Leviticus 19-21: Repetition (Feb 19)

You know what they say now-a-days about memory?  They say that in order to remember something, people have to be exposed to it seven times.  As you read these chapters in Leviticus, there are two phrases that are repeated several times.  When something is repeated in scripture, it is generally a good idea to pay attention to it, it just might mean something.

The two phrases are:

  1. “I am the Lord” or “I am the Lord your God”
  2. “I am the Lord who sets you apart”

These two phrases speak to two different things.  The first has to do with God’s right to give instruction and our need to obey that instruction because of his right.  This section of laws and ordinances start in chapter 18, and God begins the whole thing by saying “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: I am the Lord your God…You are to practice My ordinances and you are to keep My statutes  by following them: I am the Lord your God. Keep My statutes and ordinances; a person will live if he does them.  I am the Lord.”  Every time God repeats this first phrase then, He is reminding the Israelites of his opening statement about following and obeying God.

The second statement has to do with our position.  This concept of being set apart begins with Israel but continues on through the Bible and includes us as Christians.  It speaks to how we are to be markedly different because of our relationship with God.  The Biblical concept of holiness is rooted in this idea of being set apart and distinct, not in the idea of perfection.  This is important.  God is holy because he is different than and above everything else.  So when he calls his people to be holy, he isn’t talking about moral, ethical or physical perfection, he is talking about being distinct from the rest of the world.  Different because we follow his commands and live life as he dictates.  Also notice that being set apart has nothing to do with us; it is an act of God that happens as we align our lives with his standards.

Happy reading.

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture?  What was something I already knew?
  •  What was new from this piece of scripture?  What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  •  How does this passage apply to my life, here and now?  Do I need to do anything about it?
  •  What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 22-23

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