Archive for the ‘leviticus’ Category

Exodus 20:4-6 You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 6But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those* who love me and obey my commands.

Leviticus 26:1-2 Do not make idols or set up carved images, or sacred pillars, or sculptured stones in your land so you may worship them. I am the LORD your God.

The Israelites had just come from Egypt, a land of many idols and many gods. Because each god represented a different aspect of life, it was common to worship many gods in order to get the maximum number of blessings. When God told his people to worship and believe in him, that was not so hard for them— he was just one more god to add to the list.

 But when he said, “You must not have any other god but me,” that was difficult for the people to accept. But if they did not learn that the God who led them out of Egypt was the only true God, they could not be his people, no matter how faithfully they kept the other nine commandments. Thus, God made this his first commandment.

Let’s Bring it Home: Today we can allow many things to become gods to us. Money, fame, work, or pleasure can become gods when we concentrate too much on them for personal identity, meaning, and security. No one sets out with the intention of worshiping these things. But by the amount of time we devote to them, they can grow into gods that ultimately control our thoughts and energies. Letting God hold the central place in our lives keeps these things from turning into gods.

Spiritual Training 16 June 2015

Posted: June 16, 2015 in leviticus

Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 26:1-12 Reward for Obedience

26:1 ‘Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stoned in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.
2“ ‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD.
3“ ‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. 5Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.
6“ ‘I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country. 7You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. 8Fiver of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.
9“ ‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. 10You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. 11I will put my dwelling place w among you, and I will not abhor you. 12I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.

This chapter presents the two paths of obedience and disobedience that God set before the people (see also Deuteronomy 28). The people of the Old Testament were warned over and over against worshiping idols. We wonder how they could deceive themselves with these objects of wood and stone.

Lets Bring it Home: Yet God could well give us the same warning, for we are prone to put idols before him. Idolatry is making anything more important than God, and our lives are full of that temptation. Money, looks, success, reputation, security—these are today’s idols. As you look at these false gods that promise everything you want but nothing you need, does idolatry seem so far removed from your experience?

Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 25:35-37

35If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. 36Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. 37You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit.

God said that neglecting the poor was a sin. Permanent poverty was not allowed in Israel. Financially secure families were responsible to help and house those in need. Many times we do nothing, not because we lack compassion, but because we are overwhelmed by the size of the problem and don’t know where to begin.

Lets Bring it Home: God doesn’t expect you to eliminate poverty, nor does he expect you to neglect your family while providing for others. He does, however, expect that when you see an individual in need, you will reach out with whatever help you can offer, including hospitality.

Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 24:13-16 A Blasphemer Stoned

13Then the LORD said to Moses:14“Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. 15Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who curses their Gods will be held responsible; 16anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.

This punishment for blasphemy (cursing God) seems extreme by modern standards. But it shows how seriously God expects us to take our relationship with him. Often we use his name in swearing, or we act as though he doesn’t exist.

Lets Bring it Home: We should be careful how we speak and act, treating God with reverence. Eventually, he will have the last word.

Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 23:9-14 Offering the Firstfruits

9The LORD said to Moses, 10“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. 11He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. 12On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the LORD a lamb a year olds without defect, 13together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil—a food offering presented to the LORD, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. 14You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.

The Festival of Firstfruits required that the first crops harvested be offered to God. The Israelites could not eat the food from their harvest until they had made this offering.

Lets Bring it Home: Today God still expects us to set aside his portion first, not last. Giving leftovers to God is no way to express thanks. What do “firstfruits” represent in your life? Who gets the first portion of your paycheck when you receive it?

Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Leviticus 22:19-25 Unacceptable Sacrifices

19you must present a male without defect from the cattle, sheep or goats in order that it may be accepted on your behalf. 20Do not bring anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf. 21When anyone brings from the herd or flock a fellowship offering to the LORD to fulfill a special vow or as a freewill offering, it must be without defect or blemish to be acceptable. 22Do not offer to the LORD the blind, the injured or the maimed, or anything with warts or festering or running sores. Do not place any of these on the altar as a food offering presented to the LORD. 23You may, however, present as a freewill offering an ox or a sheep that is deformed or stunted, but it will not be accepted in fulfillment of a vow. 24You must not offer to the LORD an animal whose testicles are bruised, crushed, torn or cut. You must not do this in your own land, 25and you must not accept such animals from the hand of a foreigner and offer them as the food of your God.t They will not be accepted on your behalf, because they are deformed and have defects.

Animals with defects were not acceptable as sacrifices because they did not represent God’s holy nature. Furthermore, the animal had to be without blemish in order to foreshadow the perfect, sinless life of Jesus Christ. When we give our best time, talent, and treasure to God rather than what is tarnished or common, we demonstrate the true meaning of worship and testify to God’s supreme worth.

Lets Bring it Home: What kind of quality can people see in your service and giving?


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 20:22-23

Punishments for Sin

22“ ‘Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them.

God gave many rules to his people—but not without reason. He did not withhold good from them; he only prohibited those acts that would bring them to ruin. All of us understand God’s physical laws of nature. For example, jumping off a 10-story building means death because of the law of gravity. But some of us don’t understand how God’s spiritual laws work. God forbids us to do certain things because he wants to keep us from self-destruction.

Lets Bring it Home: The next time you are drawn to a forbidden physical or emotional pleasure, remind yourself that its consequences might be suffering and separation from the God who is trying to help you.

Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 20:10-21

Punishments for Sin

10“ ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.
11“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father.t Both the man and the woman are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
12“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with his daughter-in-law, both of them are to be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads.
13“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
14“ ‘If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you.
15“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he is to be put to death, and you must kill the animal.
16“ ‘If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
17“ ‘If a man marries his sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother, and they have sexual relations, it is a disgrace. They are to be publicly removed from their people. He has dishonored his sister and will be held responsible.
18“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people.
19“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with the sister of either your mother or your father, for that would dishonor a close relative; both of you would be held responsible.
20“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with his aunt, he has dishonored his uncle.
They will be held responsible; they will die childless.
21“ ‘If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonored his brother. They will be childless.

This list of commands against sexual sins includes extremely harsh punishments. Why? God had no tolerance for such acts for the following reasons: (1) they shatter the mutual commitment of married partners; (2) they destroy the sanctity of the family; (3) they twist people’s mental well-being; and (4) they spread disease. Sexual sin has always been widely available, but the glorification of sex between people who are not married to each other often hides deep tragedy and hurt behind the scenes. When society portrays sexual sins as attractive, it is easy to forget the dark side. God had good reasons for prohibiting sexual sins: He loves us and wants the very best for us.

The detestable acts listed here were very common in the pagan nations of Canaan; their religions were rampant with sex goddesses, temple prostitution, and other sins. The Canaanites’ immoral religious practices reflected a decadent culture that tended to corrupt whoever came in contact with it. By contrast, God was building a nation to make a positive influence on the world. He did not want the Israelites to adopt the Canaanites’ practices and slide into debauchery. So he prepared the people for what they would face in the Promised Land by commanding them to steer clear of sexual sins.

Lets Bring it Home: God still expects those who worship him to maintain sexual purity in their lives.

Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 20:1-6
Punishments for Sin

1The LORD said to Moses, 2“Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him. 3I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people; for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. 4If the members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one of his children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death, 5I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek.

Sacrificing children to the gods was a common practice in ancient religions. The Ammonites, Israel’s neighbors, made child sacrifice to Molek (their national god) a vital part of their religion. They saw this as the greatest gift they could offer to ward off evil or appease angry gods. God made it clear that this practice was detestable and strictly forbidden. In Old Testament times as well as New, his character made human sacrifice unthinkable. (1) Unlike the pagan gods, he is the God of love, who does not need to be appeased (Exodus 34:6). (2) He is the God of life, who prohibits murder and encourages practices that lead to health and happiness (Deuteronomy 30:15-16). (3) He is the God of the helpless, who shows special concern for children (Psalm 72:4). (4) He is the God of unselfishness who, instead of demanding human sacrifices, sacrificed himself for us (Isaiah 53:4-5).

6“ ‘I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people.

Everyone is interested in what the future holds, and we often look to others for guidance. But God warned about looking to the occult for advice. Mediums and spiritists were outlawed because God was not the source of their information. At best, occult practitioners are fakes whose predictions cannot be trusted. At worst, they are in contact with evil spirits and are thus extremely dangerous.

Lets Bring it Home: We don’t need to look to the occult for information about the future. God has given us the Bible so that we may obtain all the information we need—and the Bible’s teaching is trustworthy.

Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 19:33-34 Various Laws

33“ ‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

How do you feel when you encounter strangers and foreigners, especially those who don’t speak your language? Are you impatient? Do you think or act as if they should go back where they came from? Are you tempted to take advantage of them?

Lets Bring it Home: God says to treat foreigners and strangers as you’d treat fellow citizens, to love them as you love yourself. In reality, we are all foreigners in this world, because it is only our temporary home. View strangers, newcomers, and foreigners as opportunities to demonstrate God’s love.