I’m going to be honest, I’ve been a little stuck in the book of Leviticus recently.
I don’t think I’m alone either. My guess is, most people who attempt to read the Bible through in a year occasionally get stuck. Maybe it’s during the last half of Exodus when God is laying out blueprints for the tabernacle and its accouterments. Perhaps its during the genealogies of Genesis or the census in Numbers. There are a lot of places in the Old Testament that have the potential to slow us down as we read.
Since I became a Christian, I’ve gotten stuck at least once in nearly every nook and cranny of the Old Testament. And if I’m going to get stuck, Leviticus is usually the first place.
Well, let me put it to you this way: In the five chapters of the Bible that I just read, I heard about dietary requirements, after-birth procedures, circumcision, leprosy (both on bodies and in homes), nocturnal emissions, and menstruation.
I’m not exactly standing on the spiritual Mount of Transfiguration here.
I feel more like someone substituted my copy of the scriptures for a high school health textbook.
I’m reminded of an important lesson in all of this talk about leprosy, rabbits, and bodily discharges. I’m reminded that God is not merely interested in us on Sunday from 10-11:30am. The Christian life isn’t something that only consists of worship songs and sermons. Jesus isn’t satisfied being King of our spiritual lives. He wants control over every millimeter of our existence (and all of creation to boot). He is concerned even with the mundane, ordinariness of our lives.
Through the laws of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, God is trying to communicate with his people the fact that he must be the defining feature of their lives. He is the one that dictates what they do and don’t do, where they go and don’t go, what they say and don’t say, how they live and don’t live.
He’s not something we add onto our lives.
He is our lives.
And that’s exactly what Paul says in Colossians when he writes, “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory” (Col. 3:1-4).
If Christians today need anything, they need a clearer picture of this: Christ is our life.
And if he’s our life, then he should affect everything we say, think, do, believe, and are. He should color our interactions with others, the things we eat, our understanding of sex and health, how we steward and care for creation, and everything in-between.
We’re not looking for a mere spiritual change; as Christians, we look for utter transfiguration.
And utter transfiguration means everything.
Even leprosy, rabbits, and bodily discharges.
Oh, and By the Way…
I was really excited yesterday when I came across a podcast by Dr. Michael Heiser who is an ancient Semitic language scholar (he works at Logos Bible Software). He recently did a series of podcasts that works its way through the entirety of Leviticus, one or two chapters at a time. I haven’t gotten to listen to all of these but from what I’ve heard, they’re excellent and shed a lot of light on Leviticus.
If you’re interested in checking them out, you can visit his podcast website here.