Leviticus 1 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“Then the L_rd commanded Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting: ‘Speak to the Israelites and tell them: Whenever any of you brings an offering to the L_rd from the livestock, you may bring your offering from the herd or flock.’” Leviticus 1:1-2
The oldest name for the book of Leviticus is: “The Law of the Priests”. Today, it is known in Judaism as the book of “Vayyikra”. In modern Judaism, the names of the books of the Bible are taken from their opening Hebrew words. Vayyikra means: “and He called” (commanded).
The fundamental concepts of the book are quite clear. Half of the book deals with sacrifice and the laws that safeguard the priestly character of Israel; and the other half with Holiness and the sanctification (setting-apart) of human life, unto the L_rd.
In ancient times, every Jewish child began his study of Scripture in Leviticus. The idea put-forth by the rabbis was, “Because children are ‘pure’ and the sacrifices are pure, let those who are pure come and occupy themselves with pure things.” (midrash)
Now, we all know nobody is born “pure”, for we are all born into sin, through Adam. It may take a few months to realize it, but all babies are born sinners…otherwise, why else would we need a book about how to properly sacrifice and atone for sin? Why else would it be so important for this particular book to be the first one taught to children?
But there is One who knew no sin, original or otherwise…and He, the Word made flesh, would have been taught from the Torah as a young boy. Interesting, how the One who would grow up and Himself be the sacrifice for all sin, would have been taught “how to sacrifice” as His first Biblical lesson.
Chapters 1-7 define the laws of sacrifice for the individual, for the congregation, and for priests. Chapters 8-10 describe the inauguration of worship in the completed Tabernacle. Chapters 11-17 deal with the laws of clean & unclean, of purity and purification, culminating in the institution of the Day of Atonement. (It also explains why you can’t order a cheeseburger or shrimp & lobster at any restaurant in Israel!) Chapters 18-26 legislate marriage, personal and social ethics (Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself), the Sacred Festivals, and land tenure. It concludes with a solemn exhortation on the connection between Religion and national welfare…a subject which is probably on every Believer’s mind at this season of American history!!
If you have never read Leviticus, you probably have an “Oy vey!” (woe is me!) attitude about the endeavor. Stick with it because Leviticus is quite dynamic…and it is so easy, that even a Jewish child could grasp it! Are you smarter than a Jewish 5th grader?
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Friday, April 11, 2014