God is certainly a loving God, but He hates sin, and Proverbs 6 is one of the more famous passages on sin in the entire Bible.
Pro 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
Pro 6:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
Pro 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
Pro 6:19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Honestly, this list seems rather limited. The entire book of Leviticus is about things that we should or shouldn’t do, but for some reason, the seven get called out as particularly important. There were even 10 Commandments, but this list is reduced to seven. Why would you have this kind of reduction?
I think that we have a reduction have because if you think about it, these actions cover a lot of ground. For example, in verse 18, we hear about the heart that plans to do bad things. In my mind, that pretty much encompasses almost any time we sin. That is kind of the definition of sin in a way. We set our hearts on something that we shouldn’t. In other words, we plan on doing something bad.
I think that this is an interesting chapter without a doubt. This particular passage about the seven things that God hates really makes you think. They are general enough to include a wide variety of missteps, but like most of this book, they are simple enough to be memorable. Rather than memorize a book of a million possible sins, I feel like by memorizing the seven characteristics, we have the criteria to evaluate whether something is right or wrong.
This can help us with those gray areas that the Bible does not speak to directly. Does the activity violate one of these seven principles? If it does, then we know that we probably stop doing it. It is not like God left us out there to evaluate what was right and wrong through trial and error. We have a guide to help us.
We talk a lot about David being a man after God’s own heart, but I think that this really comes out strongly in 2 Samuel 7.
2Sa 7:1 And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
2Sa 7:2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
2Sa 7:3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.
From these few verses, we can tell that David was incredibly sensitive to the things of God. For some reason, he was the first person to realize that it was kind of odd for him to live in a nice house made of cedar while the Ark of the Covenant was only surrounded by curtains.
Of course, there was nothing wrong with the curtains, and the tabernacle was made exactly how God told Moses to make it in Leviticus, but David still thought that God should have a more permanent dwelling place.
Here is how God responded.
2Sa 7:13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
2Sa 7:14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
2Sa 7:15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
2Sa 7:16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
God never said that He would not discipline David, and He never promised that David would be perfect. However, He did say that the throne of David would never end.
I think that some of you are going to say, “Wait a minute, his line did indeed end. There was a substantial time when the Israelites were in Babylon and therefore did not have a king on the throne.”
That is not exactly what is being said here though. It never says that there will always be someone on this throne. It says that the throne will always be there for the line of David to sit on. It will be ready for an eligible person to sit on it. The position might be vacant, but it still exists.
You might wonder who is there now. We have to go to the New Testament for that answer.
Luk 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
The throne is still under the power of God, and it has certainly not disappeared. Jesus represents the fulfillment of that prophecy. He is forever seated at the right hand of God in a position of utmost authority and power. As a direct descendent of David, David’s line will indeed sit on that throne forever.
It always amazes me how the Bible was written over such a long amount of time, but everything fits together. If we just had the book of 2 Samuel, we might wonder what happened to the throne of David. We might wonder where God went.
I know that this is a somewhat controversial passage because some people interpret it differently, but I think that the basic fact of the matter comes down to Jesus. He was of the house and lineage of David, and it makes sense that He would be eligible to take that position.
Leviticus chapter 26 is essentially comparing two possible outcomes. In one image of the world, the people of Israel follow God closely and they thrive. In the other picture of the world, the people of Israel don’t walk with God and pay for it.
However, there was a short passage that stood out to me as a trap that many people fall into even today.
Lev 26:19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:
Lev 26:20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.
One of the main problems that you could take from this story is pride. All of us have moments where we want to take credit for everything that goes well in our lives. However, that is not who we should be praising.
In fact, if we want to have pride in our power, we are essentially having pride in something that does not exist. We do not have any power whatsoever.
Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
We cannot do anything without God, but when we have Him by our side, the results are absolutely different.
Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
I think that the take away is rather obvious for today. We need to keep our pride in check. If we labor without God, it is going to be in vain. At times, it may feel like people can temporarily have success without God. For example, some white-collar criminals rip off millions of dollars and might feel that they were successful. Even if they are never caught, their labor was in vain. They had no favorable eternal consequences from doing evil.
When we do the things of God and advance His kingdom through His power, our actions could easily be felt for a long time or even eternally. Our power can’t do that alone, so why would we be proud of that?
I always seem to find interesting things at the end of the chapter, and today is no different in Leviticus chapter 25.
Lev 25:55 For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
I think that this is a good reminder that even though we are free from sin, we are still in the world to serve God.
Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
This is a somewhat unpopular passage because people like to think that they are their own master. People want to do whatever they want whenever they want to do it. However, there are really only two options in this situation.
We can either be slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness.
However, this slavery is not necessarily a negative thing like slavery obviously is on earth. This slavery means that we will perform the will of our master, and because God has perfect motives and directives, we can be assured that our paths will be straight.
In other words, if we could follow God perfectly, that would be the best place in the world to be because He will never lead us astray. When you follow humans, they are bound to disappoint. God will never do anything like that.
It is important to think about all of this material. Yes, we’re definitely free from sin, but we are set free from sin to serve God. That should be our highest duty while we are on earth.
Leviticus chapter 24 brings me back to one of my favorite ideas in the Bible that I’m sure I have written about before, but I hope that you will not mind.
Lev 24:2 Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.
The Israelites were commanded to keep the light in the tabernacle shining continually. Where else have we heard a lot of imagery about lights that need to shine all the time?
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Mat 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
The imagery and the purpose are essentially identical. Lights are used to draw attention to things, so by having a light within ourselves or in the Old Testament within the tabernacle, we should be drawing people toward God.
So, what is this telling you and me to do?
Essentially, we need to not hide our faith. Like the verse 15, you do not light a candle to hide it. A candle is lit so that everyone in the room can benefit from the light. Similarly, if we are living out our Christian faith, everyone around us is going to benefit as well when they realize that it is really God that we are trying to point them towards.
Another interesting thing about our candle is that it is made to stand out. When you put a light in a dark room, the candle immediately becomes the center of attention. By living our Christian life, we are going to draw some attention because it is oftentimes quite different than the way the world is living. When we see that attention, we need to direct it towards God because that is who really deserves all the attention.
I know that you have heard a lot of this from me before, but I think that it is always a valuable lesson and is one of my personal favorites.
I think that Leviticus 23 is pretty interesting because God outlines all of the feasts that the people of Israel needed to honor. However, just because there were a few special days when feasts were mandated, it definitely did not mean that the Israelites could overlook the rest of law.
Lev 23:37 These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day:
Lev 23:38 Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.
The Israelites were not allowed to selectively follow the law. They couldn’t just honor the feasts and sabbaths but forget to give their offerings. The law of God doesn’t work that way.
It is no different for us today. Obviously, we all mess up and do not follow God perfectly all the time. However, just because we do a few things right doesn’t mean that we now have a license to do a few things wrong.
Paul addressed a similar issue in his letter to the Romans.
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
It isn’t like God has given us this license and we need to challenge Him to see how much sin He will actually forgive. Like Paul said, if we are truly Christians, we should not want to sin. We still do sin, and that is definitely an unfortunate side effect of our humanity.
It kind of goes back to what Paul said again.
Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
So to connect this all the way back to Leviticus, it is important to remember that we cannot live the Christian life selectively. God wants all of our hearts, and even if we do mess up like we inevitably will, we still can continue to improve and develop a closer relationship with God.
Leviticus 21 gives some special directions to the priests of Israel. While there are a lot of things in this chapter, I want to highlight one verse in particular.
Lev 21:6 They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy.
For the record, to profane basically means to disrespect something. The priests are not supposed to disrespect the name of God because they bring the sacrifices before Him. There are other passages in Leviticus that talk about their condition that your heart must be in to be the one that actually offers the sacrifices to God.
Lev 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
Lev 10:2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
Lev 10:3 Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.
If you remember these two guys, they died because they were irreverent.
Now, to make this applicable to today, we need to remember that we are capable of speaking directly to Jesus who speaks on our behalf before God.
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
In a way then, we need to make sure that we come to prayer with the respect it deserves. Of course, after everything that God has done for us, He obviously deserves our respect to begin with. However, this verse in Leviticus 21 stood out to me as particularly important because it referred to priests. Today, we don’t need a human intermediary like the Israelites did; we can talk directly to Jesus who relays our message to God, so we should have as much respect as the priests did when they approach God in the tabernacle.
Leviticus 20 shows us an interesting thing about the notion of sanctification and how what we can do on our own is not enough.
Lev 20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
Lev 20:8 And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.
At first, I was somewhat confused by this passage. We are first commanded to sanctify ourselves, but then we are told that only God can sanctify us. However, that is the danger of taking a few verses from the Bible without looking at the big picture.
I think that when you put these verses in context with the rest of Leviticus, I think that we can understand this a little bit better.
All of the sacrifices that were dictated throughout the previous chapters involve our attempts to sanctify ourselves. Because God commanded that you needed to do certain sacrifices at certain times, you are trying to help sanctify yourself.
There is this idea in the New Testament that is similar. We need to live the right way and try our best to follow the path that God has set before us.
1Th 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
1Th 4:2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
1Th 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
1Th 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
In verse eight, it becomes rather obvious that God is the only one who can truly sanctify people, but it needs to go both ways.
God can obviously wipe out all of our sins and purify us, and because of that, we should try our best to follow in His steps. We are going to mess up more than we would probably like to, but maybe we can be like David and be people after God’s own heart. He wasn’t perfect either, but he still followed God with all his heart.