We now enter into a variety of laws issued to Israel, knit together with the common thread of theology, that the LORD is their God.
Leviticus 19:2 (NKJV) “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.’”
We repeatedly see throughout this section, God’s clear commands followed by such phrases as, “I am the LORD your God,” (Leviticus 19:10, 25, 34, 36; 20:7 and “I am the LORD,” (Leviticus 19:13, 16, 18, 28, 30, 37).
We’re to be different because of who our Lord is. God’s people are called to consecration, we’re to go against the flow of the world. There is to be an aggressive cooperation between us and the LORD. We consecrate ourselves to God and He sanctifies us to Himself.
Leviticus 20:7–8 (NKJV) “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. 8 And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”
Many of the commandments here are duplicates, and/or give more details, while there are some which are new. It doesn’t take a theologian to be able to study these laws and determine which are timeless principles for all, and which are precepts for that day.
In this legislation, God perfectly provided for certain segments of the poor by commanding the reapers not to glean all of the harvest, but to allow the poor to follow after them (Leviticus 19:9-10). This makes a respectable way for the poor to have food, but it wasn’t just handouts. There’s a difference between the poor who can’t work due to disability and the poor who won’t work due to laziness.
Isn’t it interesting the way God sees the value of correction? We read in:
Leviticus 19:17 (NKJV) “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.”
We are to love the LORD and love our neighbor:
Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV) “…you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”
We are to revere our parents (Leviticus 19:3) and give honor to the elderly (Leviticus 19:32)
There are many warnings and commandments against any type of divination, soothsayings, sorcery, or mediums (Leviticus 19:26, 31) in the Scriptures. God knows the damage this does, how this type of activity opens doors to demons. Over the years I’ve seen many people oppressed by darkness due to drugs, fortune tellers, mediums, santeria, or astrology.
People often ask me about tattoos and I usually respond by saying it’s not a full-on green light, or a never, ever red-light…it’s more of a yellow light – caution. Sure, the prohibition is not repeated in the New Testament, but such a decision should be bathed in prayer over time. What do you want to permanently put on your body (which is God’s body)? Why? And if a young person is still living under their parent’s roof, they must abide by their parents personal conviction. To be honest, I may have gotten a tattoo by now, but my wife doesn’t have a peace about it, and I completely understand. Over the years I’ve seen godly people who love the Lord, get tattoos that honor the Lord, and I’ve seen godly people respectfully disagree on this issue. Let’s make sure not to judge others on this (Romans 14:4) for we all know, that God doesn’t focus on the outside, He’s much more concerned with the inside.
It’s rather ironic, because the words and works of Jesus were signs for all the people to see, and here come the Pharisees asking for a sign! The signs were all around them, even right in front of them. Jesus warned His disciples to beware of this type of leaven (hypocrisy, blindness).
When Jesus healed the blind man, it wasn’t instantly, it was a process, and oftentimes the Lord heals in this way…be patient, it takes time.
The most important question anyone will every ask or answer is “Who do you say Jesus is?” The world has various opinions, just as they did back then, but it’s a personal question that every individual must answer in their own hearts. The world back then was thinking Jesus had come in the spirit of the prophets of old (they didn’t believe in reincarnation) or that men like John the Baptist or Elijah had returned. Some see Jesus as a random Rabbi, a passing prophet, a typical teacher among many others, just a good man. In all reality, none of these options are valid, for Jesus claimed to be God. If Jesus claimed to be God the only options are that He was a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. We know the latter is true.
But the question is inevitably posed to all of us:
Mark 8:29, “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered and said to Him, ‘You are the Christ.’”
Bingo! Peter was right on! Christ means “Anointed One” – the One they had been waiting for, prophesied throughout the Old Testament. Jesus is the anointed Prophet, Priest, and King – those were the Old Testament offices which experienced God’s anointing. As Prophet He is the Messenger, as Priest He is the Mediator, and as King He is Master.
But this Christ had a cross. Jesus preps His disciples for the cross He would soon carry, and be crucified on, so Peter swiftly transitions from a spokesman for God, to a spokesman for Satan – my how we fluctuate! Peter’s problem was that he wasn’t mindful of the things of God, and he was confusing his commission as a Christian, so Jesus makes it clear, in His call for us all to take up our cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34-38).
Make no mistake about it – before the crown, there is a cross, these are the terms of discipleship. The world, the flesh, and the devil will teach and tell us to do our desires, to be what we want, to take the easy road, and follow our heart. But Jesus says, if we want to follow Him – rule #1 – we must deny ourselves. Simply put, we must live our lives in abandoned obedience to God as revealed in His Word.
One of the first passages I ever memorized as a Christian was:
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV) “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
This Psalm was probably written when David was distant from the tabernacle. We know David was away and on the run for approximately 10 years, so it may have been written during this time. He longed for the day when he could return to God’s prescribed presence and time at the tabernacle.
It had been tough for David – he was desperately thirsty of God.
Psalm 42:1–3 (NKJV) “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?”
David was down, depressed, and disquieted (Psalm 42:5, 11) but he encouraged himself with the rope of hope and clung tightly in prayer, believing that he would return one day to the tabernacle. David was confident about God’s love.
Psalm 42:8 (NKJV) “The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me—a prayer to the God of my life.”
Proverbs 10:17 (NKJV) “He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray.”
He or she with a heart to obey is on the way – the pathway to life.
But the one with a heart to DISobey – goes astray – the one not interested in instruction, who prefers not, to be taught, will scorn the warning.
We’ll see this A LOT in the Proverbs.
We see something similar in
Ecclesiastes 4:13, “Better a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.”
Charles Bridges, “The more we value discipline, the more we will take note of every practical lesson we learn in the heavenly school. But the person who ignores correction is deaf to the voice that would save him from ruin.”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.