Don’t Be Just Like Everyone Else

“I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.” (Leviticus 18:2-3, NIV)

Leviticus 18 is the most extensive treatment of sexual ethics in the Bible, and it begins with God telling the Israelites not to do what the cultures around them were doing. As Mark Rooker points out in The New American Commentary, “it was in the sexual realm particularly that the Israelites were aware of their differences with the Canaanites.”1

I recently spoke with a pastor who was ranting about how Christians today are too concerned with legislating sexual relationships between consenting adults. He said, “It’s time to get out of the bedroom and into the streets. We need to stop worrying about what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms and start serving the poor, feeding the hungry, and loving the lonely.” But I think Leviticus 18 demonstrates that not only does God care about the poor, He also is concerned with what we do in the privacy of our bedrooms.

The church today is in a similar position as the nation of Israel was a few thousand years ago. It is in the sexual realm, particularly, that Christians are aware of our differences with the surrounding culture. The Bible clearly teaches throughout its pages in both testaments that marriage is a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman, and any sexual relationships outside of marriage are sinful.2 As unpopular as it is, that is the standard to which God calls us, and perhaps the greatest opportunity we have to be set apart from the world.

As we pursue a holy life, we must remember to show grace and love to those around us–especially to people who have not given their lives to Jesus. Jesus regularly interacted with people, including prostitutes, who were involved in lifestyles and sexual practices that violated God’s Word. Yet, Jesus treated them with love, even while inviting them to repent and live a different way. Let us, like Jesus, be known for our love as well as our purity. If you struggle with sexual sin, please seek help. This is one area where we need the accountability and encouragement of a brother or sister in Christ in order to win the victory.


  1. Mark F. Rooker, Leviticus, vol. 3A, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 240.
  2. See also Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:3-6; Rom. 1:27; 13:9; 1 Cor. 5:1-5; 6:9-11; Heb. 13:4.
  3. Photo by salvatore ventura on Unsplash.

Prepare to Meet Your Maker

The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover. This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place…” (Leviticus 16:2-3, NIV)

The Most Holy Place was the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept and where God made His invisible presence visible. This was sacred space, and it could not be entered into willy-nilly. For a human being to be in the physical presence of the LORD God Almighty was no small thing! Aaron, the high priest, had to go through a strict ritual cleansing to enter the Most Holy Place. He had to bathe, wear certain clothes (even special underclothes), and sacrifice a bull for his own sin before he could enter into the Most Holy Place to offer the sacrifice for the people of Israel. Once Aaron was done making the sacrifices for the people, he was to change out of the clothes, bathe again, and offer another burnt offering for himself.

Thank God that Jesus is a better sacrifice, that His blood is superior to that of goats and bulls, and that through His death on the cross He won access for us to come directly into the presence of God–to “approach the throne of grace with boldness” (Hebrews 4:16)! Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we’re not going to die when we come before the LORD, we can approach Him with boldness like a small child who runs up to their Daddy, grabs onto his legs, and says, “Pick me up, Daddy!”

And yet, as beautiful as this is, the challenge from Leviticus this morning was to remember that for a human being to stand in the presence of the Most High God is no insignificant matter! If there is one mistake we Evangelicals make (and there are many), it is that we often don’t take the worship of God seriously. We think of Jesus as our homeboy and are so familiar with God we risk losing the reverence we should have toward Him. When we come to church on Sunday morning, we are coming to literally meet our Maker.

If you were going to meet the President of the United States, the Queen of England, a Prime Minister, Emporer, or another world leader, what would you do to prepare yourself? Most of us would look in our closets for appropriate clothes to wear. We’d shower, shave, get a fresh haircut, clip our fingernails, and brush our teeth. Before being ushered into the presence of the very important person, we’d be searched. We may have a background check done on us. The point is, you don’t just walk into the President’s office or the Queen’s palace willy-nilly.

God is not just a VIP, He is the VIP, the Most High. Are you ready to meet your Maker this Sunday? My prayer is that this week we will get a glimpse of the power and majesty of God, and remember that while God has called us friends, He is still the King of the Universe. Humility, confession, and repentance are appropriate as we prepare to worship Him together next Sunday.


Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

Be Holy​

“I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean” (Leviticus 11:44, NIV).

Ever read something in the Bible, scratch your head, reread it, and ask God, “Why did You include that in Your story?” That’s precisely what I think every time I read Leviticus 11, the chapter with all the dietary laws for ancient Israel–clean and unclean animals; eat this, but not that; etc. Why would God give these laws to His people? (I think it’s worth noting that the concept of clean and unclean animals goes way back before Leviticus. Remember, God gave Noah instructions about clean and unclean animals on the ark. Additionally, other ancient near eastern peoples also had regulations about clean and unclean animals. So this wasn’t just dropped out of the sky in Leviticus 11).

Many ideas about clean and unclean animals have been offered over the years, but not a single one has much evidence in Scripture to support it–not even the favorite view of conservative evangelicals: that some animals were unhealthy for eating, and since the Israelites didn’t understand modern science and medicine, God made the unsafe, unhealthy animals “unclean.” The fact is, modern science and medicine don’t show that the unclean animals in Leviticus 11 are less healthy or safe for eating. And, if this really were the rationale, we’d have to assume that God no longer cares about our health, since in the New Testament all these dietary laws were lifted and we can now enjoy bacon and shrimp without becoming unclean.1

As I was having coffee with the Lord this morning and discussing this passage with Him, He said to me:

Do I need to give a practical reason in order for My children to obey Me? Is it not enough to say that since I am holy, I desire My children to also be holy?

God told us the why behind the commands in Leviticus 11–so that the Israelites could consecrate themselves and be holy because their Father in Heaven is holy. How the various clean and unclean animals and dietary laws factored into that, and why God changed it in the New Testament, we may never know. But the principle my Father impressed upon my heart this morning was this: God is holy. As His children, we are to be holy. And when He speaks, we listen and obey even if we don’t always fully understand the practical, pragmatic reason behind it. God doesn’t give commands needlessly, but neither did He tell us to obey Him only when it makes sense to us. Obedience is part of our holiness.

My prayer for this week is that we will experience the holiness of God and that it will inspire us to strive to be holy, as our Father is holy.


1. Mark F. Rooker, Leviticus, vol. 3A, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 172.

2. Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash