Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Leviticus, chapter 19

1 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.

God is holy and He wants His people to be holy. His people are to be set apart for His purpose. There are a lot of ways to live and to think and different possible lifestyles among men and women but they are not all holy to God. It’s not “all good”. God has set limits upon our behavior. Our culture no longer recognizes many of these limits.

3 Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.

Our social services mentality does not want us to fear mother and father because mother and father are no longer examples and leaders of families, but they are merely mothers and fathers by accident and often disdain the position. You can’t trust mothers and fathers, on the whole, to even take their parental responsibilities seriously. After the 1820’s we began having an influx of immigrants from country and faith backgrounds that were not self-reliant, Bible believers, but people used to being taken care of.

The welfare and nanny state we have today is the natural outcome of that constant dissolution of the original settlers in this country. It is a natural devolution where parents surrender to the state in loco parentis.

4 Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.

God’s people are to worship, to trust, and to depend on only Him.

5 And if ye offer a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, ye shall offer it at your own will.

Offerings, like submission itself, is not submission, unless it is voluntary.

6 It shall be eaten the same day ye offer it, and on the morrow: and if ought remain until the third day, it shall be burnt in the fire.
7 And if it be eaten at all on the third day, it is abominable; it shall not be accepted.
8 Therefore every one that eateth it shall bear his iniquity, because he hath profaned the hallowed thing of the LORD: and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

God is our Master. We must obey God. These things were serious enough that if they defied His standard they were to die. Most Christians do not understand the nature of submission to God. They act like they are doing Him a favor by being on “His team”.

9 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.
10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.

Here, provision is made for excess, of which there will be a lot, if they obey, to go to the poor and foreigners.

11 ¶ Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.

Most cultures accept this as a standard. Stealing is rarely considered a good thing unless you are stealing from others. Civilization can’t be maintained in an atmosphere of lying and false dealing. Of course, we lie to ourselves the most.

12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.

They were told, and we should follow, that we are not to take God’s name lightly. “Gosh”, “golly”, “gee whiz”, and the like are simply Christian cursing and swearing. It is the attitude that must be deal with.

13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

Cheating people, stealing from them, or holding the wages of the worker past the end of his work day are forbidden. This makes all of our employers today with their one or two week withholding wages to be sinners. You were to be paid for that day’s wages when the day was done.

14 Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.

Abusing or mocking the handicapped is forbidden. It is put in contrast to fearing God. Oppressing those weaker than you does not show a fear of God, who will avenge them.
15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

They were called to do the right thing always in judgment. They were not to be favorable either to the poor or the powerful, but to do justice. It is an ethical standard that we adhere to but often don’t seem to follow as the inheritors of the Judeo-Christian way of thought.

16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.

Here we have an admonition against not only gossiping but also bearing false witness to get an innocent person punished.

17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

This is even more personal and shows God’s presumed command of our thoughts and His ability to read them. Obviously, considering other statements made, we are to tell our neighbor when we see him in open sin and not to give our approval by letting it pass. This is in opposition of our American ideal of freedom where you have the right to be wrong.

18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

Revenge and bearing a grudge, loving your neighbor as yourself are good principles to follow in all dispensations. This is God’s standard of righteousness. Notice how a husband is to love his wife as he loves his own body here;

Ephesians 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

19 ¶ Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.

This command specifically impacts the Hebrews nationally as it is along the lines of God wanting to maintain their separateness. It would be foolish and lacking in common sense if we tried to make it our own standard today. But, is there a greater truth in here than what we read. God’s standard calls for there to be differences and distinctions. The modern man’s hunger to make all things the same and to eliminate all differences seems to be at odds with God.
20 And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.
21 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, even a ram for a trespass offering.
22 And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the LORD for his sin which he hath done: and the sin which he hath done shall be forgiven him.

Under the Law a woman who was engaged and a servant was scourged for having sex and man who had sex with her had to pay a trespass offering. Do you really want to be back under the Law?

23 And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of.
24 But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the LORD withal.
25 And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am the LORD your God.

New fruit trees were to have five years of produce before their fruit was to be eaten.

26 Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.

Here, under the Law, as before and after the Law, eating blood is forbidden.

27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

Under the Law the Jewish man was not to trim his hair or bead in the manner of the gentiles.

28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

Here, tattoos are forbidden. I still don’t see any good in tats, but to each his own.

29 Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.

This is an obvious reference to temple prostitution, to me, after reading Daniel Snell’s ‘Life in the Ancient Near East’.

30 ¶ Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.

There are different Sabbaths other than just the last day of the week.
31 Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

Mediums and spiritualists are forbidden. Séance’s and attempts to contact the dead are totally in opposition to God.

32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.

Respect for age is commanded here, a fundamental part of any civilized nation.

33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.

Foreigners were not to be oppressed.

34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

A certain honor is to be given to the foreigner in deference to the Jews’ struggle in Egypt.

35 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.
36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.

Do what is fair and equal, they were commanded. Do not cheat others.

37 Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD.

The Hebrew was commanded to obey all of God’s laws, thus acknowledging Him as their Lord.

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