Moral and Ceremonial Laws (Leviticus 19)

The opening words of this chapter gives the overarching theme for the entire chapter,

          Leviticus 19:2 (NKJV)

              2 “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

The commandment to be holy is seen as God’s statement of expectation for His people.  As it is throughout the Bible, the standard of God is high and definite, but also is appeased by direct holy actions and living in addition to being appeased by the grace of God found in sacrifice.

From this expression of holiness from God, the chapter then delineates numerous prohibitions that help the people of God know the boundaries for their actions.  The chapter commands, among other things, revering parents and the Sabbath, refraining from idolatry, leaving the corners of fields and some of your grapes for the poor to reap, not stealing, cheating, or lying.  Additionally, the person of God must be just, must not hate, must not sleep with another man’s wife or concubine (archaic practice, but the principle applies).  It prohibits divination or soothsaying, cuttings and tattoos for the dead, and the prostitution of your daughters.  It requires giving honor to the old, and taking good care of strangers.

These are all in line with prior teachings of the law, but are here reiterated and fleshed out for clarity and completeness.  The bottom line of the entire law and this chapter, though, is simple:  God wants His people to look and act like Him.  When we hear the voice of God, and respond in obedience, God will be pleased with our lives and bless us beyond our wildest dreams.  When Israel obeyed God, He took them to a land flowing with milk and honey.  And when they disobeyed, there was a price to be paid.  Praise God that Jesus is that price for us today!

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