Leviticus 22: Cleanliness and Holiness

Can I make a confession? I was not looking forward to Leviticus. I was dreading it. How would I be able, day after day, to study a seemingly endless list of laws about slaughtering animals? What kind of material would there be for me to write about?

But I honestly can’t believe how interesting this book is! I’m not going to pretend I understand it all, but I could easily see myself coming back to Leviticus for further study.

That’s exciting to me. And a many thanks to all the people who have commented and encouraged me. It warms my heart to know that you all are finding this as interesting as I am.

Leviticus 22, then?

You Are What You Eat

This chapter continues what the previous chapter started by giving the special rules for priests. Last chapter was mostly about their sexual and marital practices. This one is largely about how they eat.

Basically, if you are a priest, being unclean prevents you from eating.

Moral of the story? If you are hungry, make sure you’ve taken a bath.

Unclean priests run the risk of contaminating the portion of the food that the priests are supposed to eat. So if you have a skin disease, keep your dirty mitts out of my BBQ!

Don’t ever say that God’s laws aren’t practical.

Like Priest, Like Offering

Not quite as catchy as “like father, like son,” but hear me out.

In chapter 21, God gave a list of physical defects that would disqualify one of Aaron’s descendants from presenting an offering. In this chapter, there is a list of physical defects that would disqualify an animal from being used as an offering.

And wouldn’t you know it, crushed testicles made the list.

God has a high standard for both the offering and the offeree. We are back to the theme of “The offering is holy because the priest is holy because God is holy.”

Speaking of that . . .

Reminder: “I Am The LORD”

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but the phrase “I am the LORD” is peppered throughout Leviticus. It is all over the place and you can never be sure where it will turn up next. The end of chapter 22 featured four of them in four verses.

Why does God feel the need to repeat that so much?

I think it is because the people need constant reminders.

Sure, God lives in this crazy tabernacle that sometimes gets covered in a big scary cloud, but they still need a reminder.

Sure, every day they wake up and find bread on the ground, but they still need a reminder.

Sure, fire once shot out of the tabernacle and killed a couple of priests, but I guess they still need a reminder.

Maybe we never really outgrow the need for a reminder about who is really in charge; who is really the LORD.

What ways has God reminded you that he is the LORD?

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One response

  1. Isn’t it amazing that they were being fed so miraculously and their clothes didn’t wear etc. yet they forgot God so much… how much am I the same…sheesh!!!!

    For me, the Lord nudges me, often in an allmost sarcastic way. I usually find if I am ‘forgetting’ or if i’m bitching to Him about something, I get the nod in nature. A bird singing or something will catch my attention and I find myself questioning who am I to ‘take on’ the Lord.
    Remember Abraham, when God calls to him and says “……I am your very great reward” to which Abraham says what can you give me and goes on about being childless and having no heir and so on. God replies “Look up to the heavens and count the stars-if indeed you can count them”
    I love the almost tongue in cheek way God points out how big He is “if indeed you can count them”!!! and puts Abrahams rant in it’s place… sometimes I feel that almost chuckling of God in my ear as He reminds me of His might and gently draws me to repent and praise Him – the Almightly One!!!

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