February 8, 2018 Bible Study — Commands For Us, Not Someone Else, To Follow

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Leviticus 19-21.

    Today’s passage begins with a series of commands about personal behavior, most of them form the basis for having a civil society. Some of them are obvious:

  • “Do not steal.”
  • “Do not deceive or cheat one another.”
  • Do not rob or defraud your neighbor.”

But some of them we need to take special note:

  • “Do not favor the poor, or be partial to the rich, in legal matters”
  • Notice that it is not enough not to be partial to the rich, we also must not favor the poor over the rich.

  • “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor’s life is threatened.”
  • “Do not nurse hatred in your heart.”
  • “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge.”

These last two I dropped off the qualifiers which the passage contained based on what Jesus had to say about who is our family and who is our neighbor. There are a couple of these which I do not quite understand: “Do not mate two different kinds of animals,” “Do not plant two different kinds of seed.” However, since I am not a farmer, I do not need to figure out how either of those applies. The key to all of these is that they apply to ourselves, not someone else. The command is not “Do not let your neighbor steal.” it is “Do not steal.”

February 7, 2018 Bible Study — Forbidden Sexual Practices, Don’t Sacrifice Your Children To Idols, More Forbidden Sexual Practices

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Leviticus 16-18.

    Today’s passage discusses the sacrifices and rituals which Aaron was required to follow before and during entering into God’s presence. In the New Testament this is compared and contrasted with Christ’s death on the Cross. Certainly as a Christian, these sacrifices and rituals can be seen as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself for our sins. One of the contrasts which struck me was that only Aaron was allowed to be in the Tabernacle while he was conducting these sacrifices and rituals. In other words, only Aaron could be in the Tabernacle while God was present there, only Aaron could come into the presence of God. On the other hand, Christ’s sacrifice means that everyone may come into God’s presence.

    The other set of laws which I want to write about is the ones about what constitutes improper sexual relations. My thoughts about this are heavily influenced by an article I read many years ago which suggested that the clear limits on the acceptable expression of sexual desire laid out here provided a framework for keeping people from being distracted by seeking sexual gratification. By creating such a framework, energy which might otherwise have been directed into seeking gratification of sexual desire went into more productive activities. While there is some truth to that, I think a more important aspect of the framework for sexual gratification laid out here is the impact it had on social relationships. Forbidden sexual relations include ones we consider taboos in almost all societies: incest, same sex relations, bestiality, etc.. However, this passage contains much more extensive prohibitions than that. As such, these rules help promote healthy social interaction between people by taking potential sexual interaction off of the table between those who follow these rules. I find one thing interesting. In the middle of rules forbidding various kinds of sexual behavior there is a command to not kill our children as a sacrifice. It seems to me that this placement speaks quite clearly to the issue of abortion.