Chapters 19-20 of Leviticus lay out more specifications as to how the Israelites are to conduct themselves before the Lord, and while this contains many laws on practical purity, it also spells out proper attitudes of the heart. Chapter 19 covers the commandments given to keep the Sabbath, revere mother and father, and the all-encompassing rule to be holy as the Lord is holy. It goes on to say that the Israelites must love their neighbours as themselves and shows what that means in practical ways.
It then goes on in and through chapter 20 to break down some particularly important do-s and don’t-s such as proper sexual relations, the mixing of breeds of cattle, fabric types, and more. Child sacrifice is strongly condemned as well as sexual immorality and breaks down exactly what that constitutes. At the end of the twentieth chapter, we see again the commandment to be holy, just as the Lord is holy.
The Lord lays out His thesis, so to speak, for these two chapters; “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” bookends this segment of Leviticus. That is the overarching theme of the Law itself – the Lord shows us what He requires of His people but also shows them exactly what that means and how to achieve it, for He so desired to be with His people. At the end of virtually every paragraph in the nineteenth chapter following a set of laws is the phrase “I am the Lord” which is a way of saying “this is what my holiness requires.” How does this apply to us nowadays? How are we to keep this law and be holy as Christians today? As always, let us look to Jesus, who by no means lessened this requirement of holiness (Matt. 5:8).
I think Christians tend to consider Old Covenant law more binding in its completeness as opposed to the New Covenant which has been fulfilled in Christ, but I believe the opposite is true. You see, we as Christians have several things that the Israelites did not:
As Christians we have not only the commandment but the provision to keep this most sacred commandment – and thanks be to God Almighty for doing for us what we could have never done on our own!
I find that I have not always let the truth of the Gospel impact me in the way it ought. By reading carefully through the bible and seeing how the Lord has brought His people along, by observing life under the Law, and by taking time to absorb just what Christ did by coming to earth as a man, we can all have a greater understanding and appreciation for the goodness of our God. This will lead us inevitably to the most wondrous thing – worship! As Leviticus can easily slip us by, let us take care to observe life under the Law and how that Law was fulfilled in Christ!
As Leviticus draws to a close, what has stood out to you? How has reading it impacted your impression of the Biblical narrative overall?
Lord Jesus, we thank you that we can have perfect freedom in you. We are so grateful that we can have your very Spirit living in us and are hidden away in your righteousness. Show us in the depths of our hearts the awesome thing you did for us on the cross, and help us to worship you in everything we do! Amen.
Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor (Matt Boswell & Boyce College Choir)
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