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February 1, 2023 - Leviticus 17-27

Reading through some of the laws of Leviticus, especially those pertaining to human relationships within the society and within the family, it is clear how much damage sin has done to the human race. That is, it is amazing that God has to say to Israel, “Don't do this!” or “Don't do that!” when those actions are so obviously wrong. “Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute” (19:29). Really? Israel has to be instructed in this matter? “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers” (19:31). Really? Israel has to be told to keep away from these practices? Don’t sacrifice your children! (ch. 20) Really? Parents have to be prevented from killing their own babies? And on and on it goes.

And then, Moses goes into all the proper and improper ways of worship and approaching God. And he instructs regarding feasts and thanksgivings. That so much has to be written down and kept constantly before the people is a testimony to how easily we turn away from God and from what is right.

The Lord also says to Israel, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (19:2). Israel must be like God, but is not. And so, God gives her the details. But he also says, “But if they confess their iniquity . . . if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob” (26:40-42). God is holy, and he is also gracious and forgiving.

God of mercy, God of grace,

show the brightness of your face.

Shine upon us, Savior, shine;

fill your Church with light divine,

and your saving health extend

to the earth’s remotest end.

Let the people praise you, Lord!

Be by all that live adored.

Let the nations shout and sing

glory to their Savior-King;

at your feet their tribute pay,

and your holy will obey. --Henry Francis Lyte (1845)

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