Special occasions and events are often marked by the quality of the food served. In fact, meals become markers and reminders of significant occasions, such as proposals, marriage, anniversaries, or retirement. Such meals may be costly, but they are also memorable. In Exodus, God delivered His people from slavery and made a covenant with them to be their God. Leviticus begins with God’s dwelling with His people in a special way (Lev. 1:1). While the instructions for constructing the dwelling place for God are given in Exodus, the instructions for dwelling with God are given in Leviticus. Leviticus addresses the question of how God’s sinful people can live in proximity to a holy God. One of the benefits of studying the Old Testament sacrificial system is that it renews our understanding of the seriousness of sin and the cost for which sin is paid. The bloody heinousness of Jesus’ cross is a reminder of our deep need for redemption from sin. That God provides for our needs in Christ shows us that we are more sinful than we realize but more loved than we could ever dare to hope. Therefore, sacrifice is simultaneously bloody and beautiful. Leviticus begins just after the construction of the tabernacle following Israel’s exodus from Egypt. The Book of Leviticus deeply explores the relationship between God and Israel established on Mount Sinai. The sacrifices remind us that Israel was sinful and impure. The sacrifices also remind us that God provided a way to restore the broken relationship between a holy God and sinful people. The Levitical instructions assume that people are sinful but were given to renew humanity’s relationship with God. Once again, while Exodus 25–40 gives instructions for the construction of the tabernacle, Leviticus 1–7 prescribes the specific offerings that were to be performed in the tabernacle. The sacrificial system provided a way for people to express their need for God’s forgiveness.
Focus: Leviticus 6:13

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