Lev. 19, other laws

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Helen, Nov 30, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    This chapter opens up with a specific directive from the Lord:

    "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy...'"

    We hear this echoed with slightly different words when Jesus, during the Sermon on the Mount, is talking about loving one's enemies, and He says, "Be perfect, therefore, as our heavenly Father is perfect."

    In 1 Peter, we find reference to this phrase as well as applied to Christians: Therefore prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy because I am holy."
    (1 Peter 1:13-16)

    This is also spoken in Leviticus 11:44-45:
    "I am the Lord our God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. I am the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy because I am holy."

    Each time this command is issued, it is to a very specific group of people and for a specific reason -- because they belong to God.

    Therefore it cannot be stated too strongly that the laws given in this section of Leviticus are only to this group of people at this time. They are respresentative of greater spiritual truths and perhaps some are simply to save the ruin of resources or needless aggravation (God cares about everything), but nevertheless, we can often get sucked into the arguments about how we should obey ALL the laws when the person giving the challenge has too little Bible knowledge to have noticed the way God Himself has delineated which laws belong to whom and which are universal.

    When God gave the Ten Commandments, they followed a specific order: relationship with God for the first three, the bridge commandment of the Sabbath for the fourth, and fifth through tenth had to do with interpersonal relationships, starting with family.

    In this section of Leviticus, it starts by reversing the order of three middle commandments:

    1. Respect your parents
    2. Observe the Sabbaths
    3. Do not make idols or turn to them

    Then a rule regarding fellowship offerings. It must be eaten in two days. By the third day it is unclean. Aside from any spiritual implications, this was a strong health measure in a time of no refrigeration.

    Then there is a series based on loving one's neighbor: don't harvest everything thoroughly -- leave some for the gleaners; don't steal, lie, or deceive one another.

    Then we have some specific orders:

    * Do not defraud your neighbor
    * Do not keep back wages overnight
    * "Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God." This is an interesting one for its application has much more than just dealing with the blind or deaf. The message here is "don't harm a person by attacking him at his weakest point." Personal relationships are consistently held on a different plane than political relationships biblically.
    * Do not pervert justice or show favoritism
    * Do not spread slander
    * "Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life."
    * Do not carry hidden hate for a brother, but rebuke him frankly
    * Do not seek revenge, "but love your neighbor as yourself."

    And then come the three that often cause confusion:

    1. Do not mate different kinds of animals
    2. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.
    3. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.

    Let's look at these.

    1. First of all, it is not a disobedience here to mate horses and donkeys -- they are all equines; the same kind of animal. But if we look at something else, we will see where the problem was possible. Different animals have different mating cues. Birds, for instance, depend on sight and sound. A slight deviation in markings or sound rules out a potential mate. They can get VERY picky!

    However animals like dogs and horses are quite different. Their mating cues are received through their sense of smell, and it doesn't matter what the potential mate looks or sounds like. It is for this reason semen can be collected from high priced males and shipped to various breeders -- the males will attempt to mate even inanimate objects that have the appropriate smell. Thus, animals could be 'teased' into mis-mating. God forbade this.

    2. Regarding the seed. This did NOT mean crops could or should not be rotated. It DID mean that two crops were not to be planted simultaneously. We often do this with crops like corn and pumpkins together, or tomatoes and carrots together. But again, this is not exactly what was being referred to. Efficient truck gardening was not the focus of this prohibition. The planting in FIELDS was of grains: wheat, oats, barley, etc. Planting two kinds together caused nothing but problems: there was no way to harvest them separately, hybrid seeds worth nothing could result, there would be an incredible waste of time trying to separate the stalks after harvest.

    3. All clothing depended on natural substances: wool, linen, and cotton. They take dye at different rates, shrink at different rates, and in general behave entirely differently. Thus the clothing would be ruined in short order if the materials were woven together in the cloth.

    And all three of these laws had one spiritual application: separation. God is speaking to a people He has separated out and He is giving them, in these three laws, three pictures of why separation is necessary for them. It could only hurt them to disobey.

    The next law has to do with the treatment of slave girls, or as we would refer to them, concubines.

    And then a very interesting law regarding the planting of fruit trees -- the harvest is not to be collected for human consumption until the tree is five years old. God says, simply, "In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the Lord your God." The firstfruits -- year four -- are to be dedicated to the Lord.

    Always the first is His. The picture is permanent in the Bible.

    Continuing laws given to the Israelites involve everything from standing in the presence of an elder and showing respect to him or her all the way to forbidding the occult, or eating meat with blood in it, or offering a daughter as a prostitute. Dishonest weights and measures are forbidden, along with cutting the edges off of beards or hair.

    And at the end of this list we read,
    "Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the Lord."

    [ December 01, 2002, 11:25 AM: Message edited by: Helen ]
     
  2. Australian Baptist Student

    Australian Baptist Student
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    Thaks for some excellent teaching, Helen.
    God bless, Colin
     
  3. wjrighter

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    yes i agree; nice touch on the reasons behind,
    the cloth,reminds me of something in the n.t.;
    can't remember now?
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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