Read Leviticus 24
Olive Oil and Bread Set Before the Lord
24 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning continually. 3 Outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, Aaron is to tend the lamps before the Lord from evening till morning, continually. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 4 The lamps on the pure gold lampstand before the Lord must be tended continually.
5 “Take the finest flour and bake twelve loaves of bread, using two-tenths of an ephah for each loaf. 6 Arrange them in two stacks, six in each stack, on the table of pure gold before the Lord. 7 By each stack put some pure incense as a memorial portion to represent the bread and to be a food offering presented to the Lord. 8 This bread is to be set out before the Lordregularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant. 9 It belongs to Aaron and his sons, who are to eat it in the sanctuary area, because it is a most holy part of their perpetual share of the food offerings presented to the Lord.”
A Blasphemer Put to Death
10 Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. 11 The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.) 12 They put him in custody until the will of the Lord should be made clear to them.
13 Then 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. 15 Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who curses their God will be held responsible; 16 anyone 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.
17 “‘Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death.18 Anyone who takes the life of someone’s animal must make restitution—life for life. 19 Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury. 21 Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a human being is to be put to death. 22 You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born.I am the Lord your God.’”
23 Then Moses spoke to the Israelites, and they took the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him. The Israelites did as the Lord commanded Moses.
This chapter moves from instructions on worshiping in the tabernacle to the story of a man that is stoned to death for blasphemy and cursing. At first read, this can feel like an extreme consequence for a seemingly small offense. Why would a man’s words result in such a violent punishment? What is blasphemy and why does it result in the man’s death?
An article from GotQuestions.org says, “To the Hebrews, a name wasn’t just a convenient label. It was a symbolic representation of a person’s character.” To misuse the name of God is to attack His very identity. Blasphemy matters because who God is matters.
Our culture is filled with conflicting messages about God’s character. We hear claims from social media platforms, public figures, and even people we know about God’s identity. We live in a constant state of deciphering the truth about God amidst the noise of our world. These mixed messages can leave us confused about God’s character and, as a result, our own identities. Knowing who God really is and knowing his character, matters more than we might realize. We need to know God to properly direct our worship toward Him and to know His heart toward us. Thankfully, Scripture has revealed God to us through the person of Jesus (John 14:8-11).
Verses 17 through 21 explain the consequences for taking a human life, and we see that God takes this just as seriously as He takes blasphemy. Genesis 1:27 tells us, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” We bear the image of God. He breathed life into us, and created us to represent Himself. God takes our lives as seriously as He takes His own identity. Unlike any other part of creation, we resemble God in a way that is unique and holds value. God wants to reveal Himself to us, to approach Him with reverence and respect, and to honor His image humanity because we all bear His image.
May we learn to see and understand the weight of God’s holiness, stand in awe at who He is, and live in a way that honors his image in those around us.
- Do your words show a reverence for God? How might your words or actions better reflect a reverence for God?
- How can we live in a way that values God’s image in the people around us?
- What scripture(s) do you know that reveals the character and identity of God?
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