This past weekend I found myself in Leviticus. I had already finished Genesis and Exodus this year, so it was time to turn to Leviticus.
As I read, I was struck by the fact that the priests do an awful lot of stuff with the sacrifices in the first seven chapters of this too-often neglected book. Here’s an example of just one type of sacrifice:
He is to slaughter the bull before the LORD; Aaron’s sons the priests are to present the blood and sprinkle it on all sides of the altar that is at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Then he must skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces. The sons of Aaron the priest will prepare a fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Aaron’s sons the priests are to arrange the pieces, the head, and the suet on top of the burning wood on the altar. The offerer must wash its entrails and shanks with water. Then the priest will burn all of it on the altar as a burnt offering, a fire offering of a pleasing aroma to the LORD.Leviticus 1:5-9 (HCSB, emphasis added)
They move parts around on the altar, burn some things, toss other things. Seven whole chapters describe this stuff. And too often we pass right over it because it’s boring.
That’s a shame.
Because the same God gave us the interesting stories we find in Genesis, the stories of Jesus in Matthew through John, and the fantastical images in Revelation. This is the same God who said, “Do all these sacrificial things and remain holy.”
It is a different style of writing, certainly! But that doesn’t make it either any less God’s Word or any less applicable for our lives.
As i read these seven chapters, they made me think about something Paul said in Romans 12:1.
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.Romans 12:1 (HCSB)
If we read Leviticus 1-7 carefully, it will jump off the page at us, just how hands-on the priests were with the portions of different sacrifices. This is incredibly important when we look at these passages in light of Romans 12:1.
God called us to be living sacrifices. We are alive. But we are still to be sacrifices.
What did the sacrifices in Leviticus 1-7 do?
Because they were dead, they were entirely passive and submissive to the will of the priest who was offering them.
Jesus is our High Priest.
When Paul tells us to offer our bodies as “living sacrifices,” he is telling us to submit to God in everything. Just like dead sacrifices can’t fight against the will of the priest, we must not resist Jesus.
It’s easier said than done, but this must be our goal every day. We must pray daily, “Lord, crucify my desires, and make them line up with Yours. Lead me and guide me in the path You have for me this day.”
In this with you.
Soli Deo Gloria
Thanks for reading.