Feb. 25. Moral and Ceremonial Laws; Penalties for Disobedience

Lev. 18:1-20:27

The Israelites had left the land of Egypt with its corrupt morals and false gods. They were at the threshold of entering Canaan, another country with idol worshippers and perverse morals. God informed His people that He expected their full worship and complete adherence to His moral commands. He then listed numerous guidelines dealing with the various relationships among the children of Israel. They were warned that they would be expelled from the land just as others before them had been expelled for those actions.

God continued His admonitions by repeating the principles of the ten commandments that He had recently given to them through Moses. The practice of consulting fortune tellers instead of relying upon God to lead them was forbidden. They were reminded frequently that, “I am the Lord.”

“‘Therefore you shall observe all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them: I am the Lord.’”

The Ammonites, who would be neighbors to the Israelites in Canaan worshiped the god, Molech. In this worship, they sacrificed their children to that god. Punishment for someone committing that gross evil was stoning to death. A person knowing about someone offering to Molech and failing to report his knowledge would be cut off from his people.

Severe punishment was prescribed for sexual immorality. The most severe was stoning to death for both individuals. Somewhat lesser penalties, but also severe were branding and in some cases, only being cut off from their people. Being cut off from their people meant that they were outcasts from God and country.

Mediums or fortune tellers were also to be stoned to death. God demanded that His people not participate in the corrupt practices of their new land or of the countries around them but would follow Him only.