There is no Sunday School version of Leviticus

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The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

Leviticus is a book about how Israel are going to be able to live with the presence of God at the centre of their community, but to do this there are lots of laws they need to live by.

To unpack this book and put it into context, James takes us through a a quick recap of the previous book Exodus, which ends with Moses not being able to enter the tent he has just completed. 

The first verse in Leviticus (1:1) says: The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him FROM the tent of meeting. but when we jump forward a book the first verse states: The Lord spoke to Moses IN the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinaion" (Numbers 1:1)... so something about the book of Leviticus is trying to tell us how we should approach God so that our space and his space can overlap. As well as how we can live in such a way that we can be faithful to how he calls us to live and how we can be in this world but also set apart from it.

The book of Leviticus has a beautiful design and it breaks down into seven key parts:
1. Ritual sacrifice
2. Priest stuff
3. Clean and unclean (ritual purity)
4. Day of atonement
5. Clean and unclean (moral purity)
6. Qualifications for being a priest
7. Ritual festivals

The bible is not a book about us. It is a book about God and his mission of restoration for humanity.
It is not a book about how we get to heaven, it is a book about how God has been at work throughout history to bring heaven to earth.
God has wanted to live with his people since the beginning. Leviticus shows us that, and this is the story that Jesus steps into...