The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “I am the LORD your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD.
Leviticus 18:1-5 (NIV)
Read: Leviticus 18
Consider: When God chose the people of Israel to follow him he gave them various laws and commands to follow. We may be familiar with the ten commandments which set down rules for our relationship with God and with those around us. Leviticus 18 contains what could best be described as rules for sexual purity. Having read Leviticus 18 you are probably in agreement with what is said there and you probably know from genetics why it is unwise for close relations to have sexual intercourse. However, Leviticus 18 contains a wider truth and that is one of sexual purity.
The Israelites were told not to live as the Egyptians did (where they had come from), nor to live as the Canaanites did (where they were going to). God called them to be different to the nations around them. God knew the temptations the Israelites would face and the need for them to be pure. So why was sexual purity so important? God knew that casual sexual relationships do nothing to strengthen the bonds between men and women. He also knew that in sexual union something other than physical intimacy takes place, this is what Paul in Ephesians 5 describes as a ‘mystery’.
Modern society represents sex as something to be enjoyed, with little thought to the destructive nature of casual sex. Attitudes in society to pre-marital sex have changed significantly over the last 50 years. The problem is that even in some Christian circles there is a watering-down of what were previously seen as indisputable standards. There is sometimes a fear of sounding old fashioned in asking young people to be abstinent until after marriage.
As Christians we need to take sexual purity seriously for ourselves and also to encourage the next generation to do the same. This will mean that we are ‘out of step’ with society and may even lead to Christians being ridiculed for what society sees as old fashioned ideas. God sees sexual purity as important, so must we.
Pray: Father, we know that you want your people to live in a way that honours you. This includes seeing sexual purity as you see it. May we as individuals be willing to set an example for society that sex is to be enjoyed within marriage between a man and a woman. Give our church leaders courage to stand up for the standards of sexual purity you lay down in the Bible. Amen