Have you ever studied the book of Leviticus? Yeah, me neither. At least, not until a few months ago. I have to admit I wasn’t too excited when I realized that was the next book in the reading plan I’ve been following. I even found it funny that the study guide introduced Leviticus with the fun fact that it is one of the least read books in the Bible. It covers an array of topics including personal health, sexual relationships, childbirth, diseases, skin rashes, mold infestations, and even baldness. Sounds riveting, doesn’t it?
I remember thinking as I started the study, “How can this possibly relate to my life right now?” The entire book is literally word after word, page after page of instructions to the Israelites concerning the rules and regulations that God required for a life of holiness. And some of it is just plain gross… blood, guts, discharges… TMI for sure!
But seriously, when I look back on studying that overlooked book in the Old Testament, I become overwhelmed thinking about what I learned. Three months later I still catch myself pulling out that study guide and rereading portions of it. Why? Because reading Leviticus brought me face-to-face with the severity of sin. My sin.
You see, God had called Israel to be holy. They were a nation set-apart to be an example to other nations of the benefits and blessings of living a holy life in communion with a holy God.
Be holy because I am holy. – Leviticus 11:45b, NIV
There was just one issue… they were human. And that meant they were sinners. So God created the Law to ultimately show them that keeping a list of rules was unattainable and that they were in desperate need of help.
And there-in lies the beauty of this graphically disgusting book. When you read between the lines of all the animal sacrifices you realize we don’t have to do that anymore. Jesus finished that once and for all. God had the plan for our redemption from the beginning and in His grace, He sent us Jesus. “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:9).
God’s grace is big! We expect to receive it yet have little intention of offering it to others. In our minds, no one deserves it like we do. But the truth is, no one deserves it period.
My challenge to you is to give grace. Give grace to that mom whose toddler is losing their mind in the checkout line. Give grace to your friend who just keeps on making bad decision after bad decision. Give grace to the driver that just cut you off in traffic. Give grace because it has been given to you.