(Part 116)


February 23, 2015

Today’s reading:  Leviticus 19:1-18

When God formed a people He would call His own, when He entered into covenant with Israel, He already told them the way they were to go. He already gave them the key to a life of peace, joy and prosperity. They were to relate properly to Himself and to each other. Christians today are the new Israel, the new people of God. How God wants to relate to us is the same as it was before.

In our relationship with God, we are to look to Him, to obey and follow Him, to be like Him. “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.” (v.2b). To be holy is to be set apart. We are to be in the world but not of the world.

We violate this instruction whenever we fail to give God the awe and worship that He deserves, whenever we sin and stray away from His path, whenever we replace Him with idols of money or wealth or power, whenever we become indistinguishable from the secular world we live in, whenever we fail to move persistently along the path of righteousness and seek Christian perfection.

The second relationship is with our brethren. When we look to God who is our Father, we also look to His other children. We are the family of God. Just as we are to be in right relationship with God, we are also to be in right relationship with each other. And what is that? “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (v.18b).

How do we manifest love of neighbor? We share our bounty with those less well off (v.9-10), we do not steal from others or lie to them (v.11), we do not exploit others in any way (v.13), we do not demean others (v.14), we do justice to others (v.15), we do not speak badly about others (v.16a), we assist others especially in their dire need (v.16b), we do not harbor hatred towards others (v.17a), we correct others as appropriate (v.17b), we hold no grudges and will not take revenge on those who wrong us (v.18a).

You can see how doing all these in relation to others will bring peace into our lives and the life of the community.

God gave the key to peace, but unfortunately the world today, including most Christians, are not living out God’s direction. We do not honor, respect and love God in the way we ought. We care only for ourselves and not for our neighbor, especially the poor. Do we then wonder that we have reaped the consequences? Our world is in darkness and in conflict. There is no peace.

We need to recover what God has told our ancestors-in-faith from the very start. Jesus preached the same thing, summarizing all the commandments into two—love of God and love of neighbor.

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