The first five books of the Old Testament are called the Pentateuch and were written by Moses under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is interesting to consider the focus of each book. For example –
1. In Genesis we see the ruin of mankind because of sin.
2. In Exodus we see God redeeming His people with His mighty power.
3. Leviticus is all about fellowship with God provided or made possible through atonement.
4. Numbers show us how God will guide us as we journey through life.
5. In Deuteronomy we see people reaching their destination after being disciplined by God.
Dr. J. Sidlow Baxter enriches our study of these books when he sees the following in these five books.
1. Genesis reveals Divine Sovereignty. (One of my favorite attributes of God).
2. Exodus reveals Divine Power. (God is Almighty).
3. Leviticus, we see Divine Holiness. (God is pure and perfect).
4. Numbers show us Divine Goodness and Severity. (God disciplines those He loves).
5. In Deuteronomy we see Divine Faithfulness. (Our God will never let us down).
Today I want us to take a closer look at the book of Leviticus. It is strategically placed in the center of the five books. In this book, our God calls us to be a holy people. In 19:2 we read, “You shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.” We were created in His likeness and image. It stands to reason that He would want us to be holy as well.
The book is divided into two parts:
A. Chapters 1-17 have to do with the tabernacle.
B. Chapters 18-27 deal with the character and conduct of people who have been set apart for the glory of God.
Again, I take us to Dr. Baxter and his insights here-
A. The first section of the book shows the way to God by means of sacrifice.
B. The second section of the book focuses on our walk with God, through sanctification or being separated exclusively to God.
C. Section One teaches us the propitiatory basis of fellowship with God.
D. Section two focuses on the believer’s behavior as he/she is in fellowship with God.
In the balance of this meditation, I want us to focus on God calling us to be a holy people. I see three basic reasons why we should commit to being a holy people.
1. We should want to be a holy people because our God is holy. In chapter 18 we read, “Then the LORD spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘I am the LORD your God. According to the doings of the land of Egypt where you dwell, you shall not do, and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do, nor shall you walk in their ordinances. You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances to walk in them: I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.”
2. The next reason that we should be a holy people living holy lives is that our High Priest is holy. The Old Testament tabernacle consisted of three distinct parts – the outer court, the holy place, and the holy of holies. The nation of Israel also was composed of three distinct parts- the congregation, the priesthood, and the High Priest.
a. Our High Priest is the LORD JESUS CHRIST. He never sinned but He bore our sins and atoned for them on the cross of Calvary. He ascended back to heaven where He ever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). In Hebrews 9:11 we read, “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not this creation.”
3. A third reason we should be a holy people is that the Holy Spirit who indwells in us is holy. He is always at work within us to produce a holy life. Listen to Paul’s perspective in 1 Cor. 3:16, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” In 1 Cor. 6:19-20 he wrote, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which is God’s”.
The Holy Spirit working in us wants to produce a holy life. We need to learn to walk in concert with the Holy Spirit. It is important that we use our bodies in a way that honors God. Most of us know right from wrong. The Holy Spirit will always prompt us to use our minds and our bodies in a way that pleases the God who has redeemed us for Himself.
Consider Joseph when he served in Potiphar’s home. The official’s wife became very interested in Joseph and tried to get him into bed with her. She was there for the taking, but Joseph was a man of principle and he refused her advances. One day she grabbed for him and got his cloak, but he fled. She began to scream, “Rape, Rape!” The end result was Joseph went to prison, but he retained his integrity and holy life.
The Holy Spirit will always prompt us to do what is right and honoring to our God. If we really love the Christ who paid the ultimate price to redeem us, we will make tough choices that are right. I plead with you to join with me in determining we will be a holy people for a Holy God.
By His grace,