Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sticky Issues (Lev 18-20)

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. I am the Lord your God. So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life. You must obey all my regulations and be careful to obey my decrees, for I am the Lord your God. If you obey my decrees and my regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord. (Lev 18:1-5).
Sticky notes for a less sticky life
If you are diabetic or know anyone who is, you understand that, to live a long healthy life there are certain foods the doctors say are to be avoided. Foods high in sugar, sodium or fats especially trans fats are not the best for any of us, but especially one who is diabetic. However sometimes sticking to doctors orders can be a battle.  My father who was Diabetic experienced serious diabetics shocks when he was careless about what the doctor ordered.

In a similar way, in Lev 18-20,  I see God as the doctor over his people Israel, giving them instructions on what to do and not do in order to live a healthy life on earth. He digs deep into their sin tendencies and elaborates in very clear terms what brings a full life.  Which is a life fully intimate with God. Being the ultimate physician, God expresses that there is no other life found outside of Him, and only by following His orders will His people Israel avoid the diabetic shocks that plague their broken world. 

So what did the doctor order? What other laws found in our text today did God prescribe for Israel? How does God's prescription to Israel apply to us today? I must warn you...they are sticky....especially in our culture they will sting hard....However let us examine some of what the doctor ordered for His people Israel and see their relation in our world today.

Do not engage in Commentary Reference
Incest Sexual relations with family members (brother, sister, daughter, in-laws, father , mother etc) 18:6-18
Sex during
Menstrual cycle

In the culture, a woman during her menstrual cycle was considered unclean so the man would be too if he was intimate with her during that time
Adultery Sexual intimacy outside of ones own marriage 18:20, Exo 20:14
Child sacrifice Sacrificing children to gods 18:21

Sexual intimacy with someone of the same sex 18:22

Sexual intimacy with an animal 18:23

Honor your father and mother
Respect parents 19:1
Have a day of rest The Lord provided this day for His people as a healthy practice and a sign of trusting God to provide even when they are not working. 19:1, 30
Honor God first Do not worship anything apart from God 19:4
Have a heart of gratitude
May the thanksgiving offering be made as prescribed by the Lord. So even in celebration of God's faithfulness, holiness has to be maintained.
Care for the poor
In your fields of work  provide room for the poor and strangers to get provision from your harvest.
Do not steal, or lie
God's people are to abide by the truth. Bearing false witness was prohibited

Do not Pervert justice or discriminate amongst each other
Justice and righteousness are the foundation of God's rule. Israel, God's people are to abide by truth, equality and embrace diversity 19:13-16
Love one another Do not hate your brother but correct him with love 19:17
Forgive one another Do not take vengeance in your own hands, the Lord Himself will repay evil committed towards you 19:18

Do not consume blood, practice divination, soothsaying, use mediums for consulting the spirits of the dead
Blood portrayed life, so eating anything with its blood was not acceptable. Divination is trying to tell the future through the occult or by using powers outside of God's revelation. 19:26, 31

Do not cut your body for the dead or tattoo marks on your body
The human body is created beautifully whole in the image of God, so disfiguring it in any way, dishonors God. it revealed rebellion towards God's design. 19:28
No sex traffiking
Do not give your children to prostitution for gain or cause them to run into prostitution because of parental negligence
Honor the elderly
Those advanced in age carry unique wisdom from life, although more fragile in strength, they need to be honored out of fear of the God who has given them long life.
Doctors Orders 
For all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you. “‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people.

Ok I must agree, it is a long list. Showing how sick Israel as a people were...and looking at the list, I will say it speaks to my own sickness and to yours as well. The truth is, just like the people over 1500 years ago practiced these things that brought death (Rom 3:23, 6:23), we today practice the same. The list above is not foreign to our own sin tendencies. So the question is, , will we experience diabetic shock, if we, like Israel, decide to ignore the doctors orders? If we ignore the doctor's orders should we count on experiencing death and broken relationships as indicated by God in Lev 20? Like my father, he tried to obey the doctor's orders, but it seemed to fail many times, sometimes causing him to give up trying to conform to the rules and regulations that brought him life.

Like many of us, we are weak when asked to perfectly obey God's righteous standard. So how do we live out the abundant life if rule following is our weakness? God has a plan, He always does. The ultimate doctor has given his rules as an MRI for our hearts (Rom 3:20) and now that we see how sick we really are (Rom 7:7-13), we call out to Him to save us from our hopeless condition and He listens. Just like He did to Paul the Apostle, he declared with anguish and then hope in Rom 7:21-25

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So although God's laws reveals our sickness called sin, we have hope in Jesus Christ, because faith in Him is surgery from the inside out, where we are made into a new person (2 Cor 5:17). One, not enslaved to sin but slave to a right standing with God (Rom 6:18). A new person who desires to follow the doctors orders and is able to do so, by the enabling of the Holy Spirit. God has not left us without help (John 14:17-19), He is with us all the way, going the distance to make us Holy because only by His way, and not ours, do we experience the joy of life, the abundant life (John 10:10). I hope you will seek God out, so that you may experience the life your were created to live. Now this is true comfort for the soul. Until next time...Read...Share...and be Comforted. May this song by Amy Grant, "Carry you", give you the courage to reach out to God to help you live out His beautiful life in and through you.
"Carry you" Amy Grant click here for slower internet connections

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear your thoughts, thanks.

My Testimony