Again, the reason the Canaanites were being expelled from the land was that they were guilty of the atrocities mentioned in previous chapters – sins which included incest, homosexuality, abortion, bestiality, sorcery and the like. To make matters worse, these things were done unashamedly. God reminds the Israelites of this, and warns them that if they practiced such things, they too would be vomited from the land.
Leviticus 20:22–23 (NKJV) “You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out. 23 And you shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them.”
God calls His people to be holy, set apart for Him:
Leviticus 20:26 (NKJV) “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.”
Warren Wiersbe, “Privilege always brings responsibility. If the nation was to be sanctified, the spiritual leaders had to set the example. God had a word for the priests (1–9), the high priest (10–15), and those who could not be priests (16–24).”
The LORD required more from the priests, the sons of Levi – they were to remain clean and undefiled, as they represented God to the people, and the people to God. God was meticulous in His mandates to them, from the bodies they touched, their hair, beards, and brides. Their families were to be holy as well. (Leviticus 21:1-9)
The High Priest was called even “higher.” (Leviticus 21:10-15) The High Priest was not allowed to tear his clothes in grief or touch the bodies of his parents if they passed (this was not the case for the Levites/other priests – Leviticus 21:1-3).
Leviticus 21:16-24 reveals the fact that no man was allowed to serve as High Priest of Israel who had any defects – whatsoever.
Although there are qualifications in the New Covenant for Pastors and Elders, those qualifications deal primarily in character, with the only exception being the Pastor’s gift of teaching (1 Timothy 3:1-12). I thank God for His grace in my life. I happen to be a man with many defects, flaws, and failures, and yet the Lord allows me to be involved in the ministry. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
As an overall summary of the Levitical laws, Halley’s Bible Handbook offers the following, “These Laws Were the Laws of God – Some of the laws in the Pentateuch are similar to the laws of Hammurabi (from the time of the Patriarchs), with which Moses no doubt was well-acquainted. And though Moses may have been influenced by his Egyptian training and by Babylonian tradition, yet over and over he repeats, “This is what the Lord says!” These laws were not dreamed up by Moses or by a legal think-tank, or arrived at democratically—they were given to Israel by God Himself.
Some of these laws may seem severe to us. But if we could transport ourselves back to Moses’ world and time, they probably wold not seem severe enough. On the whole, the “Law of Moses,” in its insistence on personal morality and personal equality, and in its consideration for old and young, for slave and enemy, for animals and health and food, was far purer, more rational, humane, and democratic than anything else in ancient legislation.
Moses’ Law was designed by God as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24 KJV), since it showed that no one was able to fully keep the Law. And some of the provisions of the Law were accommodations, “because your hearts were hard” (Matthew 19:8).”
Leviticus 22:1-16 once again emphasizes God’s holiness and His call for leaders in ministry to be holy – and then, with that as a backdrop, He deals with exactly who was allowed to eat of the offerings. You might remember that whenever a person brought an offering to the LORD, a portion of most of those offerings was to be given to the priest, who was allowed to share it with his family, but not with anyone who was unclean or an “outsider.” Anyone who was ineligible or unclean and ate of these offerings was to be put to death.
Leviticus 22:9 (NKJV) “They shall therefore keep My ordinance, lest they bear sin for it and die thereby, if they profane it: I the LORD sanctify them.”
As Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up the mountain, He is transfigured before them. Luke tells us that it was “as He prayed…” (Luke 9:29). Once again, the disciples were sleeping while Jesus was praying (I think there’s a message here). Eventually they were awakened to get a glimpse of His glory unveiled. They woke to see Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah, representatives of the Law and the Prophets. Peter didn’t know what to say, so he suggested they make three tabernacles (one for each of them), he wanted to stay on the mountain. The Father interrupted Peter – with a word of correction, pointing Him to Jesus only, “This is My beloved Son, hear Him.” Peter writes about this glorious event in 2 Peter 1:16-18.
On the way down the mountain Jesus answers their question about the prophecy of Elijah in Malachi 4:5-6. Jesus essentially tells them that Elijah will come again (literally, physically) before His Second Coming (see Revelation 11), but in another sense, Elijah had come (spiritually), John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17).
As often is the case, the demon-possessed valley follows the mountaintop experience, and sure enough, Jesus is met with a Satanic situation, great multitudes were there where a boy was demon-possessed, and the disciples could not cast it out. Jesus was frustrated by their lack of faith and proceeded to cast out the demon. Later the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast out the demon, to which He responds in:
Mark 9:29 (NKJV) “So He said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.’”
Warren Wiersbe, “The nine disciples who were left behind had neglected their spiritual disciplines and lost their power (v. 29; 6:7). When you find yourself defeated, turn to Him for victory and discover where you went wrong.”
“O Lord, please give me wisdom in this, how would You have me to fast? We are in desperate need of Your power. Your words to this father resonate deep within me, as well as his response to Your words…”
Mark 9:23-24 (NKJV) “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’”
It’s one thing to have a man against you, it’s another thing to have a nation against you (Psalm 43:1).
The Psalmist was in the middle of a war and he felt that God was far from him.
Pastor Chuck Smith said, “Today when we feel stressed or overwhelmed, we might say, ‘Why am I so depressed or anxious?’ Usually we feel that way because we’ve lost sight of God, or we’ve removed Him from the equation. We’re trying to figure out a solution apart from him. But David has the answer, ‘Hope in God…the help of my countenance.’”
It’s okay to talk to yourself, to ask those questions, to search your heart, but make sure to end the conversation by encouraging or strengthening yourself in the LORD, as David modeled (1 Samuel 30:6).
Psalm 43:2a (NKJV) “For You are the God of my strength…”
Psalm 43:5 (NKJV) “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”
Proverbs 10:18 (NKJV) “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.”
We have a parallel passage in:
Proverbs 26:26 (NKJV) “Though his hatred is covered by deceit, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.”
We can’t prevent it from happening to us, but may it never be true of us – may we never be hating, lying, slandering fools – oh the damage it does! I read an account of an author by the name of Theodore Reinking who faced execution in 1646 because he had slandered King Christian IV of Denmark with a book he’d written. King Christian offered him the option of either eating his book or being executed. Reinking tore the book into shreds, soaked it in soup…and started eating away until he had devoured every page.
He literally ate his words and the book was gone. We’re not so fortunate however, it’s not that easy – because once those words go out, they can never truly be taken back.
It’s easy to make a mountain out of a molehill, all you have to do is just keep adding dirt – – and my, how people will hurt. Be careful little tongue what you say…and be careful little heart…never hate a single soul.
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.