Leviticus 20

Leviticus 20 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence


This chapter addresses a number of heinous sins in the sight of the Lord including: child sacrifice, fortune telling, cursing one’s parents, adultery, incest, homosexuality and bestiality.  The punishment for such sins in ancient Israel was severe indeed.  Those who transgressed God’s holy law in any of these ways were to bear their iniquity and to be cut off from God’s people.  In some cases they were to be stoned to death and in others to be burned with fire.  As in previous chapters in the book of Leviticus the main reason given for these commands is that the Lord Himself was dwelling in the camp of the Israelites, thus they had to maintain their holiness in order that His holy wrath would not break out against them.  So we read the same refrain in v.7 “be holy, for I am the Lord your God.”

A second reason provided for these commands is given in vv.22-23: “You shall therefore keep all my statutes and all my rules and do them that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them.”  Back in Leviticus 18 we read that the land had previously vomited out the Canaanites because they had indulged in these same heinous deeds.  So the Lord, speaking through Moses, was warning the Israelites that the same thing would happen to them if they walked in the same unclean and profane manner as the Canaanites.

Most Christians would say that all the sins mentioned above are transgressions against the moral law of God that are still binding today upon all humanity.  However, you’ll notice that the Lord also makes reference to sins against some of the ceremonial laws that are no longer binding since they have been fulfilled in Christ.  For instance in v.18 the Lord warns against sleeping with a woman in the midst of her menstrual period, and in v.25 He speaks of the importance of separating the clean beast from the unclean.  It is a very common argument made by unbelievers today, and by those who claim to be believers, to say that all of the laws of God are no longer in effect today.  Because the ceremonial laws are interwoven with the moral laws in passages like this one, they will mockingly point out that we who seek to uphold the law of God do not keep all of these laws.

My response to foolish arguments such as these would be similar to how Jesus responded to the Sadducees who had proposed the ridiculous question to him about the seven brothers who all had the same wife asking whose wife she would be in heaven.  Jesus said to them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.”  That really is the main problem that keeps proud, mocking sinners from coming to faith in Christ.  First, they think they know the Scriptures, but in reality that have only a cursory knowledge at best not understanding the big picture at all, nor how God’s revelation has progressed and culminated in the gospel of Christ.  Then, second, they have not experienced the power of God in faith and repentance to turn away from their moral sins and to see the wisdom and beauty in God’s law in how it points out the way to the restoration of the glory of God in men.

It is truly sad when we find an individual in this situation, but it is an utter travesty when an entire generation has fallen into this darkened mindset.  It makes one wonder how long a country like ours can last when uncleanness and profaneness abound.  Certainly this truth should behoove us to hold fast to the word of God that we might be “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom we shine as lights in the world.”