Remembering the Passover & Exodus: a selection of passages & meditations
"You shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy"

Scripture: Leviticus 19:1-4, 11-18

1 And the LORD said to Moses, 2 "Say to all the congregation of the people of Israel, You shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy.
3 Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.
4 Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten Gods: I am the LORD your God.

11 "You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.
12 And you shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.
13 "You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning.
14 You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.
15 "You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.
16 You shall not go up and down as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand forth against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.
17 "You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him.
18 You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Meditation: God called his people Israel to be holy as he is holy. That call extends to us, his people, today (1 Peter 1:22 - 2:5). God gave his law to Israel in a context of grace, after he had redeemed them from slavery in Egypt. His call to Israel to be his holy people preceded the revelation of the law at Sinai, but only obedience could make holiness a living reality. Their freedom from slavery was not license to do now as they pleased. As a holy nation that had to keep themselves pure from sin and uncleanness lest God's wrath break out against them. God taught his people to treat others as he had treated them. He gave them the law of love: "you shall love your neighbor as yourself".

In the covenant God pledged himself to Israel forever. He expected Israel to reciprocate by lifelong allegiance to him as their sovereign redeemer. Do you pledge eternal allegiance to Jesus as your Redeemer and sovereign Lord?

The prophets looked forward to a new covenant that would be written on our hearts rather than on tablets of stone. This new covenant was inaugurated by Christ's death, which saved his people from the bondage of sin. Like the old covenant, the new one displays the grace of God to sinful man. The new covenant is like the old in that the members are expected to obey the law: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15). The new covenant also offers us the assurance of God's eternal faithfulness: "I will give them eternal life, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28).

"Lord Jesus Christ, your death brought life for us. Help me to love my neighbor with the same mercy, kindness, and forbearance you have shown to me when I strayed from your ways."

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(c) 1999, 2001, 2002 Don Schwager