1. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the people of Israel and say to them, this is the thing that the Lord has commanded. 3 If any one of the house of Israel kills an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or kills it outside the camp, 4 and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it as a gift to the Lord in front of the tabernacle of the Lord, bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from among his people. 5 This is to the end that the people of Israel may bring their sacrifices that they sacrifice in the open field, that they may bring them to the Lord, to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings to the Lord. 6 And the priest shall throw the blood on the altar of the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting and burn the fat for a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 7 So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations. English Standard Version., Le 17:1-7.
RAF: There could be no such thing as private sacrifice in Israel. This is perhaps the equivalent of modern home or single family churches. Sacrifice was commanded worship and it was not allowed to be conducted outside the context of the Tabernacle. Why? Because as the text shows, it leads to idolatry, and a service to God which is detached from the rest of His people. One cannot have a right relationship with God, and not also be connected to His people. One ought to want connection to His people in the larger context and not want to privatize his service to God. This of course does not mean Churches cannot be small, especially at the beginning. It does mean Churches while autonomous, are not to be excessively privatized. The Body of Christ as a whole must not be ignored or discounted. This may mean we will be forced to interact with those who do not subscribe to our particular slant on everything. We do not abandon individual responsibility to understand God’s Word and to follow it, but we also must let humility prevent us from thinking we have a corner on all the truth and monopolize the one true understanding of all things. The Body is large and diverse. We must make room for one another when and where we can. We must seek connection with the Body of Christ in the larger context – even when it is in bad condition spiritually. We are not speaking of indiscriminate ecumenism, but rather of a proper, Biblical catholicity among those who hold to standards like “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” English Standard Version., Eph 4:4-6.
2. Leviticus 17:10-12 (ESV) 10 “If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. 12 Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.
RAF: Man as made in God’s image is the only earthly creature capable making a distinction between mankind and beasts. Beasts kill and eat without regard for the reality of the life being in the blood. Men are not beasts. We cannot even do such a thing as eat as though we were not created in God’s image. To eat like a beast is to degrade, to abase the image of God we bear.
Contrary to the fallen worldview, we ARE different than the animals.
Even more, God’s reason is that He has specifically designated blood as the symbolic of Christ in making atonement. Therefore they are to be reminded always of the reality of blood and what it means to God in having it used in demonstrating the death of the Savior for sins.
3. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord. ESV – Lev. 18:1-5
RAF: We are to live as though we are God’s people, in contradistinction from all other peoples. This does not require us to go out of our way to be different, but to make our difference known simply in our hearkening to and living under the authority of God’s Word. Is God’s Word what directs us in all things? Is it to this we find our final appeal in weighing all truth? God’s truth “sanctifies” us.
In this text, the defining difference will be marked out as the understanding and carrying out of human sexuality. The way Israel is contrasted here to Egypt cannot be missed as the contrast between God’s people and the World at large.
Nowhere does the Church stand in a more obviously and markedly different place than the World, than in our attitudes toward and the living out of – our sexuality. Where the World not only has no self-control in this area, they despise the very mention of it. Not so with us. The exalted nature of sex and the intimacy and glory of the sexual union in its portrayal of Christ’s intimacy with His Bride the Church, informs every aspect of its sacredness and glory to us.
Here, the believer finds himself & herself combating the single most pervasive avenue of influence from the World that we face. No wonder then it is such a struggle. To disconnect ourselves from the attitudes and mindsets of the World in this area – is the most profound and violent battlefield. Let the Christian be aware – this battle affects all others. Sexual purity is at the very core of the true Christian life. And it is an area not easily subdued. Only by the wisdom of the Word, the power of the Holy Spirit and the absolute necessity of constant vigilance and self-conscious seeking for the Spirit’s work and reign can it be done. But it CAN and MUST be done.
4. You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. ESV – Lev. 18:21
RAF: What made sacrifice to Molech particularly heinous, is located in one thing: It was the sacrificing of infants in a most horrifying, burning death – for the sake of securing personal benefits.
The question then naturally arises for us – what perceived benefit(s) are willing to sacrifice the good and well being of our children for?
The name “Molech” comes from a word which means “king.” Hence God emphasizes that He alone is LORD, no one else is to be seen as our King in the same capacity.
And our King Jesus calls us not to sacrifice our children – ever. Rather, His call to us to raise them in His nurture and admonition. To pray for and labor for their conversion. To display to them the glories of our God – especially His mercy and grace toward sinners as we have experienced it and as it is offered to them in the Gospel. To expose them to the preaching of the Word, the worship of the saints, the fellowship of the Church, our constant prayers, our lives of service to the Kingdom, our submission to the Spirit and their need for salvation in Christ Jesus.
5. 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. ESV – Lev. 19:9-10
RAF: What follows, follows on this principle. In other words, God is going to give a series of charges that demonstrate the acts of loving one another in the society of God’s people. But such charges are not random, they issue from God’s own holiness. These are predicated on His nature. They are a means of living with one another in the same attitudes which God holds toward us. It is most instructive.
9-10: CHARITABLENESS – “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. 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.
God has a heart of great charity toward those who are poor. We manifest this aspect of His character when we do the same. We must see them in their distress, and make provision for them – and that, in such a way that preserves their dignity and keeps them from falling into a pattern of receiving without laboring. Thus, the fields are not to reaped entirely, and so those in need, can gather the food themselves, without disgrace, and leave knowing they’ve done the harvesting themselves and remain dignified.
11-12: HONESTY – “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.
God deals with us in truth. He desires it in our own inward parts, and it is essential in our dealings with one another. We do not steal, because our God does not. We do not deal falsely, because He does not. We do not lie to one another because He IS truth. Nor do we take any oaths by His name but what is honest and upright and true. As our God is, so are we to be.
13: INTEGRITY – “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning.
Greed an laziness and lack of care for others can allow us to deal with one another in ways that are less than forthcoming and in the other’s best interest. But this is not how our God deals with us. He thinks of our welfare in His dealings with us and so we are to do the same in dealing with others. We are to be sure we do not take advantage of them. We are safe with Him, and thus others are to be sage with us.
14: COMPASSION – You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
The deaf cannot hear such curses, nor the blind know who would put such things in their way. But because we cannot be discovered, does not mean we are not to have every compassion on those in such condition, and again, not to take even the slightest advantage of them. Man’s cruelty to man sometimes knows no bounds. But our God is not this way. His own heart sees our defects and does not use them against us. Children especially need to know God’s heart toward those who need compassion, that they too may learn to display the goodness of their God to others from an early age.
15: IMPARTIALITY – “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.
God’s people above all the people of the earth are to be vested in seeing justice done around us. And not vigilante justice. We are not to have our favorites, where justice is lessened because we like them or they can offer us some advantage. We are not to have those whom we dislike and thus let them become “examples” or bear heavier penalties without concern. We are to deal with all men the same in such matters, because this is how our God is. Those closest to Him, are no less responsible than those farthest from Him. Those farthest, are no more culpable than those near. We must show the world our God deals impartially – which is why each and every one, needs the work of Christ at Calvary.
16: HARMLESSNESS – 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.
No one should ever fear harm at our hands. People should feel safe in that they would never suffer harm at our hands for any reason. We are not against them, but for them. They are the ones we are to bless by giving them the Gospel, and rescuing their souls from the fire.
17: NO INDIFFERENCE – “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.
Rather than resolve issues, we sometimes prefer to simply write the other off. But this not how our God deals with us. If there is anything the Cross is, it is the symbol of the very opposite of God’s indifference e to we, who have made ourselves His enemies. Nothing is worse than to be meaningless in the eyes of others. Our God treats no man so, and neither can we.
18: NO VINDICITVENESS – 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.”
Justice is never a private matter. How easy it is for us to justify all sorts of actions and attitudes under the umbrella of seeing some sort of secret or “poetic” justice done. But this is not how our God loves us. And this is how we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. To refuse to bear grudges or to exact our pound of flesh. To love, as He loves us – and to make that known to all.