Read Leviticus 19
19 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
3 “‘Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.
4 “‘Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lordyour God.
5 “‘When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. 6 It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it or on the next day; anything left over until the third day must be burned up. 7 If any of it is eaten on the third day, it is impure and will not be accepted. 8 Whoever eats it will be held responsible because they have desecrated what is holy to the Lord; they must be cut off from their people.
9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.
11 “‘Do not steal.
“‘Do not lie.
“‘Do not deceive one another.
12 “‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.
13 “‘Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.
“‘Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.
14 “‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.
15 “‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
16 “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
“‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.
17 “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor franklyso you will not share in their guilt.
18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
19 “‘Keep my decrees.
“‘Do not mate different kinds of animals.
“‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.
“‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.
20 “‘If a man sleeps with a female slave who is promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment.[a] Yet they are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed. 21 The man, however, must bring a ram to the entrance to the tent of meeting for a guilt offering to the Lord. 22 With the ram of the guilt offering the priest is to make atonement for him before the Lord for the sin he has committed, and his sin will be forgiven.
23 “‘When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden.[b] For three years you are to consider it forbidden[c]; it must not be eaten. 24 In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. 25 But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the Lord your God.
26 “‘Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it.
“‘Do not practice divination or seek omens.
27 “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
28 “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.
29 “‘Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.
30 “‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.
31 “‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.
32 “‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.
33 “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.34 The 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.
35 “‘Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. 36 Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah[d] and an honest hin.[e] I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt.
37 “‘Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the Lord.’”
At the very start of this chapter, the Lord gives Moses a very important proclamation: “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, you shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” God is calling the people of Israel (and us) to live holy lives, because He himself is holy.
What is holiness? In Hebrew something that is holy is set apart, separate, different, dedicated. God himself is separate from man and all of creation because of his divine nature and because he is set apart from sin. So, if we are to follow this commandment, to live holy lives because God is holy, then we are to live distinctly separate from the rest of the world and live above sin.
This command is reiterated in 1 Peter 1:14-16 when it says, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’”. Holiness is more than a set of actions or behaviors, it is a way to live life different from the rest of the world. As believers (obedient children) we are called to live set apart (do not conform) from the sin that is in the world (from the evil desires). Every time that we make a choice to separate ourselves from the patterns of this world, we are submitting to the divine authority of God and aligning ourselves with him…thus becoming more like Him!
God did not just command the Israelites to be holy without telling them how. The remaining verses of chapter 19 detail out God’s provision for holiness. Many of these verses are reiterations of the ten commandments and give the Israelites practical reminders for how to live holy lives. Even though not all of these laws are still applicable to us today, the nature of living a holy life has not changed. If we are to be holy as God is holy, it requires us to be obedient to God’s commands. It requires us to sacrifice our time, our resources, and our desires. And finally, it requires us to imitate God.
Israel’s primary calling was to be a holy nation, and it’s important to note that when the Lord gave Moses this specific command, he told him (v. 2) to “speak to all (emphasis added) the congregation of the people of Israel.” God wasn’t just calling Moses (or the priests) to pursue holiness; He was calling the entire nation. In much the same way, we are all called to pursue holiness because as Romans 12:1 tells us “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
- Define holiness in your own words.
- What are practical ways that you can pursue holiness in your day-to-day life?
- Spend some time reflecting on if you have a desire to pursue holiness. What is your motivation or your hindrance?
Did You Know?
In Leviticus 19, the phrase “I am the Lord” appears 15 times. Robert Jamieson, a Biblical commentator, makes this observation about this repetition:
“This solemn admonition, by which these various precepts are repeatedly sanctioned, is equivalent to ‘I, your Creator–your Deliverer from bondage, and your Sovereign, who have wisdom to establish laws, have power also to punish the violation of them.’ It was well fitted to impress the minds of the Israelites with a sense of their duty and God’s claims to obedience.”
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4 thoughts on “Leviticus 19”
Egypt—it represented captivity, false gods imbedded in a pagan culture, and everything contrary to God’s ways. It was a place God miraculously rescued the Israelites from, giving them a brand new calling and way of living. Every single “ask” of God was for their benefit and blessing. He sealed it with these words “I, am the Lord your God.” Fast forward thousands of years and through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus we are grafted into God’s family, heirs & joint heirs with Christ. Our personal conduct should be marked by the deepest gratitude and holiness. “Give me one pure & holy passion, give me one magnificent obsession, give me one glorious ambition for my life, to know and follow hard after You.”
When reading this it is somewhat overwhelming or very overwhelming. I am not capable of being that person of Holiness. BUT GOD knows and knew this. He made provision for all. Today I think about the amour of God. We need it all to live daily. We need the entire armor to be able to stand against all the attacks but I was just thinking about my hearts. The breastplate of righteousness is guarding our hearts. (Ephesians 6:14) The breastplate covers the heart and shields it and the other vital organs. The Bible says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). That is what Christ’s righteousness does for you. It protects you against all of Satan’s accusations . This righteousness is not made up of the good deeds you do. The Bible is clear that none of us are righteous in ourselves (Romans 3:10). The breastplate of righteousness is entirely the righteousness of Jesus which He gives us freely when we accept Him as our Savior (2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Philippians 3:9). It is Christ’s righteousness not our own righteousness that covers and protects us. We cannot be Holy without Christ’s blood of redemption. He made our way. We now have to put on our armor and fight.
Thank you God for provision to fight. Thank you for protection as we battle daily in this world. Thank you for guidance and that we can always look to you and your word for knowledge in Jesus name amen.
What is sad is how this country has neglected to observe these laws —the commandments—as truth to live by. Lord, save us. But what is even more sad is to see a “Christian” flippantly misuse God’s word and mercy. Meaning they live how they want and rely on God’s love and mercy to excuse their behavior. That there is no penalty for living unholy because Jesus died for our sins and He loves me anyway…Rubbish!!
Is it just me that gets a bur in my saddle when someone uses what Jesus gave His life for? But this seems to be the new “religion” people are gravitating to. Correct me if I’m wrong! Please!
It seems lazy and undisciplined, and frankly…dishonest (I love you God, but I don’t love you enough to want to be holy)
I’m not perfect…and I’ve been mad at God at times, but this way of living I don’t get.
Lord, forgive me for being upset and judging the actions of others that I don’t understand. I know you are doing a work in them that maybe I can’t see. Help me to be more compassionate and understanding to their blindness of truth and help me to continue to be a light in this dark world. It just hurts to see people lost enough to use Jesus’ death as a scapegoat to sin. Forgive me. In your name I pray…