Leviticus 20: Placing greater value on Relationships

One of the main reasons I am blogging my way through my study in Leviticus is so you, dear reader, can see that IT CAN BE DONE. Reading hard books of the Bible is not only do-able, but it also beneficial! However, it can still be intimidating. Here’s a peek at how I tackled this study today:

  • 6:30am— read chapter 20 on my iPhone app while half-asleep in bed (it piques my curiosity at least).
  • 7:00am—drag myself out of bed, spend time in prayer and stretching (an old habit I have recently picked up again).
  • 7:30am— enjoy “Breakfast with Jesus.” Cinnamon Pecan cereal, banana, Study Bible, journal, commentary, and a prayer: Holy Spirit, teach me.
    • I journal through the three points (in green below) as I read, and consult the notes in my Bible and commentary as needed.
  • 8:00am— digest (physically and spiritually) as I wake up the babies.
  • 10:00am— If I get the chance, I bring my Bible and journal to the computer to write down what God taught me. Otherwise, I’ll come back to my thoughts on a day available for blog writing. (I sometimes write out 2 or 3 chapter-thoughts at a time, and schedule them for different days on the blog).

Pretty simple. I really don’t get much out of the reading if I just scroll through my Bible app. But there are days that’s all I get to, and it is still good. I think the most beneficial part to my study is prayer. It reminds me that I am not just doing a task, but I am fellowshipping with the God of the universe (as we learned in chapter 19)!

I also greatly appreciate asking the question “how can I live in light of this?” It gives me an action point to launch from.

Here’s what I learned from chapter 20:

What does this tell me about God:

  • God requires his people to be on board with His expectations.

God makes a point in this chapter to address the entire community with their responsibility to hold each other accountable. They were to execute the punishments when a person violated God’s law.

  • God places the highest value on life and relationships.

Whereas other cultures valued possessions and economic gain, God called his people to value life and relationships. Many of the sins mentioned in chapter 20 are sins committed against the family unit or against the relationship with God. Death may seem to be a harsh punishment for some of these sins, but it gives us insight into what God values most.

  • God intends for his people to be set apart from the culture, possibly to the point of looking weird.

In verses 222-26, God reiterates his call for the people to be Holy, like He is, and describes a way to do so that may have felt irrational, extreme, or ridiculous: avoiding unclean animals. Leviticus specifically states the reason for this is to appear different from the rest of the nations.

How can I live in light of this:

  • I should place greater value on relationships, with God and with people.

Most of us do not struggle with any of the sins listed in chapter 20. However, we can lean toward valuing our time, money, possessions, and gain above relationships.

There are days that I have a task burning a hole in my mind, whether it be an article to be published, a pile of laundry to be folded, or a ministry event to be planned and scheduled. I want to get it done, make it marvelous, and hopefully receive some accolade or monetary compensation for my achievement. But these days are also the days that my daughter is extra-needy, my son skips his nap, my husband carved out time to connect with me, and my dog is begging for the ball to be thrown. Which will I make time for, the immediate or the important?

Please hear me, avoiding relationships or making time for personal achievement is not what God is addressing in Leviticus 20. However, the principle struck me deeply: do I value relationships with God and others as much as God does?

  • I should hold other believers accountable.

Israel was a nation who’s King was God. This is called a theocracy. Therefore, God’s expectations applied to the whole nation. Many Americans identify in nationality with a theocracy, but we must remember our nation itself is not under the rule of God. He is sovereign yes, but the laws and politics of the USA are not designed like a theocracy. Whereas the people of Israel could hold each other accountable to God’s expectation on a national level, Americans do not have that right to punish, mistreat, or otherwise hold accountable our nation and its citizens to God’s expectations. We do, however, have the right and responsibility to hold other believers accountable to the life God has called us to as His body. In this way, we can honor Leviticus 20 within our churches (along with Galatians 6, and James 5).

  • I should be willing to be weird as I identify more and more with God.

Other thoughts or questions:

  • What/who is Molech? Answer: Molech is the national god of the ammonites. Sacrificing a child may have meant burning the child, but also could refer to giving the child up to become a cult prostitute.

How can you value relationships better in your own life?