Weekly Thought: Encouragement from Every Book Leviticus: Holy from Head to Toe
What were you made for? For what purpose did God craft your ears? For what reason did He bless you with hands? Why did He grant you feet to walk with? Humanity was designed with a purpose; we were made to be images of God, representing Him as we ruled over creation and submitted to His will and reign. The ears of man were made for listening to God’s voice, to commune with a Creator who wishes to impart His own words. The hands were built for work in God’s good creation, stewarding His gracious gifts. Feet were created for walking alongside God in the cool of the day, living in peace and friendship with the Designer. Yet, out of the glories of the garden came the curse of creation when humans sinned against their Maker. The ears of humanity listened to the lie of the Serpent and rejected God’s truth. The hands of man took hold of a lesser promise and were cursed with bitter work. The feet ran away from the Lord of all the earth and as a result, could no longer walk with God as they were exiled from the garden to step out into a foreign land. The sin of man shattered and marred the image of God in us, leaving a broken reflection of all that we were supposed to be. The body designed to display God becomes a demonstration of brokenness. We see that all around us today in our world. Humans refuse to listen to God and to one another. Hands are used for violence and for greedily grabbing as much as can be held. Feet run swiftly to evil.
Yet, we know God did not leave humanity in the brokenness. He initiated a plan to preserve a holy people, a people who could reflect God’s goodness and blessing to the world. The book of Leviticus is all about the holiness of God’s chosen people, Israel. The commands of Leviticus have often perplexed and bored readers by their strange and seemingly mundane character. However, each instruction in this book of God’s Word was designed to set the people apart for a sacred task so that they could be God’s true representatives to the world.
For example, Leviticus 8 details the consecration (the setting apart) of an especially holy group, the priests. This chosen group’s purpose was to go before God on behalf of the people and go before the people representing God. The rituals described in the chapter exhibit the special mission and role of the priests as set apart servants. Consider Leviticus 8:22-24:
Then he presented the other ram, the ram of ordination, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. And he killed it, and Moses took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. Then he presented Aaron’s sons, and Moses put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. And Moses threw the blood against the sides of the altar.
Part of the process of installing the priests was to kill a ram and put some of its blood on the lobe of the right ear, the right thumb, and the right big toe of each priest. From the head down to the toe, they were imprinted with the stain of the life of an innocent sacrifice. This symbolically purified them and prepared them to begin their service to God.
In similar fashion, the people of the Church are God’s priestly representatives today (1 Peter 2:9-10). While we do not have the blood of a ram place upon us, at baptism we are permanently stained with the blood of Jesus, the innocent sacrifice. His life laid down and given for us purifies us and consecrates us for the great task of being the reflection and image of God’s character to the world. And this is not just one part of who we are, the sacrifice and life and holiness of Jesus ought to encompass all that we are. We are a people who are holy from head to toe. God reclaims our bodies and our lives for His original purpose. Our ears once again become
faithful listening ears. Our hands work with joy and generosity for the King and all His subjects. Our beautiful feet run to bring good news to a world in desperate need of it. And this is all made possible by the blood of Jesus, who was the perfect image of God from head to toe. We can be encouraged that through His Son, God has renewed our bodies, our souls, and our minds for His good purposes so that we can joyfully partake of His mission in the world.