Chapters 19 – The Moral & Ceremonial Laws
Leviticus 19 – the big points
1) Be holy because I am holy. The word translated as holy is qâdôsh which means ceremonially and morally sacred; inherently holy; set apart. This is more than just surface holiness – it goes soul deep.
2) God once again shows Himself concerned about every aspect of His people’s life. Isn’t it interesting though that He had to go into such detail? This confirms that the Israelites were chosen not because of good behavior but because God loved them.
3) Many of the instructions were to separate Israelites from hedonistic practices.
4) Love your neighbor as yourself. It’s about the heart. God desires His people to be set apart from the inside out.
Leviticus 19 begins with the admonition, “Be holy for I am holy.” God’s people were called to be qâdôsh – ceremonially and morally sacred, inherently holy and set apart. In other words, Israelites could not do as the other nations did. They were called for a higher purpose.
Related: Called to Be Separate
Here’s where the grace comes in: God didn’t just make this broad edict “Be holy” and leave it there. No, He had been giving them instructions leading up to that statement.
After making the statement, He summarized His expectations up to that point into simple instructions that could be remembered and followed:
- Honor your parents
- Keep my Sabbaths
- Don’t worship idols.
- Sacrifices should be offered freely.
- Be kind to the poor.
- Be honest in all matters.
- Don’t profane His name.
- Love your brother and your neighbor.
The rest of the chapter goes on to give more guidelines for holiness. The basic thought was this:
If the people remembered that He was Yahweh, then their behavior should reflect their reverence to Him. If they loved Him, then they would want to obey Him and their hearts would be in the right place.
Wasn’t that gracious? God did not want anyone to feel forced to love Him. At the same time, if you chose to serve Him then He let you know how He wanted to be served.
Related: Micah 6:8
Lord, thank You for showing us what is expected from Your people. We appreciate the fact that everything was clearly explained and that there is no need to guess what is expected. Help us to be qâdôsh as You are. In Jesus’ name. Amen.