Sunday, July 17, 2022

Posted on Jul 15 2022

Commandments and Holiness-Leviticus 19

Bible Background: The “Holiness Code” is the content of Leviticus 17-26, and gives instructions for how the people of God-about to enter the Promised Land-are to conduct their lives. These rules are both very ‘earthy’ (covering everything from skin diseases, to who you can sleep with) and down to earth (like how you treat neighbors and foreigners.) The bottom line, though, is that “You shall be holy as I (Yahweh) am holy!”

Digging Deeper: 1. Sometimes Christians think that “since Jesus fulfilled all the laws of Moses”, we need not pay attention to all the detailed behaviors-including dietary laws-written in Leviticus. And that’s partially true! But we cannot escape the call to “be holy/perfect-as God is holy/perfect”, which Jesus issues in Matthew 5. We belong to a holy God, who instills holiness on us, and desires holiness from us.

2. The Holiness Code in Leviticus spells out the Ten Commandments in more detail, and always-it’s about honoring God and creating the foundation for a good and healthy community. A key verse is 19:18 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

3. Back to today’s 7th Commandment, Martin Luther writes in The Small Catechism: You shall not steal. What does this mean? We are go fear/respect and love God so that we neither take our neighbors’ money or property nor acquire them by using shoddy merchandise or crooked deals, but instead help them to improve and protect their property and means of making a living.

+What does that say about honesty in all our dealings with others? Including business dealings? Must we disclose deficiencies in a home we are selling? Or a car we are selling? (Not just “does state law require me to…?”) To what extent are we to help others “improve and protect” what is theirs? Or help ensure someone has the ability to make a living?