Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Covenant Applied

The law, in Scripture, refers to the many commands we find in books like Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  Most of them are found in the book of Leviticus.  Sometimes folks will call them the “Levitical Law.”  Trying to read through the book of Leviticus from end to end can be a bit challenging.  I would imagine that it is the book most opened when people fall asleep on their Bibles.  Since I’m not trying to help you fall asleep, I’m just going to point out one thing about the Levitical Law today: much of it explaining the Covenant.

Remember last week that we said the Ten Commandments are actually the Terms of the Covenant.  In other words, this was what the people of Israel agreed to with God.  It seems pretty simple at first:  Agree to, memorize, and live according to the ten Terms of the Covenant and God will keep God’s part of the agreement.  Then they start running into problems.  The covenant says, “You shall not steal.”  The weights on my scale were wrong and I didn’t know it.  I’ve been selling 1lb of grain all this time to people but they have only been getting 12 oz.  Did I steal from them?  What should I do to get right with the Covenant?  What do I need to do to get right with God?  These questions were brought to Moses.  Moses took them to God at the Ark of the Covenant.  Moses came back with the answer.  This became the Law.

Here are the Terms of the Covenant with some examples from the Law that clarified the Covenant.  This is not a complete (exhaustive) list.  It’s just a sampling.  It should be enough to give you the idea.

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:2-3*) (See Also Leviticus 19:31; 20:1-8, 27)

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them… (Exodus 20:4-5a*) (See Also Leviticus 11:1-47)

You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God. (Ex. 20:7a*) (See Also Leviticus 24:10-16, 23)

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11*) (See Also Exodus 31:13-17; 35:2-3; Leviticus 19:30)

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12*)(See Also Leviticus 19:32; 20:9)

You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13*)(See Also Leviticus 19:14-18; 24:17-22)

You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14*)(See Also Leviticus 12:1-8; 15:1-33; 18:1-30; 19:29; 20:10-21)

You shall not steal. (Exodus 20:15*)(See Also Leviticus 19:9-13, 35-36)

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. (Ex. 20:16*)(See Also Leviticus 19:11; Deuteronomy 19:14-21)

You shall not covet...anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Ex. 20:17*)(See Also Leviticus 19:13-18)

* Terms of the Covenant are all quoted in the New International Version

The result was that the Terms of the Covenant were applied to the specifics of their lives.

How about you?  Do you know where God stands in the specifics of your life?  Do you use that knowledge to hide from God or to get on the same page with God?