Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Fri, 18/02/2011 – 12:44
Year A (2010-2011)
Bible Book: Leviticus / Levitikus
Chapter: 19
Verse: 1 – 18

My childhood recollections about “holy” and “holiness” are filled with strict rules about what you must and must not do. You must go to church on Sunday and you must not do your homework on the same day, for it is a “holy day”. To be reminded that “God is holy” was frightening. It immediately brought thoughts of punishment for all the sins you had committed.

Leviticus 19 is about “being holy”, for it opens with the appeal in verse 2 – “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy” (NKJV).

Verses 3-8 recall God’s instructions about the Sabbath and the sacrifices to be made. They link up with the first 16 chapters of Leviticus where the author deals with the (Old Testament) requirements for fellowship with God. In verses 9-18 the emphasis falls on what God expects from his people, the people with whom He has fellowship. God wants them to bear witness that they belong to the Holy God by living holy lives.

What will the content of their witness, their holy lives be? They need to conduct their relationships according to the character of the Holy God. God is generous – He makes the sun shine and gives rain to all who live on the earth – therefore his people should be generous when they harvest their fields and leave some for the needy (v 9-10).

Verses 11-18 (except for verse 12) describe relationships governed by honesty, integrity, justice, charity and love. Notice how these verses primarily deal with ordinary, everyday acts.

“Being holy is therefore largely about how we treat other people … Holiness consists of ordinary everyday godly acts, such as taking care of our families or looking after the rights of the poor and strangers. Choosing honesty and truth–that’s godly. Paying workers, treating disabled people with respect, refraining from malicious gossip–that’s holy” (A J Heschel).

Just and truthful relationships reflect God’s holiness. Treating your neighbour in this way is sacred, an act of devotion to God! How comforting to know that Leviticus 19 lifts our daily, mundane actions out of the “ordinary” and gives them a “heavenly sparkle”.

To think about or discuss: How can we witness that we belong to the Holy God in a world with HIV and AIDS?

Author: N du Toit (Ds)
Language: English