviticus, God provides a way for the people to be holy, to join him in the Tabernacle. God's instructions in Leviticus provide the Israelites an avenue for them to restore their relationship with Him, giving us a glimpse of just how Good and Loving He is.

First, God instructs His people on various offerings they could bring to Him. Those offerings had two main purposes: to thank God and to atone for the Israelites' sins. In those offerings, God, through the blood of animals, forgives His people and allows them to please Him. The animals take the punishment for God's people and allow them to actively participate in their relationship with Him. Second, God establishes a priesthood, men who could enter into His presence on behalf of the people. They represented the Israelites as mediators, presenting offerings to God. Finally, God gives His people specific instructions on how to live their lives. These instructions were thorough, detailing moral codes, diet plans, and wardrobe requirements. God is illustrating to His people that being holy and having a relationship with Him involves every aspect of their lives, a preface to Jesus, who perfectly exemplified how to live a life in which every aspect is committed to God.

Leviticus is a book that epitomizes God's love for His people. At the beginning, Israel is a motley, sinful group of people with no way of having a relationship with God. Through God's grace, Leviticus ends with God dwelling with the Israelites and them actively participating in His goodness and grace. Leviticus shows us how a perfect, holy God allows imperfect, unholy people to walk with Him. 

Behold
Exodus Trivia
 

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Wednesday, 19 January 2022

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