The Penalty for Worshiping Molech
Verses 1-5 – Molech, or Moloch was the national god of the Ammonites (1 Kings 11:7). Molech is usually associated in the Bible with child sacrifice. The Ammonites were Israel’s neighbors. They would sacrifice their children to their god to ward off evil and appease angry gods. God condemned this act. Unlike the pagan gods, our God is love that does not need to be appeased (Exodus 34:6). He is a God of life, who prohibits murder. He is a God of the helpless, who shows special concern for children (Psalm 72:4).
The Penalty of Consulting Spirits
Verse 6 – Everyone has a curiosity about the future. But God strictly warns against using the occult for advice. God calls them mediums and familiar spirits. Let me be very clear; those who practice through these familiar spirits are not from God. I’ve heard several well-known mediums give the credit of their ability to talk to the dead or tell the future, to God. They say He gave them this gift. God strictly forbids it in the Old Testament; the only difference in today’s society is they are not put to death because of their practice. We are to look to God for all things. Demons lie and are untrustworthy. The only future they know is their own because it’s been written in the Bible.
The Penalty of Cursing Parents
Verse 9 – Rest assured, God left nothing out of how He wanted the Israelite’s to conduct themselves. Unlike today’s society where children curse, steal from, and even kill their own parents; God wanted them to totally respect their parents or be put to death.
The Penalty Sexual Sins
Verses 10-21 – These next verses of sexual sin, God calls an abomination or perversion. God had no tolerance for such acts for the following reasons; (1) they shatter the commitment of marriage; (2) they destroy the sanctity of the family; (3) they twist people’s mental well-being; (4) they spread sexual disease. God was telling the Israelite’s what they were about to face when they entered the land of Canaan. The Canaanites immoral religious practices reflected a decadent culture that tended to corrupt whoever was exposed to them. Do you think because today’s culture has accepted so many of these sins, that God accepts it today? If He called them perversions and abominations then, they still are today. These are God’s words.
The Purpose of the Laws of Sanctification of the People
Verses 22-27 – God did not withhold good from them. He only forbids those things that would ruin them. We all understand the laws of nature; such as how gravity works; some don’t understand how spiritual laws work though. God forbids certain things because they are self-destructive. There are certain consequences for everything we do. God only wants the best for His people.
Throughout the Book of Leviticus is one theme; worship, integrity, justice, and love. This idea was repeated by Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5).
Verses 9, 10 – God instructed the Hebrews to provide for those in need. He required them to leave the edges of their field’s un-harvested, providing food for travelers and the poor. God desires for us to be generous.
Verses 10-31 – Some people think the Bible is full of don’ts… But Jesus summarized all these laws when He said to love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. He called these the greatest commandments of all (Matthew 22:34-40). By following these two rules, we will find ourselves following everything else as well.
Verse 32 – People often like to dismiss the opinions of the elderly but much wisdom can be gained by their experiences and save us from life’s pitfalls.
Verse 33, 34 – God says to treat foreigners as you’d treat fellow citizens, to love them as you love yourself. We should view strangers, newcomers, and foreigners as an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love.
Verses 1-5 – The Israelite’s moved from one idol-infested country to another. He warned them to leave all aspects of pagan background behind. He also warned them of how easy it would be to slip into the pagan culture of Canaan. The Israelite’s were to keep them pure, set apart to God.
Verse 6 – Marrying relatives were and still are prohibited by God. I know they married relatives in the past but the population had grown now to the point of not being necessary. Children born to near relatives may experience serious health problems (God included daughter-in-laws and sister-in-laws).
Verses 7-27 – God goes into great detail about what He considers abominations or wicked actions; (1) sexual relations with close relatives, (2) committing adultery; (3) offering children as sacrifices; (3) having homosexual relations; (5) and having sexual relations with animals. These practices were common in pagan religions and cultures. Such practices lead to disease deformity, and death. Homosexuality called detestable because it is against God’s order of creation and against His laws of pertaining to the covenant community. The word occurs 116 times in the Old Testament, (New Testament see Romans 1:27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Today’s society takes these laws and practices lightly, even to the point of making them acceptable. However, they are still sin in God’s word.
Chapters 17-26 are sometimes called the “holiness code” because they focus on what it meant to live a holy life.
Verses 3-6 – God established specific times and places for sacrifices. If people sacrificed on their own, they might easily add to or subtract from God’s laws to fit their own life-styles. Pagan religions did this. Their priest made up their own rules. When the Israelite’s slipped into idolatry, it was because “everyone did as he saw fit” (Judges 17:6).
Verse 7 – The goat idols (also called demons) were objects of worship and sacrifice in ancient times, particularly in Egypt from which the Israelite’s had escaped.
Verses 11-14 – How does blood make atonement for sin? When a sacrifice was given with the right attitude, the bloodshed made forgiveness of sin possible. The blood represented the sinner’s life, headed for death. The blood also represented the innocent life of the animal being sacrificed. The death of the animal fulfilled the penalty of death. God therefore granted forgiveness to the sinner. God forbade the Israelite’s from drinking the blood because that was a pagan practice. The Israelite’s were to be a separate people. This also protected the people from disease the animals might have had.
Aaron had to spend hours preparing to meet God. But we can approach God anytime (Hebrews 4:16). Still, we must never forget that God is Holy nor let this easy access cause us to be careless. Easy access to God does not eliminate our need to prepare our heart as we draw near in prayer or worship.
Verses 5-28 – The event with the two goats occurred on the Day of Atonement. This represented two ways God dealt with the Israelite’s; (1) He forgave their sin through the first goat that was sacrificed and (2) He removed their guilt through the second goat, the scapegoat who was sent into the desert. This same ritual had to be repeated every year. Jesus replaced this system once and for all.
God is concerned about our health and the dignity of a person. His commands called people to avoid unhealthy practices and promote healthy ones. To wash was the physical health response; to be purified or cleansed was the spiritual dignity response. The sin offering removed the impurity, while the burnt offering restored the man to the Israelite community. The animals needed for these offerings were the least costly; two turtle-dove or two young pigeons.
Chapter 14 points to the Grace of God, who made provision for people affected by disease to return to the community.
Verse 4 – The person that was healed had to go through a ritual that involved animal sacrifice. The scarlet yarn was woolen yarn colored with crimson scarlet dye made with the Kermes or Cochineal Scale insects. The plant known as hyssop had a good absorbing quality and was abundant in Israel and was associated with purification.
Verse 7 – The release of a live bird may have represented the person being free from death and being free to live in the community again.
Verse 10 – The healed person was allowed back in the camp on the eighth day which marked a new beginning.
Verses 11-13 – This offering was also known as restitution offering and was necessary because the person had been separated and not allowed in the sanctuary. Because the blood of the lamb was crucial for this offering, they could not substitute it for a money offering.
Verses 18-20 – To make atonement for the person who had been healed meant; “to wipe away”, “to purge”, “to purify”, or to “make atonement.” This purification cleansed a person from all sins, known and unknown.
Verses 21-32 – In God’s grace, He made concessions for the poor.
Verses 34, 35 – Why was mildew so dangerous? This fungus could spread rapidly and promote disease. In extreme cases, if the fungus had done enough damage, the clothing was burned and the house destroyed. Mildew and mold are still very dangerous today to your health and well-being.
Verses 54-57 – God told the Israelite’s how to look for and treat all these diseases that were serious threats to their well-being. Although they wouldn’t have understood all these laws their obedience was crucial to their health. The word of God still provides us with physical, spiritual and moral healthy living. We too like the Israelite’s may not understand them. In general, the basic principle of health and cleanliness is still practiced today.