Leviticus 19 Commentary

Leviticus 19 Commentary: I, the Lord your God, am holy

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The LORD demands holiness. The reason given is that the LORD Himself is holy. Then the LORD gives a long list of what it means to be holy as human beings. We do well to read this chapter again and again.

It’s so strange that the LORD keeps on referring to His name after every instruction. It’s like the LORD is telling us, “this is because of me”. Indeed every one of these laws exists because of the LORD. Sin is always a transgression against the LORD. A lie may help you. It may injure your neighbor but importantly, it angers the LORD. It is a minus on man but importantly it affects the holiness of God.

Generally, these are laws on personal holiness. Respect for one’s parents is repeated and so is the law on Sabbath. We have laws on idolatry, generosity and respect for elders. The list is long. Again we do well to read these lines regularly.

The ‘IAM THE LORD’ phrase after every line hints on need to relate every piece of law to the LORD Himself. It’s about the character of the LORD. Since the LORD doesn’t change, so the laws here remain unchanged and relevant even today.

“Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Leviticus 19 verse 17a. This verse directly addresses unseen sin which happens in a man’s heart. Even here we can see that the law wasn’t as raw as we think of it today. Indeed the New Testament repeats all of these in finer details. We have hints here that the LORD is interested in what happens in a man heart. Sin is birthed here. What we have here are regulations to limit the effects of sin. Later on King David asked the LORD to examine his heart. Righteousness begins here. A question may be appropriate here: what is the color of your heart?

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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