Leviticus 20:22 (HCSB)
22 “You are to keep all My statutes and all My ordinances, and do them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live will not vomit you out.
This pericope seems to be the conclusion, or summary passage, concerning the holiness of the nation of Israel. There are three things that I see in this passage:
- God commands us to follow Him, and there are repercussions when we don’t.
Lev 20:22 starts the passage out with God commanding the Israelites to follow all His rules. And if they don’t? They will be “vomited” out of the land that He is bringing them to! Does God expect perfection, that not a single of His commands ever be broken, lest the Israelites be kicked out of Canaan? Of course not! First of all, they’ve screwed up repeatedly on the way, yet God continues to lead them to Canaan. Second, only one Man has ever been perfect, sinless, and He died on a cross to pay for our sin… God knows the Israelites, nor we, are Him. But what God does expect is for us to follow Him. That means sometimes we trip and fall, sometimes we get distracted and veer of course, and sometimes we just flat out decide to take another route… but our overall goal is to go where He is going. When we screw up is there punishment? Of course! But what God is saying here is another level of punishment, one reserved for those who reject Him.
- We ought to look different than those not following God.
Lev 20:23 says, “You must not follow the statutes of the nations I am driving out before you[.]” We should look, and behave, different than those who stand opposed to God. What the Canaanites had been choosing to do has earned them the “abhorrence” of God, and a loss of their homeland. And look, it’s not like the Canaanites didn’t have rules… they followed statutes. But their statutes were not keeping them following God, and that is the problem.
- You are what you eat!
It seems interesting that the action described for the Israelites to take in order to avoid being “contaminated”, is about food, avoiding the unclean foods. Perhaps there really is something to the phrase, “You are what you eat!” Maybe it goes back to looking different than those opposed to God, and one, major, way to do that is via diet.
The oddball verse of the passage is Lev 20:27. It seems out of place, like it should have been with the pericope at the start of the chapter, Lev 20:1-8. It’s not that the command seems odd, it is spot on with the rest of the chapter, just odd placement.
Lord, thank You for setting us apart. We have no choice, when following You, to look and behave different than the rest of the world that stands in defiance of You. Please help us to recognize that, and embrace it. Amen.