The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), February 22
“According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances” (Lev. 18:3). Moses spends the following twenty verses unpacking “their practices” by addressing sexual relationships. He completes his message with an explanation, “Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you” (Lev. 18:24).
Israel is like the creamy filling in the middle of a cookie, with Egypt in her past and Canaan in her future. Moses warns her not to follow the ways of either people. Then he commences to explain what he means by talking about the defilement of both peoples. Eighteen sexual prohibitions in one single chapter! Sexual sin defiles people personally and communally.
What do these prohibitions reveal about sexual sin, community, and defilement?
Since the Fall, men struggle with self-control in the area of sexual appetite.
- Men lacking in self-control will abuse even the relationships nearest to them.
- Men will struggle to view women as complementary and covenant partners.
- Men completely given over to their sexual appetites slake those appetites in the most dishonoring and unnatural ways.
What a man does personally always affects the community; therefore, one man’s sexual sin always impacts the lives of others (other men’s wives, daughters, nieces, granddaughters, as well as other women’s sisters, daughters, nieces, mothers, etc.).
Since the Fall women struggle with identity in the area of sexuality.
- Women want to be wanted and valued. They often use sexual attraction to dull the separation from God that sin has caused.
- Victims of sexual abuse may experience the love of Christ and the wholeness He brings into the relationship.
- Sexual sin and sexual abuse defile women. Women are more than objects to be desired sexually.
These prohibitions teach both men and women the value of covenant and the value of sex within marriage. God isn’t against sex. He is against any sex that hurts others―and sex outside of the bounds of His plan always hurts others.
Christ-followers in every generation are in-between people. We live in a fallen world where relationships are based on consumerism (where people are used like products to make us feel better and lessen our pain of separation from God) instead of covenant (where both lay down their lives for the good of the other). Such “in-between” people build covenantal communities to create safe places in which everyone may thrive.
Questions from today’s reading (Leviticus 17:1-19:37):
What regulations upholding the value of life are given in Leviticus 17? What do these regulations reveal about human nature?
What do a person’s conduct and interaction with others reveal about their view of God in chapter 19?