God continues to teach His people to be set apart in all things, big or small. He uses the word holy 80 times in the book of Leviticus! Being a “set-apart” people was obviously important to God. God directed how His people would eat, talk, marry, work, choose and enjoy relationships. “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy,” God says in both Leviticus 11 and 20. In today’s passage our LORD is calling us to holiness in an area that, for reasons of acceptance or grace or plain uncomfortableness, many in the Christian community try to avoid. God has a plan of redemption that is unfolding. He cares about the little things. He wants us to listen and obey; to be set apart for Him. Although we may want to look the other way with regards to this topic, God’s call to obedience is clear in this passage as well as His consequence for disobedience. God does give His people freedom through His Son, Jesus. However, does anything in the New Testament alter God’s protection and direction in this area of our lives? Does the everydayness of what we see, hear, touch, taste, and do; glorify the Lord in your life, in mine? Kim
The following guide is a resource for your personal time of abiding with the Lord and for your Community Group when you meet. It can also be used for times with family or friends around the table. At the end of this guide is a resource from www.esv.org to help with our study of Leviticus.
VISION + STORIES
Take time to connect and be reminded of our shared vision- We are a people abiding in Christ, to join His vision of transformation in our homes, neighborhoods, work places and city.
+ WHAT is one way you see the Lord working in the lives of those you are walking with to discover the gospel?
SING + PRAY
Take some time for song (guitar, hymn, acapella or read a Psalm) and extended prayer as an individual/community. A simple path of prayer is to pray through one of the Psalms as a group or use the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).
DISCOVER [ Leviticus 18:1-30 ] In Large group
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what is a key truth or thought that I/we learn? (Use the questions interspersed through the passage to help make additional observations to clarify the main point)
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.
+ Which two geographical areas does God to refer to in verse 3.
+ What is God’s warning about these areas? God’s people shall not_____?
+ What shall God’s people do instead? Verse 4-5
6 “None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness. I am the Lord. 7 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 8 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's wife; it is your father's nakedness. 9 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether brought up in the family or in another home. 10 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son's daughter or of your daughter's daughter, for their nakedness is your own nakedness. 11 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's wife's daughter, brought up in your father's family, since she is your sister. 12 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's sister; she is your father's relative. 13 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister, for she is your mother's relative. 14 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's brother, that is, you shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt. 15 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law; she is your son's wife, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 16 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother's wife; it is your brother's nakedness. 17 You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, and you shall not take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are relatives; it is depravity. 18 And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.
+ Verse 6 summarizes this section. What does God direct the people NOT to do?
19 “You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. 20 And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor's wife and so make yourself unclean with her. 21 You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.
+ There is one “shall not” in each verse from 19-23. List them.
+ Can you think of how each one might still be an issue we need to address in our own journeys to follow God wholeheartedly in 2019?
+ What can we assume was happening in Egypt and Canaan because of these specific directions?
24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, 25 and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you 27 (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), 28 lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. 29 For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.”
+ Why is God driving out the nations before the Israelites from verse 24?
+ What is God calling His people to do in verse 26?
+ What adjective does God use to modify the customs of the Egyptians and Canaanites in verse 30?
+ What consequence does God lay out in verse 29 for people who participate in any of these “abominations?”
+ How many times does God use the word NEVER in verse 30. Why might he close that verse with “I am the LORD your God.”
+ List some characteristics of God as an individual or a group. Why might this God, the One, True, Compassionate, Loving God, say NEVER to these customs.
PROCESS (In Breakouts of 2-3’s, guys/girls)
+ HOW is the Lord calling me to action/obedience? Is there sin to confess, a next step to take, how has it gone since last time? (Below are a couple of ideas to help prompt responses if needed)
+ How do you personally say “NEVER” to these practices in society today?
+ How do you disciple others in reference to this topic?
+ Do you accept or avoid, or with love and grace share the truth and take action?
+ WHO am I walking with and praying for to discover Jesus, what is my next step? (e.g., spend time with them, set-up an intentional time to share your story, begin a discovery study on the teachings of Jesus with them)
STUDY GUIDE ( ESV STUDY BIBLE - WWW.ESV.ORG )
+ Lev. 18:1–30 The rules from ch. 18 onward aim to lead the people to holiness, although the term “holy” or “holiness” is not mentioned in ch. 18. The minimal requirement for holiness is to not act like the Egyptians or Canaanites. The actions prohibited in this chapter are representative examples. They do not address every possible situation in life.
+ Lev. 18:5 if a person does them, he shall live by them. The person who responds rightly to God’s grace (“does”) will enjoy life under God’s pleasure (“shall live”). Compare Deut. 4:1; 8:1; Neh. 9:29; Ezek. 20:11; John 15:10.
+ Lev. 18:6–18 These laws prohibit sexual relations (approach . . . to uncover nakedness), and therefore marriage, between people who are too closely related, either by blood (mother, sister, granddaughter, aunt) or by marriage (stepmother, stepsister, stepdaughter, stepgranddaughter, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, aunt by marriage). No mention is made of the daughter, probably because this prohibition was already well known in the laws of other cultures. The rules enforce a distinction between family affection and erotic love, which protects the well-being of the community.
+ Lev. 18:18 you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister. Polygamy violates the creation ideal (Gen. 2:24), and polygamous marriages in the Bible are generally unhappy ones (e.g., Gen. 29:30–30:2; 1 Sam. 1:2–7).
+ Lev. 18:19 Leviticus offers no explanation for this law. Unlike most of the other sexual laws of this chapter, such as those concerning adultery and homosexuality, this law is not repeated in the NT. In view of 15:19–24, the concern is probably the man’s ceremonial uncleanness.
+ Lev. 18:20 This prohibition follows from the seventh commandment (Ex. 20:14) and is universally applicable. make yourself unclean with her. Although not all uncleanness is sin, all sin makes a person unclean.
+ Lev. 18:21 This refers to the cult of Molech (2 Kings 23:10; Jer. 32:35). The precise nature of the offering of children to this pagan god is uncertain. It may be that they are being given to the cult of Molech to train to be temple prostitutes, and that is why this passage is listed in a section dealing with sexual prohibitions. On the other hand, Roman authors describe the practice of sacrificing babies by fire, and this may indeed refer to this horrific custom.
+ Lev. 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. This prohibits all male homosexual activity (compare 20:13; also note on Rom. 1:26–27). Such activity is utterly at odds with the creation ideal (see note on Gen. 2:23–24).
+ Lev. 18:24–30 All the listed offenses are declared to be an outrage to the Lord. They defile the offender and the land.
+ Abomination describes a behavior or action that is utterly repulsive and detestable to God. The offenses listed in 18:24–30 defile not only the person who committed the act but the entire land.