Leviticus is a whole book of the Bible dedicated to worship. In Hebrew, Leviticus was named “Vayikra” meaning “And He Called.” After reading through the book of Leviticus, it is clear that we are being called to holiness. Holiness is mentioned 152 times in Leviticus and more so in this book of the Bible than any other. But why?
After Israel’s dramatic exit from Egypt, the nation finds itself camped at the foot of Mount Sinai for two years while the Tabernacle is completed and instructions given regarding duties to be performed at it. It was a time of resting, teaching, building, listening and meeting with God face to face.
In Leviticus, the sacrifices, priests, and the sacred Day of Atonement opened the way for the Israelites to come to God. God’s people were also to worship Him with their lives. Thus we read of purity laws, rules of daily living concerning family responsibilities, sexual conduct, relationships, worldliness and vows. These instructions involve one’s holy walk with God, and the patterns of spiritual living still apply today. Worship, therefore has a horizontal aspect to it in that God is honored by our lives as we relate to others. After the sacrificial system for forgiving sins was in place, the people were instructed on how to live as forgiven people. Applying these standards to our lives helps us grow in obedience and live a life pleasing to God.
So we find in this book, a call to worship the Holy God (Lev. 1-17) and to live a holy life (Lev. 18-27).
The overwhelming message of the book of Leviticus is the holiness of God… “You must be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” (Lev. 19:2). But how can unholy people approach a holy God? The answer is sin must first be dealt with. Thus the opening chapters of Leviticus give detailed instructions for offering sacrifices, which were the active symbols of repentance and obedience. Whether bulls, grain, goats, or sheep, the sacrificial offerings had to be perfect, with no defect or bruises—all pictures of the ultimate sacrifice to come, Jesus, the Lamb of God. Jesus has come and opened the way to God by giving up His life as the final sacrifice in our place. True worship and oneness with God begin as we confess our sin and accept Christ as the only one who can redeem us from sin and help us approach God.
The final emphasis in Leviticus is celebration. The book gives instruction for the feasts. These were special, regular, and corporate occasions for remembering what God had done, giving thanks to him, and rededicating lives to His service.
As you have read through Leviticus, may we rededicate ourselves to holiness, worshiping God in private confession, public service and group celebration.
So why are we called to holy? Because we are called to be like God… and He is holy.
(Life Application Study Bible - NLT)