Power To Do
A daily devotion for April 22nd
Punishments for Sin
20 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him. 3 I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people; for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. 4 If the members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one of his children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death, 5 I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek.
6 “‘I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people.
7 “‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. 8 Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.
9 “‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head.
10 “‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.
11 “‘If a man has sexual relations with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
12 “‘If a man has sexual relations with his daughter-in-law, both of them are to be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads.
13 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
14 “‘If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you.
15 “‘If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he is to be put to death, and you must kill the animal.
16 “‘If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
17 “‘If a man marries his sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother, and they have sexual relations, it is a disgrace. They are to be publicly removed from their people. He has dishonored his sister and will be held responsible.
18 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people.
19 “‘Do not have sexual relations with the sister of either your mother or your father, for that would dishonor a close relative; both of you would be held responsible.
20 “‘If a man has sexual relations with his aunt, he has dishonored his uncle. They will be held responsible; they will die childless.
21 “‘If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonored his brother. They will be childless.
22 “‘Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24 But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.
25 “‘You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those that I have set apart as unclean for you. 26 You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.
27 “‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’”
I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations. You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground — those that I have set apart as unclean for you. You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. Lev 20:24b-26
Note how carefully God identifies himself with each one of these instructions. He signs his name, as it were, after each one. He gives us a practical admonition and then says,
I am the LORD your God. The name he uses here is his covenant name:
I am Jehovah. That is,
I am the Living One, the Eternal One, the Sufficient One. I am the God who is Enough. That is what Jehovah means.
What is God trying to impart to us by this format? Two things are involved. The first is authority. This underscores something very important. It is that we must discover how to distinguish between right and wrong, truth and error, on the basis of what God says — if we are in relationship to him. There is a different standard for the people of God.
This is very practical, because God is reality. What God says and what he sees and how he looks at life is the way life is. If you look at it in some other way, then you are being unrealistic. You are out of step with reality and are trying to live according to an illusion, a fantasy, a figment of your imagination. Such ideas and standards may be widespread. There may be lies which are believed sincerely and devotedly by people around you and which govern their way of living. But God is saying,
Not for you. Not for my people. I am your God, and I am telling you the truth, the way life is, what will hurt you and what will not. So believe me, because I am the LORD your God.
But he is not only authority; he is also resource. This is the second reason why he gives his name right along with each command. He says,
Do this, or don't do that: I am the LORD your God. What does he mean? He means,
I am available to you. I am the strength by which you can do what I command. I never tell you to do something without making available to you the power to do it.
Have you discovered what Paul discovered and recorded for us in Romans 7 — that you cannot do all the things you'd like to do and know you ought to do, that you want to but somehow cannot? This is the way Paul puts it, from his own experience:
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate... (Romans 7:18-20) If you feel that way, God understands that. It is the most common problem of life. What you are lacking is power, the power to respond. You must learn that there is another source of power, that you can reckon on
the God who is there, the God who is available to you. And that is why God signs his name this way several times.
Here is something to do, or not to do: I am the LORD your God — standing here, available to you, ready for you to draw upon my strength. When you start drawing on it you can do, or not do, what I command by the power of an available God, the God who is Enough. I am Jehovah.
Father, help me to see that simply being moral, being fair to someone else and treating them as they treat us, is not the level of life upon which you expect me to live. Your level is much higher. I am to be loving in return for evil. I can do that only by the grace that is in you, Lord Jesus. Help me to obey you in this and to expect to see your life at work in me.
Life Application: What are two important and essential ways in which Jehovah God is made available to His people, so that we may live by His realistic Truth about life? Are we trusting His Authority and the Resource of His indwelling Presence and Power?
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