Not like the Canaanites — Leviticus 17-19

Keeping up in your reading? Yes, making your way through Leviticus is a little more difficult than Joshua or 1 Samuel, but I hope your knowledge of Scripture is beginning to deepen and that you’re making connections between what you’re reading and the New Testament. They are there, you know.

Like Leviticus 18… OK, there’s a lot of specific law here, mostly about rather explicit sexual perversions (incest to homosexuality to bestiality), but there’s also something that we can apply to 21st century Christian living here, too. Not only is there plenty of delineation for us about sexual rightness and wrongness — way more than most of us are comfortable even thinking exists — but there’s also this reminder in 18:24 that these sins are the very reasons that God was removing the Canaanites from their land — sins that the Israelites might be tempted to also commit.

And the application to us?

Only these two things: (1) we really must be careful to keep ourselves separate from the world’s influence. Israel was going to be tempted to follow the example of the Canaanites: they were tempted and they sometimes fell badly. And it is a recurrent theme of mankind — the good are tempted by and sometimes stumble into the same sins that they once were repulsed by. The godly, moral standard becomes at first quaint, then “old-timey”, and eventually a foolish anachronism in a new day.

And (2) God doesn’t play favorites. He took the original inhabitants of Canaan from their land and gave the land and its cities to Israel; but He underscores in v.24 that the same fate could (and ultimately did) befall Israel, if Israel should forget her Lord and His standards of morality, purity, and holiness. And Christians must exercise caution, too, because God is still no respecter of persons. This is made really clear in Romans:

“You [Gentiles] will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches [the Jews], He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?” Romans 11:19-24, NAS95.

Let’s be careful in our own everyday lives to avoid becoming too much like the world in fashion, in attitude, in entertainment, in morals, in words, and in religious or moral “diversity”.

What in this passage really struck you as applicable?

About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the Rock Hill church of Christ in Frisco TX where I've worked since 2020. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, and the Lord's church.
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