Learning to Love Leviticus: Why So Many Laws?
“Then the Lord summoned Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting” Leviticus 1:1 HCSB
Before the book of Leviticus, Moses was appointed by God to save the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Moses and God were like best buds; they spoke regularly and comfortably like two friends would (Exodus 33:11).
But when the Israelites rebelled against God (Exodus 32), the relationship between man and God was broken once again. God wanted to wipe them all out, but Moses pleaded for forgiveness and mercy. Once again, God showed how gracious and loving He is by giving them a second chance.
“The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” Psalm 103:8 NLT
Notice how at the beginning of the book of Leviticus Moses could not enter the tent of meeting – the tent where the Lord’s presence was. That is why the Lord spoke to Moses from the tent rather than speaking with him in the tent.
God desired to be close to His people, he wanted to communicate with them, and the tent was supposed to accomplish this. But God is holy and we are sinful and those two features simply do not mix – ever. So something had to be done to restore the relationship.
“I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!” Ezekiel 36:25-28 MSG
We may read through Leviticus and feel as though God was restricting the Israelites as punishment for their rebellion. But I would like to look at these laws from a different angle.
Maybe God put these laws in place to give the Israelites a clearer view of His character. Maybe these laws were an invitation to be free from sin, have a better relationship with God, and better interactions with others.
“Stay on the path that the LORD your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.” Deuteronomy 5:33 NLT
If you look at the book after Leviticus, you will see that “the Lord spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting…” (Numbers 1:1 HCSB). The laws created a way for people to be in God’s presence, and later Jesus would make that even more possible for us today.
That is a gift of grace, of peace, of rest – a gift we would never want to be without.
“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.” John 3:17 TLB