As chapter 19 begins, we are reminded to be holy because God is holy, to keep the Sabbaths of the Lord, and to avoid idolatry. This passage also tells us that peace offerings were to be offered in a manner in which they would be accepted. This meant the peace offering had to be consumed within the first two days of offering it. If any remained on the third day, it had to be burned up completely.
The peace offering is a shadow of Jesus who was our peace offering. Even though He was in the grave for three days and nights, His body did not decay but was raised up on the third day. According to Revelation 20, those who are raised up in the second resurrection will be judged according to what they have done when they stand before the Lord and will never have peace with God. Since their names will not be found in the book of life, they will be thrown in the lake of fire.
Leviticus 19:1-10 is primarily concerned with our relationship with God but a few of these commandments seem out of place. Those few seem to only be commands for our relationships with certain people:
- Mothers and fathers
- The poor and the stranger
Can these two groups of people somehow be similar to our relationship with God? I think so. Parents are authority figures in the lives of their children. If children can’t learn to obey and submit to their parents, they won’t be able to easily learn to obey and submit to God. As children obey their parents, they are obeying God.
Matthew 25:37-40 also shows us a similar relationship between poor people, strangers, and God: “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Based on this verse, it is obvious that the way we treat others is how we treat God.
Leviticus 19:11-17 deal mainly with man’s relationship with others: “’You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. 12 And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. 13 ‘You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning. 14 You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the Lord. 15 ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord. 17 ‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”
Wouldn’t it be amazing if people actually took these commandments into their hearts and started obeying them? We would have a lot less evil in the world today and more peace and harmony. Not treating one another as we’d like to be treated breeds the desire to retaliate and seek vengeance. Hatred and evil ends up escalating instead of dissipating.
Leviticus 19:23-25 says, “When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten. 24 But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the Lord. 25 And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase: I am the Lord your God.”
We know from the end of Leviticus 18 that the previous inhabitants were being expelled from the land due to the abominations that they had committed and that the land was contaminated as a result of their abominations. It’s interesting that the word “uncircumcised” is used to describe the condition of the fruit of new trees they would plant. New trees are like newborn boys who needed to be circumcised. Just as a certain amount of time (8 days) has to go by before the circumcision of a boy could be performed, the new fruit trees had to grow five years before their food could be removed and eaten.
For new Christian believers, there is a time of gaining knowledge and maturity that must take place in order to adequately circumcise the heart. Bad fruit such as sinful desires and actions must be put to death and the contaminating influence of the world around new believers must be cut off. This is not always a pleasant experience. Once the heart is circumcised and there are healthy and godly influences in the new believer’s life, good fruit is bound to spring forth.
Leviticus 19:26-29, 31 says, “You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying. 27 You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard. 28 You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord. 29 ‘Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a harlot, lest the land fall into harlotry, and the land become full of wickedness. 31 ‘Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.”
God has given us more prohibitions that are tied to demon worship or contact with the dead. Dabbling in the occult always results in some degree of defilement whether we realize it or not. It doesn’t matter if it is in the form of fantasy games, books, TV programs, praying to dead saints, witchcraft, pagan rituals, prostitution, or other things.
In this day and age we are seeing more occultic input creeping into our lives than ever before. We need to take the time to know God’s commandments concerning these things and teach our children not to get involved in these things. We need to prevent our children’s teachers and friends from making these activities seem like normal fun topics to read about or participate in. We need to be proactive in teaching our children to avoid the occult and to help them question things in their lives that may have occultic connections. These things should not be exalted in our children’s lives because once occultic interests take hold, they are very difficult to remove. Instead they often grow.
We need to aggressively respond when we find out our children are being exposed to or have become involved in the occult. We need to stop thinking that occultic influences are no big deal or aren’t that serious. They are doorways that can open an entire family up for demonic attack. We need to know how to properly respond to the forces of evil that are attacking our families today. We must nurture our children toward salvation at an early age and keep them from backsliding. We need to give them commands to say in the name of Jesus for times of need. We can show them what kind of Scripture verses to read out loud if they are being harassed by the forces of darkness. Sometimes it may be necessary to regularly anoint our children with oil in the name of Jesus in order to keep these spiritual pests away. We should also show our children how to use praise music and prayer as weapons of warfare.
Some people may never face such intense spiritual battles with demons but I can assure you there are some people who are constantly and blatantly attacked with little relief because:
- Parents don’t believe their children complaints or take them seriously.
- Psychologists, psychiatrists, and medication can’t help demonic problems.
- Most Christians don’t know what to do.
- Many Christians don’t believe these are the kinds of things that should be done.
- Christians give up.
- Children don’t keep their parents informed of what they are going through.
Those who are under such attack need prayer support and deliverance. They don’t need condemnation by those who are ignorant of what they are truly facing.
Leviticus 19:32-37 says, ‘You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord. 33 ‘And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. 34 The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. 35 ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. 36 You shall have honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. 37 ‘Therefore you shall observe all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them: I am the Lord.’”
We must treat the elderly with respect. In doing so, we are respecting the Lord. These days in America we are seeing more foreigners in our midst than ever before. They must not be taken advantage of, mistreated, or ridiculed but treated with kindness and respect as long as they are here. However, foreigners should:
- Be subject to all of the laws of our country because this is what God required.
- Be punished for criminal or terrorist activity. This makes sense because God commanded foreigners (strangers) to be subject to the same penalties of lawlessness as citizens of the land.
As having lived overseas myself, I have been taken advantage of. I’ve been the victim of false weights and measures. I’ve been misled. I’ve been the victim of attempted robbery while others looked on and encouraged it without warning me. I’ve dealt with language barriers. I’ve had to abide by the laws of the country I was in. These were not always pleasant experiences and I’m grateful that God is concerned about the foreigner. It makes me more sensitive to the foreigners in my midst.
The first time we read the Ten Commandments was in Exodus 20. In Leviticus 19, the Ten Commandments were explained a little differently but still captured the need to worship only God and to treat others as we’d like to be treated. In Deuteronomy 5:6-21, Moses once again repeated the Ten Commandments to the generation that would enter the Promised Land. Even today, our generation must make it a point to know God’s commands and keep them.