Friday, August 26
Today’s reading (and perhaps all of Leviticus) are well summed up by the first 5 verses of Chapter 18. “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them, “I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.”
Did you notice that in these 5 verses one phrase is repeated three times. In fact, it will be repeated about 22 times in Chapters 18 and 19, and will be scattered throughout the rest of Leviticus. “I am the Lord – your God.” Did God really think the Israelites needed that many reminders about who is God?
Might it be that we today need just as many reminders? Do I get caught up following the practices of others, rather than the laws of God? Too often do I merely go along with what my neighbors, classmates, co-workers, countrymen, social media friends around me are doing, rather than being careful to follow the Lord’s commands? Do I question the Lord’s laws, choices and actions? Do I think I have a better way? Do I forget that it is the Lord who is God? How would you fill in the blank: “You must not do as they do in ________. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees.” God warned the Israelites that they must not do what they did in Egypt (where they had come from) and they must not do what they do in Canaan (where they were going). Rather, they were to be a separate, called-out people devoted to him. Where and when do you need to be extra cautious and aware of the influences around you that are pulling you in directions away from God’s leading?
The lists of laws with “I am the Lord your God” interspersed regularly reminded me of a parent answering a child’s questions about why they need to follow their parent’s rules. “Because I said so, and I am your parent.” So true, so true. God doesn’t even wait for his children to start asking the questions. Right along with the rules comes the explanation, over and over again. We would be wise to remember – “He is the Lord our God.” And he knows best.
Who Will You Follow Today? What will it look like?