Friday after Jubilate
Scripture: Leviticus 18:1-6, 20—19:8 (NKJV)
18:1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘I am the LORD your God. 3 According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. 4 You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God. 5 You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.
6 ‘None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the LORD.
20 ‘Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her. 21 And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. 23 Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion.
24 ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. 25 For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. 26 You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you 27 (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), 28 lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. 29 For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the LORD your God.'”
19:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.
3 ‘Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.
4 ‘Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the LORD your God.
5 ‘And if you offer a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD, you shall offer it of your own free will. 6 It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and on the next day. And if any remains until the third day, it shall be burned in the fire. 7 And if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination. It shall not be accepted. 8 Therefore everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned the hallowed offering of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from his people.'”
The Lord knows that sins of fleshly desire are a constant temptation to mankind. As with all of God’s commands, there is much wisdom and common sense to be considered in these ordinances. Abuse of physical relations can easily harm the mind and the body. Such harmful relations are understandably prohibited by our Lord because of these damages.
God warns us against these things partly because of the immediate hurt they can cause, but He also judges against these behaviors because they can shape and define people’s very identities. If one’s identity is primarily a “ladies man” or a “homosexual,” then his identity is not first and foremost a “Christian.” Such people serve two masters, and if their physical desires are given a status anywhere near the priority that God should have, then they have already made God a mere second place. As Luther’s Small Catechism reminds us, we are to fear, love, and trust in God above all things. If one’s lifestyle is defined by things that are in disregard of the clear prohibitions of His Word, then that person does not hold God above all things.
Our Christian identity is in Christ Jesus. Christ alone was the One Who walked perfectly according to the ordinances of God. He lived righteously so that we could live in Him. For all our sins against the commands of God He can grant forgiveness, but if we seek to ignore or rationalize our transgressions, then we reject that forgiveness and our true identity in Him.
May He keep us steadfast in His Word so that we may walk according to the fullness of life that we have in Jesus Christ. Amen.