In our reading of the good book, three of the first five books of the Old Testament are often the most difficult, but still rewarding, as this article from Catholic Culture reports.

An excerpt.

During Lent I read again the classic “boring” books of the Bible: Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Of the five books that are attributed to Moses (the Pentateuch, including Genesis and Exodus), these are the ones which emphasize regulatory laws and liturgical rubrics. They are, I fear, texts that only Moses’ mother could love. But they are still the inspired Word of God and, as St. Paul tells us, all of Scripture is immensely valuable, “for whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope” (Rom 15:4).

So having taken my Lenten medicine, what benefit have I carried forward into Easter? The answer is the unrelenting emphasis in these books on holiness.

Throughout the Pentateuch, God emphasizes that He is holy and that anything set apart for Him must be holy as well. The whole point of this emphasis is that Israel herself has been set apart for God; Israel is His special possession, the instrument of His power and glory before the nations. All of the regulations and rubrics enshrined in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are designed to instill in the Jews this conviction that they have been set aside for God and must be radically holy in His sight.

This lesson is stressed with an almost brutal intensity, particularly in Deuteronomy. Again and again God prescribes to Moses that those who transgress the fundamental character of His law must be utterly removed from the people in order to preserve its holiness—very like cutting out a cancer to preserve the life of the body.

This applies first and foremost to fidelity to God in belief and worship. Thus any “prophet” or “dreamer” who, regardless of the signs he performs, tries to lead the people to follow other gods “shall be put to death because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of bondage…. So you shall purge the evil from the midst of you” (Dt 13:5).

Retrieved April 8, 2015 from