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Leviticus: Who Can Approach God? (4 of 10)
Through the Bible Series
February 3, 2002
Introduction: Leviticus, the third book of the Bible, is a lot like that killer hill in the Boston Marathon. All runs fear that incline about three-quarters of the way through the race. If a runner has anything left at that point, "Heartbreak Hill" is likely to drain it right out of him for sure. Leviticus has done that to a lot of Bible readers. Well- intentioned readers start on January 1 full of resolve to read the entire Bible through. Three or four chapters a day doesn't seem like much.
Like with any book, they think they should start at the beginning. All goes well through the early excitement of Genesis. A few stumble at the genealogies here and there but manage to continue on. Exodus with its burning bush, the plagues of Egypt, the Red Sea, and the Ten Commandments rev the reader's engine again. By the time most beginning readers struggle through the last half of Exodus, they're enthusiasm has slowed considerably. Then they hit Leviticus!
Leviticus is tough sledding. Many just give up on the whole project right there. Wiser readers just skim or skip through Leviticus and go right to Numbers. A lot just turn to the back of the book and try the New Testament for a while. That's probably would have been a better strategy to begin with.
What's so tough about Leviticus? Except for our text (Lev. 10), there is little action and no plot. It is like reading a very strange set of by-laws or a rulebook. Leviticus has 27 chapters, the shortest yet. Its name comes from the tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe of Israel. Only those from the tribe of Levi could have anything to do with the transportation and operation of the tabernacle, the mobile temple at which Israel worshipped during the forty years in the wilderness and for nearly five hundred years after.
Leviticus contains lots of strange laws and customs by our ...
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