Leviticus 18:1-4; 19:18 - And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the LORD your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow My rules and keep My statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. ... You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD."
Human sin is embarrassing sometimes, isn't it? Oh, I'm not thinking of the great sins right now: murder, torture, genocide. I'm thinking of the stupid little mean ones. God mentions some of them in today's Bible reading, and they make me squirm with embarrassment.
God says, "You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind." Who does that? Well, human beings, I'm afraid, or God wouldn't have to say it. Try this: "You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning." And why keep someone's wages from him or her overnight? The boss is apparently just doing it to be mean, knowing the worker won't be able to buy dinner without them. Not good.
"You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people." Ouch! I recognize this behavior. I've seen it in action many times. "You shall not lie to one another." If we kept this, it would shut down politics! (See Leviticus 19 for these verses.)
It's embarrassing to be a part of a humanity which needs to be told such basic rules about shameful things. And yet, we do need to be told, don't we? People do these things. God forbid, but sometimes the person doing these things—or similar ones—is me. That's what it means to be a sinner.
Against all of this nastiness, God is saying in the verses above, "That was the old life; that life is over. Lay aside what you used to do." Why? Because "I am the Lord your God," that is, because God Himself has become our Savior and our Lord. We are not the same people we used to be. Now that Jesus has died and risen for our sake, we are children of God. We have been given new hearts filled with the Holy Spirit. Our old selves are dead. We are a new creation.
So God says to us, "Be what you are! Don't be what you used to be. Don't be like the non-believers in the world around you, either. Be what the Holy Spirit is making you: people who resemble Christ." As we go on trusting in Jesus, we will have the joy of seeing the Holy Spirit's work in our lives.
THE PRAYER: Dear Father, strengthen my faith in Jesus and cause me to resemble Him more and more. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Do you usually "get the message" the first time you hear it?
2. Why is it the people of Israel needed things spelled out for them—over and over again?
3. As you live and practice your faith, how do you take measures to be like Jesus?
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