God intended for the laws in the book of Leviticus to set His chosen people apart from others in the ancient near eastern culture in which they lived. He intended to mark His people as uniquely belonging to Him. And He intended for His people to live an uninterrupted lifestyle of worship.
Leviticus 23-27 may seem like a bunch of random laws at first glance. But I see a consistent theme of worship here that points to God’s ultimate purpose in redemption. Prior to the fall in Genesis 3, God’s people lived in an uninterrupted rhythm of shalom (peace) with each other and with God. Sin broke that rhythm. Just as God said it would, our sin has resulted in broken relationships with each other and with Him – triggering His great rescue plan through the nation of Israel, the cross of Christ, and the church. God’s people were redeemed by Him to be worshippers of Him, to restore the rhythm of unbroken relationship that existed in the garden.
In Leviticus 23, we see this rhythm of worship in the annual calendar of feasts Israel was to observe. When shalom is restored to our relationships with God and each other, celebration results. These feasts foreshadow God’s ultimate restoration of all things in the new heaven and new earth, which Christ compared to a lavish feast. (Matthew 22 & 25)
In Leviticus 24, the oil and the bread symbolize God’s people living in His presence, and warnings against blasphemy against God’s name and disrespecting human life remind us that God desires for us to live in peace with Him and with other people.
In Leviticus 25, the Sabbath year (every 7th year) and the year of Jubilee (every 50th year) remind us that God owns everything and that He cares about the poor and oppressed.
Leviticus 26 sets forth blessings for those who submit to God’s government of their lives and punishments for those who do not submit. This chapter serves as a reminder that God’s grace and His judgment do coexist and do not contradict themselves. In other words, God is perfectly gracious and loving and also perfectly just and righteous at the same time.
And Leviticus 27 reminds us that God takes seriously our vows to Him. God keeps His word to His people, and He expects us to do likewise.
All of Leviticus 23-27 emphasizes that God has redeemed His people to be worshippers of Him. The life of a believer is NOT legalistic adherence to a rigid moral code, but loving obedience motivated by a heart of worship.
What we love reveals so much about the condition of our heart. Do you love God? Do you love others?
Jesus said that all of the law could be summed up like this:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”(Luke 10:27)
How are you doing at that?