Saturday after Jubilate
Scripture: Leviticus 19:9-18, 26-37 (NKJV)
9 ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
11 ‘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.
26 ‘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.
30 ‘You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD.
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.
32 ‘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.'”
Much of the subject for this week’s readings has been on blood and sacrifice, which foretell the love God shows us in Jesus Christ’s own bleeding and death on the cross. The commandments in today’s reading emphasize the love and concern that He would also teach us to have for our neighbors. Overall, it is important that we remember (and remind others who say differently) that God has always been loving and benevolent towards mankind.
In godless societies it is easy to see that man naturally gravitates to selfishness and disregard for his neighbor’s well-being. God gives such commandments because we have to be taught and reminded not to be wicked. However, Satan’s goal is to turn such things away from our Lord’s order. The world tells us that God is mean and oppressive, bloodthirsty and vengeful, and that we can find true goodness and freedom when we remove him from our lives. But the wicked cultures that live by that lie are hardly loving towards their neighbor.
Our society struggles with murder of the unborn, mistreatment of the old, animosity between social and economic classes, and embracing unnatural appearances and relations. When distanced from the benevolent teachings of God, man does not show that he is loving and benevolent. We are by nature selfish and vengeful. Our Lord is the One Who is loving, even in the holiness of His statutes and judgments. By His wise commands He teaches us how to truly love, even in the exercise of justice and discipline. And He truly shows us His own love for us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Who has redeemed us from our sinfulness.