Called to Be Separate
Oh you guys. A tough read today, right? We are reading from Leviticus 17-20 and the Bible is not mincing words about God’s expectation about sexual practices and holiness. We are called to be separate in a world that bids us to conform. Oh how much our world needs to hear these words and understand the heart of God!
In Leviticus 17 God provides guidelines for His people regarding the importance of blood and forbidden sacrifices.
Easy English Bible Commentary:
“In Leviticus 17:1-2, These verses remind us that these are God’s rules. Moses did not make them up. The rest of the chapter gives three important rules that the Israelites had to obey:
(1) When the Israelites killed animals for meat, they had to offer them to God as peace offerings (verses 3-9).
(2) The Israelites could not eat the blood of animals (verses 10-12).
(3) The Israelites might hunt animals. Or they might find animals that were already dead. There were special rules about the meat of those animals (verses 13-16)”
“In Genesis 9 Noah receives a covenant from the Lord. Part of the covenant removed the prior restrictions against eating meat, allowing Noah and his family to kill animals for food. However, the allowance came with this proviso: “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it” (verse 4).
One reason God prohibited the consumption of animal blood in the Old Testament was to teach respect for the sacredness of life.”
Blood is Sacred.
Another reason for God’s command not to eat bloody meat undoubtedly concerned the sacrifices. Blood was the only atonement for sin (2 Chronicles 29:24; Hebrews 9:22); therefore, blood was seen as a sacred thing. God wanted to ensure that the blood of the sacrifices was always considered precious. To preserve the people’s appreciation of the sacrifices, God could not allow blood to become a common food.”
The humane treatment of animals may have been another reason why God told Noah not to eat meat with the blood still in it. God did not want mankind to act like the carnivorous animals, who caught their prey and began eating it immediately. Instead, they were to drain the blood from the carcass and thus ensure the animal was dead before it was consumed.
Further, some have suggested God may have given this command for health reasons. Blood present in meat means it is not fully cooked, and eating uncooked meat can lead to disease or sickness. We recognize this danger today, as attested by the USDA-mandated warnings found in modern-day menus: “Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.” In ancient cultures, the risk could have been even higher, given the lower standards for food safety.”
The Value of blood.
Each human life is precious. Our sin led to death, which God made provision to cover our sins. We see these principles from Leviticus reiterated in several Scriptures:
Acts 15:29 (NLT)
“You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well.”
“But you must not eat meat with its lifeblood still in it.”
“But you must not eat the blood; pour it on the ground like water.”
“Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood.”
Thanks be to God that Jesus poured out His blood on our behalf.
Romans 5:9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
Scripture of the Day: Leviticus 18:1-5 (NLT)
“Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. I am the Lord your God. 3 So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life. 4 You must obey all my regulations and be careful to obey my decrees, for I am the Lord your God. 5 If you obey my decrees and my regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord.”
Called to Be Separate From Our Culture
We are to be different from the culture around us. This will be hard. But it is what God expects of us. The CSB says “Do not follow the practices of the land of Egypt or where you live. And You must not follow their customs.” Leviticus 18 makes clear that pagan practices are not tolerated. There are clear guidelines regarding sexual activity and other pagan customs.
- No incest.
- No homosexuality
- And no bestiality.
So when our culture today endorses any of this behavior, what are God’s people to do? Live by His word, not our culture. In a recent article on CNN, A Massachusetts city will recognize polyamorous relationships as part of new domestic partnership ordinance. What a slippery slope inappropriate sexual relations weave. Homosexual behavior is an abomination in God’s sight. God did not make Adam and Steve. And now polyamorous many many people can be in the sexual relationship together.
Called to Be Separate and Holy
From Easy English Bible Commentary – A wrong desire for sex can ruin people’s lives. So God showed people that wrong desires did not have to control their lives. Instead, they should obey God’s law. And then God’s law, which is good and perfect, will rule their lives. They will live by God’s law.
In Leviticus 19, God teaches us what holiness looks like:
Leviticus 19:1-2, “The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “Speak to the entire Israelite community and tell them: Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”
Why would God have to give all of these rules? In the natural, our flesh is counter the ways of God. We need guidance. And oh, we need grace!
God’s laws still stand.
My heart was grieved reading many of the sins in Scripture today. Was yours? The sins of this world pull so many away. And while our culture may endorse sin, it never makes it right in God’s eyes.
While we no longer have to offer sacrifices, praise God!, God’s laws still stand. Christ fulfilled the law, but He did not abolish it. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. God is still holt.
Here are just a few Old and New Testament Scriptures that highlight the truths of Leviticus 19:
Called to be Transformed, Not to Conform
Romans 12:2 ESV
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
1 John 2:15-17 ESV
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
Called to Be Separate and Set Apart
“7 Consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. 8 Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sets you apart.”
“I am the Lord your God who set you apart from the peoples.”
“26 You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be mine.”
These principles from God were not just for those who lived in OT times. These are not just legalistic rules. These are an act of love from the heart of God. Sin destroys us.
Called to Be Separate—Be Holy As I Am Holy
1 Peter 1:16 ESV
“Since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'”
1 Corinthians 6:19 ESV
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.”
2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV
“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”
Called to Be Separate—A Living Sacrifice
Romans 12:1-2 ESV
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 13:14 ESV
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
Galatians 5:16 ESV
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
Romans 1:1 ESV
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.”
2 Corinthians 6:17 ESV
“Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.”
God calls us to be holy and provides guidelines because He loves us. When we follow the culture instead of God’s word, we will suffer the consequences. Resist the culture, not God. God made the world. He gets to make up the rules.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day #190: Leviticus 17-20
Scripture of the Day: Leviticus 18:1-5
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