Holy, consecrate, pure, blood sacrafice, and clean are a few of the words that I believe point to the theme of the book of Leviticus. The purpose of this book is to punctuate God's nature. He is, in a word, Holy.
God meticulously dictates the laws relating to the priests and Levites and to the forms of Jewish ceremonial observance. His expectations for the Jews are spelled out so explicitly, that it emphasizes God's character the more. The message is clear. He is pure. I couldn't help but view myself differently in light of who God is.
I felt overwhelmed as, verse after verse, God's matchless qualities caved in on me like an avalanche. I could hardly breathe under the weight of His perfection, and there is but one thing that can be offered to a perfect God-- more perfection. It almost seems a futile effort to live up to His standard.
As I combed through chapters upon chapters of requirements, my unholiness was magnified. The more I read, the more I understood that I could never measure up. The burden of impossibility is an all consuming fire, and the inferno engulfed any silly notion that I may have espoused of my own goodness. But, I'm so glad that the bible does not end here. Oh thank God for the GRACE that is extended to believers under the new covenant!
If it were not for grace, where would we be? Well, for starters, we'd still be required to offer daily sacrifices to atone for our sins. I was repulsed by the sheer amount of blood that God required of the Jews for purification. Was there anything they could do or could come into contact with, which would not render them unclean? Indeed, that is the question.
I think I gained a keener insight into grace through faith after reading this book. Though God's invisible qualities remain unchanged, His holiness demonstrates our need for Christ's shed blood on the cross the more.
Ironically, Leviticus, the book which illustrates God's establishment of the priesthood, also confirms our absolute, unequivocal and irrevocable need for Christ, who is our Great High Priest. And in doing so, it quickly dismantles any illusions that we may embrace of self importance or goodness.