Friday, February 07, 2014

Leviticus 19-21 Caring for the people

From Leviticus 19-21

Lev 19.1-37 Law; Assortment of laws, some repetitions of previous laws
Lev 20.1-9 Law; Idolatry, laws against child sacrifice and sorcery
Lev 20.10-21 Law; Sexual immorality, punishments for offenses
Lev 20.22-26 Law; General reminder to be holy as the LORD and keep all the commands
Lev 20.27 Law; Sorcery, punishment for sorcery
Lev 21.1-24 Law; Priests, Instructions for how the priests are to live and marry

Passage and Comments
Today I thought I would list a few of the more realistic laws stated in leviticus;
[9] “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. [10] And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God. (Lev 19:9-10)
This is the same law that enabled Boaz to provide for Ruth in Ruth 2.1-7
[11] “You shall not steal; (Lev 19:11a)
Obviously this law is common sense and a repetition of what is in the Ten Commandments.
you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. (Lev 19:11b)
Again, common sense and part of the Ten Commandments.
[12] You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. (Lev 19:12)
Again, common sense and part of the Ten Commandments.
[13] “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. (Lev 19:13)
Here we see a concern for the people around them.
[14] You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. (Lev 19:14)
Who would see this kind of law as a burden? A chore, something we don’t want to live under. I bet the deaf and blind appreciated these laws.
[15] “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. (Lev 19:15)
This law protects people, protects their right to a fair trial.
[16] You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD. (Lev 19:16)
Now we delve into how to deal with conflict with the people around us.
[17] “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. (Lev 19:17)
And continue with the same theme.
[18] You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. (Lev 19:18)
Story of Israel
Could you imagine how Israel came to know these laws well enough to live by them? I assume one would need to make a regular practice of reading or hearing the narrative of Israel that contained the law.

Story of Jesus
And here we go, the last law of this sequence is the same Jesus thinks is the second most important command in the law;
[36] “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” [37] And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. [38] This is the great and first commandment. [39] And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Mt 22:36-40)
Jesus said it better than I could.