If you’re a detail person, you’ll absolutely love the book of Leviticus. Moses records chapter after chapter of prescriptions for a variety of situations covering everything from leprosy to sexual relationships, making for some interesting reading at times.
A recurring theme throughout Leviticus is God reminding His people not to be dictated by the practices of the surrounding culture. Instead, He wants them to keep His commands because He alone is their God and no other.
God describes Himself as jealous more than once throughout Scripture — not the sick kind of jealous that causes someone to stalk you — it’s more about His people giving to someone else something that rightfully belongs to Him, specifically honour, praise and worship for bringing them out of bondage. After all, God was the one who brought them out.
In the land of Egypt, countless gods were worshipped. The Hebrews picked up some of these practices which is exactly where they got the idea to worship the golden calf as their deliverer.
God wasn’t creating complex laws just for the fun of it. He knew how easily influenced His children were and sought to protect them from corruption. He walked them through a mine-field of unethical practices for their own protection. The most important thing to God was having a relationship with His people and He knew what would mess that up.
Some pagan practices involved drinking the blood of animals in defiance of God’s law concerning the blood sacrifice, undermining the soon-coming Saviour. Naturally, He didn’t want His people to take part in this and disqualify themselves from receiving their inheritance.
A good father wants only the best for his children. And God wanted His children to receive everything He had promised them. He would do everything in His power to ensure that they would not only receive their inheritance, but enjoy it and not just for a weekend. God wanted them to live in the Promised Land long-term. Because it was a land “flowing with milk and honey,” they would have to fight to possess the land and at times even fight to keep it.
There could be no legal right of the enemy to come in and take what was rightfully theirs. Thus, the law required obedience. In Leviticus 23, God ordains the feasts to be observed in remembrance of what He has done for the people up to this point, yet another reminder of who He is and what He has done for His people. Each feast encompasses significant meaning and symbolism for how God provided for His people each step of the way. In fact, Jews still commemorate those same feasts today for the same reason.
Without becoming legalistic, which commonly held practices are influencing you? For example, you could easily get caught up in the Christmas season and get focused on stuff rather than God, allowing it to become the most stressful time of the year. That would be missing the point of why Jesus came in the first place — just one example of letting the world dictate what you should be doing, thinking and feeling.
Let God speak to you about the things that are taking your focus off of Him. And be willing to make the necessary adjustments to get back on track. After all, God wants you to receive and enjoy your inheritance — first of peace — then the rest.