You’ve made it to the end of Leviticus! I know for some of you that this is your first time through this entire book. Congratulations!
A few weeks ago I asserted that this covenant read like the founding documents of a nation, like a constitution, with one significant difference. The LORD is king, not negotiating partner. The LORD is not waiting for Israel to ratify his commands before they become binding. This will be important for the Israelites to remember when they approach their inheritance – the Promised Land – which we’ll watch in the book of Numbers.
This idea is God’s kingship is clear in a few passages today. In chapter 25, when the LORD is laying down laws for managing property, He reminds them that: “…the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me.” He commands them to allow the land to rest every seventh year, to return property to its original owners every fifty years, and to deal kindly with poorer citizens. Nested in these commands is a reminder that “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.”
Chapter 26 begins promises of blessings for obedience: “…I will walk with you and be your God…” This is followed with threats of punishment for disobedience: “If you walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk contrary to you.” Notice that twice as much space is devoted to the curses as to the blessings, and consider what this says about the LORD.
The last chapter of Leviticus contains instructions for how to manage vows that people might make to the LORD. These were voluntary vows, a way of giving to the tabernacle through the sale of servants, animals, or even houses. The vows were to be taken seriously – so much so that there was a 20% penalty for attempting to “buy back” the vow, and breaking a vow outright could be condemned with death. Consider why someone would voluntarily make a vow to the LORD, then try to back out of it.
And then we come to the end. Next week the children of Israel will pull up stakes and come to the borders of Canaan, the land where all the promise of Leviticus will, we hope, be fulfilled.
Our verse for this week is Romans 5:6: For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Leviticus chapters 25 through 27. Now let’s read it!
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.