Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Feb 19, Lev 19-21

Today's readings are Lev 19- 21. Tomorrow's are Lev 22-23.

Israel's instructions on living holy lives continue in Lev 19. Holiness extends to all of their interpersonal relationships with numerous references to the Ten Commandments as a reminder that they are in a covenant relationship with God. God demands their holiness and will transform His people into a holy people. This holiness encompasses, but also exceeds, the rituals prescribed in previous chapters. It will flow through every facet of their lives. In other words, their faith and religion is a way of life, not just something they do when they assemble for worship. 

Lev 20 must be read in the context of pagan religious practices that dominated the day. God's people are set apart and are not to indulge in any activity that may be construed as honoring other gods or worshiping oneself more than God. 

The priests have to be exemplars of holiness. They are the ones that set the standard the people are to emulate. God gives them even stricter guidelines than the others. They must remain pure and conduct themselves with the highest level of integrity in everything they do. Strict obedience to all God tells them is a requirement of ministry. Still, the work of sanctification is accomplished in and through God, it is not achieved by their behavior (Lev 20:9).

In time, it will become clear that even the priests are human beings and subject to the same propensity to stumble as everyone else. As that human weakness continues to expose itself, God will continue to faithfully show them that while there may be real-world consequences for violating His commandments, His grace will flow in abundance. God is not trying to fashion perfect priests, He is trying to set before them His own character and nature.  

All of these commandments and guidelines are not meant to make God's people behave in a nicer manner than other people. They are being put into place to demonstrate God's standards for His covenant. His standards must be met in order for them to have a relationship with Him. As time goes on, it will become obvious that no one can meet those requirements. Israel will, time and again, fail.  God will, just as frequently, forgive and redeem them. God is not expecting them to be perfect. What He is looking for is a desire in them to please Him, a desire to enter deeper into their relationship with Him. If their hearts are turned toward Him, He will, in His grace, supply the perfection He demands. God provides the guidelines right here in Leviticus, not to change His children's behavior, but to show them they need a savior!

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