My Study Bible reminds me that, although these rules and regulations we read in Leviticus are no longer in effect because Jesus fulfilled them all once and for all, God has not changed. He is the same Holy God today that He was when He gave Moses the Law. We can learn a lot about God’s unchanging character as we read the book of Leviticus. Here’s what I see:
- God is holy, and demands holiness of His children. His law paints a picture of that holiness. He expects us to be separate from non-believers in our worship, in the way we conduct business, the way we treat others, and in our speech.
- God is patient – but not tolerant. He never winks at sin or condones it. He always – always – punishes sin. Just look at the cross where He punished His Son without mercy for sins He did not commit, to be the perfect substitute for sinful people who deserve to be punished without mercy.
- God is just. The regulations were the same for everyone, no matter their social or financial status in the community. The rules were the rules and didn’t change just because the people didn’t like them or were offended by them. In the New Testament we hear Jesus tell us that in order to be saved, we must believe on the Son. It’s the same for every human being. It’s the “whosoever” of John 3:16.
- God looks out for the underdog. Those who are blessed have a responsibility to help those who are struggling. This is NOT a picture of our present day welfare system that keeps people in poverty. God expects His people, when we see a need, to meet that need so the needy person can get back on his feet and get back to work to provide for his own needs and reach out to other needy people who need a hand. God’s regulations, if followed, would eliminate poverty. Jesus often reached out and touched the outcast, the “less than’s” of the world. We are called to do the same because God still looks out for the underdog.
- God blesses obedience. The rules were given so He COULD bless His children. They were given so His children could live freely, safely, and in harmony. The rules were not given to enslave the people, but to free them from slavery to sin.
I see in Leviticus a God who longs to bless His children. And I am reminded that God is love. He provided a way for us to fellowship with Him (even as sinful as we are). He provided that way first through the Law, then and finally, through His precious Son, Jesus. God’s greatest joy is the intimate relationship He has with His obedient children.
God’s unchanging character is revealed through what we read in Leviticus and reinforced throughout Scripture. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever: Holy, Just, Loving, Forgiving, Compassionate, and honest enough to tell us He demands the same of us. He blesses obedience according to His riches in glory. And he punishes disobedience without mercy.
This unchanging God, who demands the impossible of sinful people, made it possible for us to obey when He died on the cross and took the punishment for our sin without mercy.
We can rest assured that God isn’t going to change the rules. We can know without a doubt that He is true to His Word. His character is unchanging. And He wants to have a relationship with you.