Bible Study Feb. 20

Chapters 19, 20, and 21 offer us details of the laws of everyday life, laws for the offences requit=ring the death penalty, and laws concerning the priests.

Chapter 19 –

The laws in this chapter are wide ranging, but throughout these verses are the principles of the Ten Commandments applied to everyday life. God says, I, the Lord your God, am holy. In fact He repeats that phrase in one way or another several times in our reading. God’s standards for people include respect for mother and father, keeping the sabbaths, and rejecting idols.

Repeatedly God expresses His concern for the poor. It’s a concern His people should share, the poor are to treated fairly, with dignity and justice. Notice the part they are required to leave part of the harvest for the poor. There is a timeless opportunity to help the poor.

Treating the poor as outlined is an example of Biblical justice. God’s people are not to steal, bear false witness, oppress their neighbor, defraud workers of their wages, hinder the blind and deaf, render unjust decisions, give preference to one group over another, spread slander, harbor hatred against a brother, or take revenge. Love one another, do them no harm.

All the provisions outlined in chapter 19 were intended to set apart God’s people to keep them holy.

Chapter 20 –

The Israelites were to avoid certain conduct in order to enter into Canaan. If they were to engage in any of the practices outlined it would result in the death penalty.

Consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep my statutes and do them; for I am the Lord who sets you apart. Again the central theme of Leviticus: God is holy and requires holiness from His people. God has set His people apart.

Moses turned to consider offences against the family, with honor for parents at the head of the list. Adultery, homosexuality, incest, bestiality all these are forbidden. If the Israelites wanted to live in Canaan, they had to follow the laws of God or they would also be driven out.

Chapter 21 –

Next, He outlines the laws of the priests. Defilement was a significant matter of concern for Israel’s priests, who ministered in the holy presence of God.

A priest would be defiled by contact with a dead body. The only exception was a member of his immediate family. Priests were also restricted from service based on their various physical defects and infirmities. Moses is not making a statement about the value of a person they are no less loved by God, he was referring to the necessity for priests to represent wholeness in relation to a holy God. Priests with physical deformities could not perform ceremonies but they were taken care of.

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