February 14 | Daily Devotion

February 14 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you”¦You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God.” ~Leviticus 18:3-4

There are two themes than run throughout the book of Leviticus. The first, as we’ve previously noted, is the call to be holy as God is holy (Lev. 19:2). God created the world to be a beautiful place free of sin, disease, and perversion, and His worshippers are to reflect that beauty in their lives. The second theme is the command to love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18). God calls His people to treat others the way they themselves want to be treated. If you understand these two themes, then all the individual commands in Leviticus begin to fall into place.[1]

The pagan peoples the Israelites encountered were into all kinds of perverted practices. So God gave His people behavioral boundaries for their protection and for the preservation of His good name. By staying within the confines of God’s rules, people could fully enjoy what had been given to them without getting hurt or hurting others. The worshipping community was expected to show love toward everyone, from their closest family members to foreigners working in their midst. They were not to lie or steal or gossip. They were not to do anything that put their neighbor at risk of physical harm. Out of love for others, they were to confront those who sought to do harm (Lev. 19:17). They were not to seek revenge or harbor grudges. They were to keep sex safely within the borders of marriage.

Certainly a few of the prohibitions in Leviticus 19 do not apply to modern society, but the dual themes of love for a holy God and love for fellow man are as relevant as ever for the worshipping community.[2] As people who are totally accepted by God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are called to reflect His holiness (with His help). Are you living out your calling as a God-worshipper? Is worship a high priority? Do you show love for your fellow man by refusing to steal, lie, get even, hold a grudge, or gossip? Do you have proper sexual boundaries in your life? If you had to say no to any of these question, what changes do you need to make? May God help each of us to glorify His holy name in our daily lives and show us how to love our neighbors! In the words of Augustine, “Lord, command what You will, and give what You command.”

[1] A few obscure rules in chapter 19 regarding clothing, haircuts, and tattoos don’t fall easily under either theme and are difficult for scholars to explain. It’s likely that these oddities were, in their way, about honoring the order of creation and abstaining from practices associated with pagan worship.

[2] An important interpretive practice for Bible readers to learn is separating the core themes of Scripture from the application of those themes within particular cultures. The core themes never change, but their application varies across cultures.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.