In Leviticus 18-19, the Lord gave the people rules about immoral relations and idolatry. The Canaanites had done many abominations and were defiled. The Lord wanted His people to be separate and holy.
The basic principles of the Ten Commandments are covered in Leviticus 19 in a different order. The Lord's command was clear, "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy (19:2).
Leviticus 20 supplements and reinforces the prohibitions of Leviticus 18 going into more detail about the punishments for different offenses that the community needed to carry out. Most of the crimes included the death penalty. The different methods were stoning (20:2, 27) and burning (20:14). In Jewish tradition, burning was understood as hot lead being poured down the throat! Yikes!
This chapter has a warning against sacrificing children to Molech (18:21). He was the national god of the Ammonites in which Solomon erected a shrine in 1 Kings 11:7. King Ahaz burned his children to a Molech shrine in 2 Chronicles 28:3, and Manasseh sacrificed a son in 2 Kings 21:6. Sometimes, the Bible associates Molech with Baal (Jeremiah 32:35).
The main idea of this chapter is that God would punish those who engaged in false worship including consulting a medium or spiritist (20:1-8). He would also punish those who engaged in activities that broke down the family (20:9-21). He continued to prepare them to be a separate and holy people from the nations that would surround them in the Promised Land.
Key verses in this chapter continue to support the key theme of holiness in Leviticus:
You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy
for I am the LORD Your God.
I am the LORD who sanctifies You. (20:7-8)
Thus You are to be holy to Me,
for I the LORD am holy;
And I have set You apart from the peoples to be Mine. (20:21)
It also reinforces a key repeated phrase in the book:
"I am the Lord (your God)."
APPLICATIONUnderline the key repeated phrase, "I am the LORD (your God)" between Leviticus 18-26, and meditate on what it means the He is your LORD.
How do we, as followers of Jesus Christ, exhibit practical holiness? What is an "I WILL" statement that could help you live that out?
You are the LORD our God. We want to take time to be holy so we might glorify You. We praise You. Amen.