In Chapter 19 of Leviticus – God gives these people of His a bunch of rules which, at first glance, appear disconnected and disjointed.

respect your mother and father…” (19:3)

Don’t steal” (19:11)

Do not spread slander…” (19:16)

Do not use dishonest standards…” (19:35)

In many ways these seem like a rehashing of the Ten Commandments given earlier (Exodus 20). It appears to be rules and suggestions for how to live life a different way. But then, as we continue reading into Chapter 20 – we see the tone shift a bit. We see the same strict warnings as Chapter 19 – but the punishment for breaking these “laws” is quite severe (being cut off from the people and in many cases put to death).

Really? Is that what God is like?

Break one law – step out of line a little bit – and you DIE?

 

Well, hopefully by now we have seen that God has a bigger plan in mind. So, how does Lev 19-20 fit into the larger message of Leviticus as a whole – and the formation of God’s people?

That answer is in God’s explanation at the end of Leviticus 20.

Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations.” – Lev 20:22-24

 

Basically, God is telling these people of His that He has big plans for them. He needs them to be distinct from the nations who have lived before them (and have made choices that were not good). God is quite serious about not only His people being His treasured possession (Ex 19:5), but also that they are to be an example to the entire world of His love and His way of life.

That is why He constantly implores them to ‘be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy’. The word “holy” can be translated as “set apart, distinct, sacred”. That is the key to not only the Book of Leviticus, but to God’s overall heart throughout the entire scope of humanity.

God, as the Creator of Life, is working to restore man back to Real Life. In order to do that – He needs a group of people to believe and obey His instructions – in order to build up a prototype (if you will) for the rest of the world to follow.

This is serious business – hence the serious consequences of disobeying.

Furthermore – it is important to understand that this is all an INVITATION from the Lord.

Numerous times God informs these people of why He chose them, why He brought them out of Egypt, and why He is clearing the land of Canaan of it’s inhabitants and giving that land to the Israelites instead.

and if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” – Lev 18:28

According to God – both the Egyptians and the various nations in the land of Canaan had conducted themselves in such deplorable ways that He had no choice but to remove them and replace them with another. (Interesting that God says THE LAND vomited them out!).

That is why, over and over again, God is inviting (almost pleading with) the Israelites to not take up the practices of the Egyptian culture they left behind – nor to adopt the culture of the people that were already living in Canaan – but instead adopt this new way of life which He is teaching them.

God has big plans for these people – they are going to be His shining example of the Blessing in operation on not only an individual scale – but also a national scale. This will be the next step in fulfilling His promise to Abram – to bless the entire world through his seed (Gen 12:2-3).

But in order to do that, they must make different choices. They must choose to obey and follow God’s way of life. They must choose to live as God in this land they are being brought into.

God is LIFE – so they live as LIFE.

God is LIGHT – so they walk in the LIGHT.

God is LOVE – so they LOVE the unlovable.

 

So as you continue to read through the rest of Leviticus – keep this main theme in mind. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the details of the various laws (trying to apply them to us today) – instead keep the main thing as the main thing. God’s people are called to be holy (set apart) – as He Himself is holy (set apart).

Are YOU holy?

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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