Torah: Leviticus 19:1–20:27
PROPHETS: Ezekiel 20:2–20
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Matthew 5:43–48
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 & 2
Emulate The Holy One
What is the command given in v. 2? What is the reason (v. 2)? Being a K’doshim, a Holy One, means following God’s ways and not our own way. How many of the “Ten Commandments” are repeated in the rishon (“first” section) (cf. Exodus 20:2–17)?
Read v. 14 again. What is the behavior and what is the heart attitude? How does the presence of one lead away from the other (cf. Proverbs 9:10)?
In the sheni (“second” section), emulating God means exercising godly judgement in relating to others. Does the Law of Moses command holiness as being fulfilled by outward action alone or is there a “root” issue of the heart (cf. Psalm 37:3a; Deuteronomy 10:12–14)? What is the root issue of the heart? What might the command for “no mixtures” (v. 19) have taught Israel about spiritual reality?
How can you live in the world but not get mixed up by the world? In what ways does your life reflect the world? How can you “put on” faith–filled obedience to Messiah in that area of living to the glory of God?
Torah 3 & 4
In the shlishi (“third” section), how long must one wait after planting a tree before lawfully eating from its fruit? Do you think Israelites suffered from a desire for “instant gratification” so prevalent today? What could a hungry child learn when going into a corner candy store if instructed that he must wait 20 minutes before eating any candy—and that only after returning from taking some to his sister at home!
Drawing upon the Israelite experience of being an “outsider” in Egypt, the r’vi’i (“fourth” section) calls Israel to treat those who are “outsiders” in a manner that upholds God’s holiness. What caused the Pharisees to reject as “outsiders” those Yeshua embraced in Mark 2:15–17?
What makes someone an “outsider” in your world? What would it look like to reach out in godly love to them?
torah 5 & 6
Worshiping Molech by sacrificing children is strictly forbidden (cf. 18:21; King Josiah tried to purify Israel of this abomination, 2 Kings 23:10). Sexual purity is addressed again (cf. 18:6–23), especially as it relates to familial relations. Submitting to the temptation of false gods and impure sexuality defiles God’s dwelling place (20:3), dishonors God’s people (vv. 10–16) and leads to devastating consequences (v. 22). Paul reacted to the same disregard for God’s standard of exclusive worship and sexual purity in Rome (Romans 1:21–27) and Corinth (1 Corinthians 10:14; 5:1–2).
Go before God in prayer and ask Him to show you how you may be compromising exclusive worship and sexual purity (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 John 1:9).
torah 7 &
God is still speaking to Israel at the foot of Mt. Sinai after the erection of the Tabernacle but before departing. He is reminding them of their calling to be a nation set apart for the amplification of God’s glory in the world. They are to remain distinct from the other nations and their practices (cf. 18:3–4). God calls His priestly nation (Exodus 19:6) to make priestly distinctions between the clean and unclean (or “pure and impure”) for the sake of maintaining their holy status and upholding God’s holiness. The essence of the message is: “Be K’doshim—Holy Ones set apart for Me!” Abraham’s seed has grown into a mighty nation and God calls her to maintain holiness even among the corruption of the surrounding peoples.
If you are Abraham’s seed through faith (Galatians 3:29) then this is your calling too. How can you maintain holiness even among the corruption of those around you today?
Perfecting Holiness Through Exile
The elders of Israel are coming to Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord, but God does not heed them—He chastises them (cf. 14:1–11). What is the context? God had brought Babylon against Israel for chastisement and discipline. Israel is God’s first-born son (cf. Exodus 4:22). Though exile is the natural consequence of covenant disobedience (Leviticus 26:14–45, esp. v. 33), it also functions as corrective discipline (Hebrews 12:5–11). The natural consequences of Israel’s disobedience do not negate God’s eternal promises to His first-born son.
What reason does Ezekiel give for why God extends His mercy (20:17) to disobedient Israel (vv. 9 and 14; cf. 36:18–23). What are the purposes of corrective discipline in terms of God’s glory and man’s holiness?
Why does God extend His mercy to you even when you are disobedient? How does God want you to respond to His mercy (cf. Romans 12:1)?
Perfecting Holiness Through Love
Moses instructed us to love the “outsider.” Messiah illuminated the depth of this principle to include even the “enemy” (cf. Luke 6:27–36). Just as Ezekiel preached to Israel to call her to covenant faithfulness, so too does Yeshua preach to Israel to call her to renewed covenant faithfulness. Through following him, Jews and Gentiles can both live as K’doshim.
In what ways has love been poorly modeled to you by family and/or friends? How are you still influenced by those models? Go before the Lord and ask Him to reveal to your heart the depth of His love for you and commit yourself to modeling that kind of love to your family and friends, those you might consider an “outsider” or even your “enemy.”
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.