The Beauty of Dull
By Marlene Houk
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 1 Peter 2:9
Wandering into the cathedral quiet of Leviticus, the third book of the Bible, I stared at the lofty ceilings. The priceless murals spread in rich biblical scenes for the length of the room, and top shelves overflowed with rules and rights. Within reach were the beautifully illustrated volumes that connected Leviticus to the New Testament—at least 20 “books” with gilt edging that glimmered in the soft lights.
Studying Leviticus reminded me of my visit to the oldest university in Ireland called Trinity College. The vaulted Long Room, one of the library buildings, is over 200 feet in length and contains around 200,000 of the rarest books. The architecture is stunning, and I could have happily lived there.
Leviticus is like Trinity College Library—a priceless treasure for which we waited an hour to enter our scheduled tour. The third book of the Bible opens up its beauty and holy chambers that offer me an exclusive journey like no other section of the Bible.
While I would normally seek the drama of Esther or the practical life hacks of the book of Ruth, my assignment was Leviticus 25:1-22 for a recent writing challenge. I discovered, to my delight, the chiastic structure that adds harmony, clarity, and emphasis to the whole book. I immersed myself in the harmony of the literary structure. According to https://literarydevices.net/, a chiasmus is: “a rhetorical device in which two or more clauses are balanced against each other by the reversal of their structures to produce an artistic effect” (An example is: “Never let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You.”). This literary device helps clarify the complicated regulations of Leviticus. Indeed, one scholar considered Leviticus the mother-lode of chiastic structure, and that alone pulled me back into the book.
Leviticus means called out. It’s all about communication says Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, a rabbi, and author from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We, as Christians, are called to extend the Gospel to the world as explained in Matthew 28:19-20. And who today does not need more communication skills in this hyper-sensitive word-driven society of ours? Studying how God interacts with His chosen people will help us polish our engagement skills with others.
While some may try to overlook the stunning architecture or the practical holiness of Leviticus, the unmistakable repetitions and references in the New Testament (ranging from 20 to 39 according to the interpretation of the original language) prove its relevance to us today.
- We are called, thousands of years later, to be holy as the Israelites were instructed (Leviticus 11:44 compared to 1 Peter 1:16).
- We are told to love our neighbor, and this does not change from Leviticus to today (Leviticus 19:18 compared to Mark 12:31).
- God walks with us through life. This was true for the Israelites, and it is true for Christians today (Leviticus 26:12 compared to 2 Corinthians 6:16).
- As saved sons and daughters, we are a priestly people, a precious connection to the Levitical priesthood in the third book of the Bible (Leviticus, chapters 8-9 compared to 1 Peter 2:9).
- Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial system described in Leviticus, and this helps us to understand his life, ministry, and death. (Leviticus, chapters 1-7 compared to the Gospels). (from https://bible.org/seriespage/1-learning-love-leviticus)
How relevant Leviticus is to us today!
Go, enter the hallowed halls of Leviticus, and enjoy its beauty and connection to us today. As I immersed myself in the grandeur of Trinity College’s Library in Ireland, I realized that the rare books, donated by countries and individuals in answer to Ireland’s invitation, were authoritative testimonies to the power of words. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” The more I study Leviticus, to some a dull book, the more I delight in its grand architecture, skilled communication, and its significant links from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
Marlene is an author and teacher of Bible studies. She may be reached at Bible167@gmail.com
To receive helpful insight from the Bible, sign up for her newsletter at http://www.MarleneHouk.com, or connect with her on other social media. You can read more good Christian News from Marlene HERE.