I trust we are coming to appreciate that the book of Leviticus is a worship manual that God revealed to Moses in order for His people to worship Him acceptably. In a very real sense it is God’s “call to worship.”
As we journey through the book we often find ourselves confronted with examples of how God left no area of life untouched by His call to worship. He prescribed many laws for the purpose of making sure that the land where He would dwell with His people was clean. Clean living was not primarily so that God’s people could avoid disease and disaster, but rather for the purpose of equipping their devotion to God and to make them distinct from a godless culture. This raises an important observation: The call to worship was not only a call to communion but also a call to new categories of thinking. So, of course, is the call to follow Christ.
One reason, perhaps, that we find the book of Leviticus so perplexing is because it addresses areas that seem so mundane and, in many cases, unfamiliar. After all, when we think of worship we are tempted to think of things religious. And so we think of hymns, prayers, Bible reading, offerings, etc. But when you read the book of Leviticus, though it begins with seven chapters dealing of religious offerings, it then speaks about clean and unclean animals, childbirth, the presence and removal of mildew, bodily discharges, matters of sexuality, planting and harvesting crops, slavery, economics, criminal justice, etc. In the light of such subject matter we might be tempted to think, what on earth is “spiritual” or “religious” about these things? But that is precisely the point.
You see, when God calls us to worship He calls us to a completely new worldview, in which everything in life is to be undertaken with a view to His Lordship. God’s call to worship is a call for us to establish new categories of thinking, and thus it is a call to a new way of living. We call this a worldview. And to the degree that our worldview is informed by the categories of Scripture, to such a degree all of our life will be lived as worship (bowing to the will of God).
What precisely is a worldview? Francis Schaeffer described a worldview as “the grid through which one sees the world.” Much like when wearing a pair of glasses, the world around you may seem larger, smaller, tinted or even obscured. A worldview is like that.
Our “ground-floor assumptions” compose our worldview (James Sire). Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey define a worldview as “the sum total of our beliefs about the world, the ‘Big Picture’ that directs our daily decisions and actions.”
Everyone has a worldview. Everyone has basic assumptions by which they interpret the world around them. Everyone makes decisions (whether they know it or not) motivated by how they think of reality.
We make decisions based on our view of God (and whether there is one) and we therefore make decisions based on our assumptions about truth, knowledge and ethics. We could put it this way: Belief determines behaviour. Conversely, one’s behaviour reveals ones beliefs. This is one of the major lessons of Leviticus.
Leviticus was revealed by God as a means toward constructing the worldview of those whom God called to worship Him. It is a book that emphasises behaviour because it is an expression of what God expects His people to believe. In other words, if they believe God as He has revealed Himself in His Word, then they will behave as God commands them to. But if they fail to respond to God as He is then they will be selective with respect to their obedience to that revelation. Leviticus 26 records God’s covenantal blessings that would attend Israel’s obedience and also the curses that would occur if they disobeyed Him. In other words, the rise or fall of the nation depended on their being right with God, as evidenced by their living out God’s mandated worldview. And this certainly has implications for you and me.
When the Lord graciously called us to Himself by His Spirit through His Son, He called us to a life in which His Scriptures would inform and shape every area of our life. We are called to comprehensively obey the Lord. No area of life is to be treated as secular. There is no area of neutrality for the Christian. Our worldview is to be God-informed and God-centred; it is to be God-shaped. This matter of a Christian worldview is so essential that Voddie Baucham has said, “A church filled with people who lack a biblical worldview is no church at all.”
How is your worldview? My prayer is that our study of Leviticus will be used of God to further solidify and shape our worldview in such a way that radical shifts in how we behave in every area will take place. God’s glory deserves it and the good of our own souls and those of our family and church demands it. And so does the good of a lost and dying world.