BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION

The bunny must learn to run…or die.

Through the book of Leviticus, God introduces basic behavior to Israel.  Some of these rules will be remembered generations later as Israel wanders away from these teachings at various times.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, saying, What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people:  To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the LORD.  And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the LORD.  And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.  Leviticus 17:1-7

Israel knew they had to make their sacrifices at the tabernacle, and later inJerusalemat theTemple.  Ye the Jews of Samaria later insisted on making sacrifices at their hallowed mountain.  This divided them from the rest ofIsraelandJudah.  Jesus met a Samarian woman and showed her a better way many years later.

The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.  Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  John 4:19-24

He welcomed this woman and many other Samaritans to worship in this better way.  Yet he did not send the disciples toSamariafor their initial ministry outing.

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.  Matthew 10:5

But at another time he pointed out a Samaritan in one of his famous parables:

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.  Luke 10:30-37

So the Law was strict and left men with their failures.  There was no forgiveness before Jesus.  Anyone who wanted to be righteous was always facing another of his failures.  They had a promise of a savior coming in the future, but only their own good works to keep them until he came.  Offerings made outside of the camp, or blood eating would cause you to be cut out of their society.

And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice,  And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the LORD; even that man shall be cut off from among his people.  And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.  Leviticus 17:8-10

Blood is pointed out for a special purpose, not for food.  Only blood makes atonement for souls.  Everything about the Old Testament atonement was bloody.  It was a preparation for a final bloody sacrifice that would clear our guilt away for all time.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.  Therefore I said unto the children ofIsrael, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.  Leviticus 17:11-12

Israelwas to be different from the people who heldCanaanland before them.  They could not do the same sins that caused God to drive the other nations out before them.   Even today there are traditions of the world that God does not allow us to share. 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God.  After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.  Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.  Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.  Leviticus 18:1-5

God deals at length in warning us not to discover our family members nakedness.  There should be no temptation to incest, or shaming of family members.

None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.  Leviticus 18:6

But then a neighbor’s family is also off-limits, as adultery is made off-limits here.

Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her. 

There are other traditions of the people aroundIsraelthat are forbidden, especially where the worship of false gods is concerned:

And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. 

Wikipedia explains that “It has traditionally been understood to mean burning children alive to the god Moloch. But some have suggested a rite of purification by fire instead, though perhaps a dangerous one. References to passing through fire without mentioning Moloch appear in Deuteronomy 12.31, 18.10–13; 2 Kings 21.6; Ezekiel 20.26,31; 23.37.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moloch

This makes it clear that the Jews are not to follow the practice in any case.  These things are not a discussion of what is political correctness.  This is not subject to popularity or voting.  God is establishing rules to live or die by. 

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.  Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.  Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:  And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.  Leviticus 18:20-25

These things are clear to our nature, but man does unnatural things for pleasure.  They are all in a class together here, as they caused the fall of nations before them.  God chose a people to demonstrate a better way.  But he knew they would fail in time.  In that time the land also vomitedIsraelout to the Babylonian captivity too.  Modern society can expect the same.  Moral decay undermines the security of any nation or society through all history.

For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.  Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.  Leviticus 18:29-30

Israelwas called to be Holy and to be different from the societies around them.  God was preparing a demonstration of what greatness could belong to a holy people.  He will also show how we are helpless to obey even a perfect law, no matter how great the rewards may be.  We need something more to help us to mature.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto all the congregation of the children ofIsrael, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.  Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.  Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.  Leviticus 19:1-4

God anticipated a prosperous people and prepared them to bless others who were not as successful.  He made a provision for the poor.

And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.  And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.  Leviticus 19:9-10

Provision was made for the poor, and all were encouraged not to cheat their neighbors of their wealth.  Promises were not to be made by an oath to God which they could not keep.  God’s name was to be kept above the dealings of man, it was to be honored.  We should honor God by all of our actions, even to those who could not hear or see our deeds. 

Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.  And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.  Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.  Leviticus 19:11-14

Those who got authority were not to abuse it either.  Having authority or power is not a license to oppress others.  Having the opportunity to talk about others is not for demeaning them or gossiping against them. 

Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.  Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the LORD.  Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.  Leviticus 19:15-18

Beyond not doing harm, we are not even to hate or rebuke a neighbor.  Revenge is not our privilege under the law or grace.  We see a pattern of rules and regulations in the Law that Moses delivers from God.  Even today people are challenged by these rules.  Indeed we have learned that it is impossible to keep these rules in our own goodness.  We all have failures in our lives, and we need help.  At this time man was not being offered the help he needed.  That help would eventually come even to this generation through Christ.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements