Today’s reading includes Leviticus 19:1-20:21, Mark 8:11-38, Psalm 42:1-11, Proverbs 10:17.
As we move into the next chapter of Leviticus we see yesterday’s theme repeated over and over. God gives instructions and we are expected to follow those instructions and the reason is repeated over and over. “I am the Lord your God.” It is similar to those times I tell my children, “Because I said so.” Because I am the parent and you are the child. Yes, there are times we explain more thoroughly, times we try to make them feel good about what we have instructed. But the bottom line is, I am the parent and they are the child, and a good parent will require obedience even if the child does not understand or agree.
In our reading today, we find a large selection of instructions with a wide range of implications. From honoring parents to stealing. From delaying payment to workers to insulting the handicapped. From sexual sin to dishonest and unequal standards. From killing babies to keeping the Sabbath. The majority of people would agree with some of these issues, and some of these issues are hotly contested topics. I will point out that perversion was a capital offense (verse 15) but so was dishonoring your parents, as seen in Leviticus 20:9.
9 “Anyone who dishonors[a] father or mother must be put to death. Such a person is guilty of a capital offense.
When we get to verse 36-37 of chapter 19 we see that God added an addition “why” for the people’s obedience.
36 Your scales and weights must be accurate. Your containers for measuring dry materials or liquids must be accurate.[a] I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
37 “You must be careful to keep all of my decrees and regulations by putting them into practice. I am the Lord.”
Did you catch the additional “why”? Because He brought them out of slavery. He had already delivered them from slavery and these things would enslave them again. By putting into practice the instructions God was giving them, they would be free from spiritual slavery.
The beginning of today’s passage begins with some overwhelming words.
The Lord also said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the entire community of Israel. You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
Holy? Me? Yes, I can fully comprehend that He is holy. But He wants me to be holy, too? How is that possible? My feelings on this are perfectly described in Psalm 130:
1Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
I cannot stand up as holy. I know that. So what am I to do? Continuing in Psalm 130 gives the answer.
4But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8He himself will redeem Israel
I will put my hope in Jesus. I will reach out to touch the One who acted as my sin offering, for if I touch Him I can be holy.
Anyone or anything that touches the sacrificial meat will become holy.
May we trust in Him alone to convict us and cleanse us;
to give us understanding and wisdom
to make us, the unholy, into holy vessels fit for His Spirit to dwell.
May we, the ones who have been set free from slavery, lovingly show others the way to freedom.