Monday, June 14, 2010

Lessons from Leviticus- part I

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Lessons from Leviticus- part I

The 90 day Bible challenge took me through Leviticus last week and I absolutely loved my reading. I know Leviticus is not the book of the Bible most people think of when they want to soak in doctrinal truth, but I was amazed at what I learned this time through. I think Leviticus may be much more rich in doctrine than I’ve previously given it credit for. Probably no one else out there is interested in this, but I want to record a few of the lessons I’ve learned from Leviticus in a mini-series.

The first lesson I learned from my reading of Leviticus this time was about the pervasiveness of sin.

Leviticus 8 gives specific instructions concerning the ordination of the priests.

“Then Moses presented the other ram, which was the ram of ordination. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, and Moses slaughtered it. Then Moses took some of its blood and applied it to the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, the thumb of his right hand, and the big toe of his right foot. Next Moses presented Aaron’s sons and applied some of the blood to the lobes of their right ears, the thumbs of their right hands, and the big toes of their right feet. He then splattered the rest of the blood against all sides of the altar.” Leviticus 8:22-24

God had established from Genesis that sin can only be atoned for by blood. And Hebrews 10 reminds us that the blood of animals was never sufficient for the forgiveness of sins, but only served as a type or shadow of the forgiveness that was to come from the death of Christ on the cross, the Lamb of God whose sacrifice is sufficient to atone for our sins.

I love that Aaron and his sons first lay their hands on the ram’s head, symbolically transferring their own sin and guilt to the ram that is to be sacrificed. What a vivid reminder of the gravity of sin this would be.

But the new thought to me from this passage in Leviticus was about the sprinkling of the blood from the sacrifice on their ear lobes, right thumbs, and right big toes. We have an expression in English that conveys the idea of something being all pervasive. If someone is a little bit wet, you might say they’re damp. If they’re quite wet in some or most parts of their body, you might say they’re wet or even soaked. If they’re completely wet all over their body, you might say that they’re wet from head to toe. This is the expression that came to mind when I read the above passage in Leviticus. I’m no theologian, but I think this may be the idea here. It wasn’t enough to just apply the sacrificial blood to the hands of the priests, although this would be logical since it is with their hands that they minister to the Lord in the tabernacle. But, it wasn’t enough because they were completely depraved, totally affected by sin from head to toe. And so are we. That’s the bad news.

But God … (I love those two words). But God, in His infinite wisdom and love has had a perfect plan from eternity past to redeem for Himself a people that He would set apart as His own. A sinful people. And not just a little sinful, but a people with a sin problem so pervasive as to be terminal, barring the Lord’s intervention. But intervene, He did.

“Healthy people don’t need a doctor- sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Mark 2:17

That’s the good news.

Jesus is saying there is no salvation for those who fail to recognize the depths of their own sin. The self-righteous Pharisees who were so quick to criticize Christ for associating with a tax gatherer (a sinner indeed!), neglected to see how serious their own sin problem was. They hadn’t learned the lesson of Leviticus 8.

Coming to terms with our total depravity is the first step in understanding the depth of God’s love for us. The more in touch we become with how completely depraved we are, the more grateful we become for God’s love for us that caused Him to stoop down from His holy hill and rescue us. There is no appreciation for the sacrifice of Christ, apart from the realization of how very damned we are by our own sin.  I know this isn't popular preaching today, but I think it's one of many lessons from Leviticus we would do well to take to heart.


  1. Great post....I love Lev. and the other books of the Torah...there is so much to learn and makes my appreciation for what Jesus has done grow even more.

  2. Well said!
    We all need to be reminded of the seriousness of our sinfulness. Thank you for your thoughts today. As Timothy says (not sure of the exact verse) that ALL Scripture is God breathed and is useful for doctrine, for reproof, etc.....can't remember the exact verse, but you know what I am talking about. All of God's Word teaches us.
    Have a great day!



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.