What Not to Mix Together
A daily devotion for April 21st
19 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
3 “‘Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.
4 “‘Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.
5 “‘When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. 6 It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it or on the next day; anything left over until the third day must be burned up. 7 If any of it is eaten on the third day, it is impure and will not be accepted. 8 Whoever eats it will be held responsible because they have desecrated what is holy to the Lord; they must be cut off from their people.
9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.
11 “‘Do not steal.
“‘Do not lie.
“‘Do not deceive one another.
12 “‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.
13 “‘Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.
“‘Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.
14 “‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.
15 “‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
16 “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
“‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.
17 “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.
18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
19 “‘Keep my decrees.
“‘Do not mate different kinds of animals.
“‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.
“‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.
20 “‘If a man sleeps with a female slave who is promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment. Yet they are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed. 21 The man, however, must bring a ram to the entrance to the tent of meeting for a guilt offering to the Lord. 22 With the ram of the guilt offering the priest is to make atonement for him before the Lord for the sin he has committed, and his sin will be forgiven.
23 “‘When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten. 24 In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. 25 But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the Lord your God.
26 “‘Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it.
“‘Do not practice divination or seek omens.
27 “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
28 “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.
29 “‘Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.
30 “‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.
31 “‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.
32 “‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.
33 “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
35 “‘Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. 36 Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt.
37 “‘Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the Lord.’”
Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.Lev 19:19
How many of you are observing that last law? Almost all garments today are made of mixed stuff, of blends of natural and synthetic fibers. A literal adherence to this stricture is no longer of any significance, because it is dealing with substances which never were inherently wrong. Whenever God employs things symbolically and says that something connected with them is wrong, they are no longer tended to be taken literally but are meant to illustrate attitudes of mind and heart which are dangerous. The Israelites had to obey these literally, because that is how they learned what these attitudes were. But we need to understand that God is teaching in a graphic way here that there are certain
unmixable principles which are unalterably opposed to one another and that we are not to try to put the two together.
As an example, a believer in Christ should not marry an unbeliever, the New Testament says. To do so is to mix two ways of life which are categorically separated and this only creates confusion and hardship and pressure and problems. Therefore it is very important that a believer not marry an unbeliever. This is an application of the teaching of this kind of truth in our present life.
Similar prohibitions are found in verses 26-28. They were not to eat flesh with blood in it, because the blood is the life of the flesh, and the life belongs to God. Life can never be handled properly unless it is related to God. Everything in life must relate to God. That is the great truth illustrated here. The New Testament tells us that these restrictions on food are shadows which have passed away, but the meaning abides.
The meaning of the rest of the section is given in verse 31,
Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. The practices which follow were simply part of the pagan ceremonies which accompanied their witchcraft. They cut their hair and beards in certain ways, and cut and tattooed their bodies. These things are not wrong in themselves today unless, of course, they are connected with practices which lead into pagan worship and control by demons. That is eternally wrong, because it exposes you to demonic powers which can influence your mind and, though you may be unwitting of what is happening, can gradually seize your personality and possess it. Therefore God warns against this.
The same standard of life is proclaimed in the Old Testament as in the New. God's character is to be revealed through his children, by the power of an available God, ready to live through us to do these things. We can't do them by ourselves. But God stands ready to do them in us, as we draw upon his grace and strength.
Thank you, Lord, that your word provides me with a trustworthy guide to life. Thank you that you never ask me to do something, or not to do something, that is not for my own good. You are the Author of life and I pray that I could live according to your instructions by the power of your Spirit within me.
Life Application: God clearly loves purity and holiness, and has taught its importance both symbolically and practically in His Word. How is God's character revealed or confirmed in honoring these truths?
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