Lessons From A Boring Book
by Josh Fults
“Leviticus is my favorite book in the Bible to read”, said no one ever. In fact, Leviticus has been responsible for the demise of many a person’s intention to read through the Bible in a year. Genesis starts off interesting. The world goes to hell in a hand basket thanks to the original couple, Noah takes an intense cruise, and Abraham receives several amazing promises. The stories continue to be interesting through Exodus. Then the reader hits the wall known as: Leviticus. Dry. Technical. Foreign. It is hard to push through (This is one reason I never recommended starting in Genesis and reading straight though, balance it with some readings from the New Testament).
Recently, my devotional reading landed me in Leviticus. Drat. I wanted more of the good stories. As I was reading through this dizzying book, I noticed that I was just trudging through. Yea, yea, yea. Specifications, skin diseases, sacrifices, clean foods, etc. I got it. No reason to really linger here.
While I was reading, I decided to step back. I know there is a lot here. I have just never taken the time to really dig into this book. I chose to slow down and stop speed-reading through the text. I asked myself, what are some of the big themes presented here, and I was really struck by what became so abundantly clear.
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First, the Hebrew people had a daily, physical reminder of the price of sin. There was no doubt that sin demanded a high premium be paid. They would witness the slaughter of an innocent animal, in gory detail, due to their sinful actions. They continually were reminded that death and sin are inextricably linked. Death is always on the heels of sin. The Israelites also felt the cost of sin in their pocketbooks. Depending on their social standing and income, sacrifices to atone for sin were costly.
Can you imagine living in this culture? It seems so foreign to our modern minds. When we sin, we simply confess it to God and repent, and we are relieved from the burden of our transgressions. Rarely, are we reminded of the price that sin exacts. Sure, we see sin cost us with the consequences we often pay. We see it ruin relationships, mental and emotional health, and our finances, but we aren’t reminded daily of the death that follows sin.
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