Leviticus 19–21: Holy & Set Apart

Read the Bible in 2011Week 30: Monday

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:

“Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.’”
Leviticus 19:1–2

Monday’s Bible reading is Leviticus 19–21. This continues the section of Leviticus that Oswald Allis titles, Sins Against the Moral Law, (18:1–20:27).1 Many of the laws in these chapters are expressions of the 10 Commandments (cf. Exodus 20). Chapter 21 contains specific laws for priests.

In his introduction to Leviticus, Allis writes:

“The immediate purpose of this book is to set forth those laws and principles by which Israel is to live as the people of God. Their God is a holy God; they are to be a holy people. ‘You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy’ is the emphatic demand.”2

You’ll recognize the 10 Commandments in the laws regarding idols, treatment of neighbors (notice 9:18: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”), strangers, parents and children, and sexual immorality.

It’s always fascinating to me to see the juxtaposition of Scripture in these readings. In yesterday’s reading, 1 Thessalonians 1–3: Idols & The Living God, Paul wrote to a church that was a mix of Jews and Gentiles, “…you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God.” Now today reading in Leviticus 19:4, God commands Israel, “Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the LORD your God.”

Law forbidding any kind of practice of the occult are in 19:26, 31, and in 20:6, 27. Deuteronomy 18:9–14 reiterates laws forbidding spiritism. Are you as a Christian aware that practices such as horoscopes or yoga are the types of practices forbidden here?

Watch for the phrases, “I am the LORD your God,” and “I am the LORD,” because they repeated often as God reiterates who He is and to whom Israel belongs.

“Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.”
Leviticus 20:26


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Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1, 2Oswald T. Allis, “Leviticus,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., pp. 157, 141.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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