God Comes to Us: Lent in Leviticus | The Speckled Goat: God Comes to Us: Lent in Leviticus


God Comes to Us: Lent in Leviticus

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I kept a journal as a kid. Probably not a super surprising confession for someone who now has a blog.

I think some of my interest in writing down my thoughts came from that “Dear Diary” series (remember those?), and inspired some really stellar “I’m sure this will never be published, but…” entries with flowery language. Some of the entries are really funny, looking back, and some are interesting glimpses into my development- different handwriting, progressing vocabulary.

I think I have about seven different “diaries,” all with blank pages at the end where I gave up on them after a few weeks or a few months and then started fresh. The blue one with the unicorn on the cover is my favorite “volume,” with lots of wonderful descriptions of my family driving me crazy. It’s so funny to look at the big issues of my childhood.

There is one journal, though, that I like to avoid looking back on. 

The cover is shiny and red, the pages unlined. My handwriting is round and bubbly in this one, but tiny, and I can almost feel the tension in those tightly scrawled black words. 

This journal is really just a list of my faults. 

For about a month, I kept meticulous record of all the things I did wrong every day. My thinking was, if I could write out everything I’d messed up, all the sins I’d committed, I could teach myself to stop sinning.  That way, I would be good enough. I could earn God’s mercy, pay my own way, reduce my debt to zero, and I’d be all good with God.

That shiny red journal is painful to read- first because it’s so harsh. I gave myself no mercy at all, told it like it was, and looking back at my sins and failures just isn’t much fun—especially because I’ve made so little progress in some areas. But more than that, the red journal is a reminder of the way I often think of God.

The work ethic and no-free-ride mentality that my particular society espouses results in one messed up vision of God.

Somehow, I thought that to get to Him, I had to do everything right. Follow a bunch of rules, and then I’d find my way to God.

The truth is, I can never be holy like He is holy. The Fall made sure of that. My sin nature, the very fabric of my soul, is damaged by the evil of the world. There’s absolutely nothing I can do to be with Him. He’s holy, and I’m so, so not.

Want proof of that?

Just check out the book of Leviticus! Filled with rules and regulations and rituals, Leviticus can be so… daunting.

God outlines what holiness looks like… and there’s no way. First off, I love shrimp. But really, who can follow all those laws? And if we can’t possibly accomplish all that, then why does God give them to us, anyway?

While Leviticus is often seen as just another impossible rule book that doesn’t have any bearing on our lives today, it’s actually much more than that.

God wants to be with humanity. 

We’ve screwed it all up, but He gives us laws to help restore a measure of Eden here on our fallen world. God wants a relationship with us- but He also can’t abide unholiness, or He wouldn’t be God. So instead of condemning us to a life apart from Him, God begins to make a way.

He gave the rulebook of Leviticus to the Israelites so that they could approach the throne room of God by following His commands.

But here’s the thing- the Israelites couldn’t do it.

If they had had a shiny red journal, it would have been as full as mine was. They screw everything up. They forget to do stuff they’re supposed to do. And just like me, they fall short of the holiness of God.

That’s where the sacrifices come in. Not only does God give the Israelites a way to follow Him, but He gives them an out when they mess it all up. He gives them a way to say thank you. He gives them away to express their devotion to Him.

And, like everything in the Bible, Leviticus points to God’s redemption plan for all of humanity- the greatest Sacrifice of all in Jesus Christ.

This Lenten season, we’ll be looking at the five types of sacrifices in Leviticus, and how Jesus fulfills each of them.

But before I can really understand the sacrifices in Leviticus, I first have to remember this fact: God did it first.

Salvation doesn’t come, has never come, from humanity working our way to God. Even by giving humanity the tools to come before Him in the Old Testament, God gives us grace upon grace.

God works toward us, first and foremost. No amount of doing right, no amount of bubbly writing in that shiny red journal, can make me worthy of His mercy, and yet, He gives it anyway.

And while God laid out the means to reconcile with Him through sacrifice in Leviticus, He had a bigger plan in mind- a permanent redemption of humankind through the ultimate sacrifice in Jesus.

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  1. So thankful for the gift of forgiveness! So thankful that He doesn't keep record of wrongs!

  2. I LOVED seeing the pictures. I can't always read things very well any more... my brain isn't working as well as it had since I was a young kid and now it won't... anyhow, sure loved to see this. Bless you.

  3. i am so thankful for the gift of forgiviness for our sins. I had a journal like this, with lists upon lists of my failures and messups. It hurt when I found it a few months back.

    1. I'm kind of glad I'm not the only one who had one of those! And you're completely right, it hurts to read- just how harsh and poorly I thought of myself was difficult.

  4. I'm so thankful God doesn't keep a little red journal. The gift of salvation is amazing, and the grace of God is something I'll never be able to fully understand

    1. Amen to that, Marcy! As I go through the sacrifices in Leviticus, I'm able to see more and more how God's love through Christ was the ultimate, gracious goal.

  5. His forgiveness is amazing. No red journals from him and he takes our red journals we have written and rips them up. :)

  6. I'm looking forward to reading about the five types of sacrifices in Leviticus, and how Jesus fulfills each of them. Great post! I'm approving your membership into the Fellowship of Christian Bloggers!

  7. I feel like we have a lot in common! Thank you for the chuckle you gave me with your first sentence, and the reminder that we not only should show Mercy to others, but also ourselves! P.S. I had a cabbage patch journal and I wrote a whole lot about a boy named Sean. I was 11 ish for that diary . . .

    1. Ha- glad I made you smile!

      Sean, huh? My blue-with-unicorn journal has a whole lot about a boy who's name I'm pretty sure I misspelled.

  8. God woos us to Him and showers us with His grace and mercy.

    1. Yes, He does- and all before we could even respond to Him. His plan was in place from the beginning!

  9. I wholeheartedly agree. There really isn't "We do our part and then God does His part." It's all Him, and it's so wonderful. :) He did it first, does it first, does it best ... does it all.

  10. I love how you said, 'God works toward us.' Such a beautiful promise. And Lent leads us right to the goodness of those precious promises.

  11. YES! It still blows my mind that God chose to come and rescue us. Without Hebrews, Leviticus would probably be just so dreadful to me. In Hebrews we find a change in priesthood and therefore a change in the covenant. Jesus' sacrifice makes forgiveness and access to God possible!

  12. Your post reminds me of my pastor's definition of grace: "God constantly leaning towards man to give Himself away." It never ceases to amaze me the way He pursues us. The way He has always made a way, until the one and only Way came to earth two thousand years ago. Thank you for sharing with us at Grace & Truth!