If you were choosing a theme for your annual church camp, what would you choose? Maybe something pastoral like Ephesians, or something encouraging like the Psalms perhaps? But I suspect it is pretty unlikely that you would choose the book of Leviticus! Well, this weekend we went away as a church community to the Yarra Valley for 3 days and guess what we looked at… that’s right the book of Leviticus.
I must admit, I was pretty excited when I heard we were going through Leviticus on camp, my OT studies last year and essay on Leviticus gave me a great love for the book (weird huh!) and I think it was a great chance to open it up with our church, after all, it is probably one of the most ignored books in the Bible for Christians. Rowan Kemp of Sydney Uni EU did the talks and I think he did a wonderful job of opening up the book, drawing out the main themes and making it accessible to all of us.
The thing I love about Leviticus is that it is all about the relationship between God and His people. God has just taken his people out of Egypt, miraculously saved them from slavery and now comes down to dwell with them. But God is holy, magnificent, amazing (he’s God) and his people are not so holy, in fact they’re pretty hopeless, sinful, doubting, grumbling people (they’re human), and Leviticus is all about God providing the way for them to be made clean so that they can dwell in the same place as Him. In other words Leviticus is all about God’s grace, and it’s all about God’s holiness, and it’s all about the way God provided atonement for his people to restore the creation ideal of God dwelling with His people. The rules and regulations are not all about the Israelites becoming right with God but they are there for them to know how they can live in response to the fact that God has already made them right with Him.
As a Christian, reading Leviticus is even more amazing because we know the end of the story. The people of Israel didn’t stick with God, they kept on forgetting Him and doing their own thing, but God made the ultimate sacrifice in Jesus, and gives us His Holy Spirit, that now we are able to live in His way. The old covenant with one group of people with all it’s rules and regulations has been superseded in the new covenant with Christ. We are in Christ, we are a new creation by God’s grace, created to do good works which He determined in advance for us to do.
In case you didn’t notice, I really like Leviticus… my OT lecturer would be proud I’m sure 🙂
We also enjoyed spending time with our church community. There were loads of fun activities at the campsite (waterslide, water trampoline, normal trampolines, flying fox …) and we had some really encouraging conversations with others. I was so blessed to have people speak into my life, encouraging me to keep on trusting in God through everything, and I am so thankful for weekends like this which help refocus me in my walk with the Lord.