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Leviticus 18-23


A devotional journey
    led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible
     Now we come to standards of conduct for God’s People –  specifically in terms of sexual relations, but also in terms of a whole host of other situations and events.   After describing the punishments which will be exacted against those who violate God’s standards and commit these sins, God spells out the rules particularly designed for priests as they carry out their responsibilities and the festivals which are to occur every year.
      From a contemporary standpoint it might seem that some of this discussion is designed to protect and preserve the genetic code.  The injunctions against various forms of incest (all commonly practiced by Israel’s neighbors) certainly ensure such an outcome.
      There are also other perversions of God’s design for human relationships which are condemned:  bestiality and homosexuality being the most sensational.  Yet the purpose of this passage is different than just a listing of crimes against God’s natural design.
      The point God makes is always the same in the Bible:  to ignore His standards is to bring on ourselves all kinds of unnecessary guilt, fear, susceptibility to disease, heartbreak in families and stress.   We have natural tendencies and urges which are best satisfied in the contexts God originally intended – a father having sex with his daughter can satisfy him for a moment and destroy her life for years!
      Yet while the punishments are severe in many instances (the killing of a man or woman who has sex with an animal), the purpose is to preserve God’s People from the corruption around them and the infectious nature of sensational sin.  This, of course, is ultimately impossible this side of Heaven, but the laws He gives ensure that there is a better chance of avoiding certain destructive deviations which could threaten the very existence of this new nation being formed.
      Does God have no compassion for those who violate His standards?  This is the wrong question.  God has compassion for everyone.  His standards are an expression of His desire to spare us from some of the despair so inherent in a fallen race.  They are not designed as a test of our goodness but a hedge against unnecessary suffering.
      In a world which includes few people who practice the more bazaar behaviors condemned by the Levitic Code, but many who are involved in such practices as adultery and homosexualit, is death (20:10, 13) God’s only answer (as it appears to be in the case of a child who curses his father or mother in 20:9)?  No, it cannot be.  At least not after the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.  Yet each of us must take seriously the fact that
God does have a design for our lives.  As we turn to Him we can find forgiveness for sin and life that is real; if we turn away from Him there is no life at all.
      Ask yourself today, How can I be more in sync with God’s will?  What change does He want in you?  Why not ask Him to help you make it?
      In the final analysis we don’t give our lives to Him; He gives them to us!
© A. Eugene Pearson 1998