Caring for One Another: Leviticus 19:1-17

Leviticus 19:1‑17  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Leviticus 19:1-171And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy. 3Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the Lord your God. 4Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the Lord your God. 5And if ye offer a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord, ye shall offer it at your own will. 6It shall be eaten the same day ye offer it, and on the morrow: and if ought remain until the third day, it shall be burnt in the fire. 7And if it be eaten at all on the third day, it is abominable; it shall not be accepted. 8Therefore every one that eateth it shall bear his iniquity, because he hath profaned the hallowed thing of the Lord: and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 9And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. 10And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God. 11Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. 12And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord. 13Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. 14Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the Lord. 15Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor. 16Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbor: I am the Lord. 17Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him. (Leviticus 19:1‑17)
This chapter gives us many instructions as to our treatment of one another. To the children of Israel it was law — “Thou shalt” and “Thou shalt not,” — but we have learned in Christianity that we are not under law but under grace. Nevertheless, that which was morally suited to God in His dealings with Israel is unchanged, for God’s moral character never changes. He has said, “I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:66For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6)). The law demanded of man that which he was unable to give, for his fallen nature is at “enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:77Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7)). A man must be born again before he can please God at all and then the new man delights in obedience. It does not need a law, but rather finds its joy in the paths of righteousness.
Consideration for the Weak
There is, however, much wisdom that is needful, and we do well to ponder it in a day and age when there is a tendency to forget that consideration for one another should be seen among the children of God. If we walk in the Spirit, these precious fruits will be produced without effort (Galatians 5:2222But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (Galatians 5:22)). The children of Israel were never to forget the poor and the stranger and were to leave a little in the corners of their fields for them. How tender the grace of God that would think of the needs of such and remind us of them. In all His greatness He never forgets the needs of any of His creatures, for not even a sparrow falls to the ground without His notice, and we who are His children ought to show the same tenderness. There was also to be that consideration for the deaf and blind. Undoubtedly we would not “curse the deaf,” but do we as Christians think of them? Do we try to speak loudly enough so that they can hear? How often a person who is a little deaf will come to a meeting of believers and hear little or nothing of what is said simply because the one or ones who were speaking did not put forth a little extra effort to speak so that all could hear. These little things are not forgotten of God our Father who thinks of the needs of His creatures and is kind even to the unthankful (Luke 6:3535But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. (Luke 6:35)).
Another thing we are reminded of is the danger of being a talebearer. Perhaps there is nothing that has caused so much harm among the children of God as tale-bearing. Even boys and girls need to be warned against this habit, for it grows on one until he or she becomes known as one who minds everyone’s business but his own. People have been driven from gospel meetings and other meetings simply because someone did a great deal of unnecessary talking. Let us all watch against this habit, and if something comes to our ears which is not profitable, let it stop right there and go no further.
The next verse gives us a sort of balance for what we have just spoken about. Although we are not to repeat gossip, we are not to be indifferent to evil. If we know that someone is falling into sinful ways, we ought to go and speak to them about it. We need to be careful how we do it, and it should always be in a sense of our own weakness (Galatians 6:11Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)), but we should not let it pass. How many a person would be saved a disastrous course if, instead of tale-bearing, we went to them in love and sought their restoration.
For Further Meditation
1. How do we know that the Lord never forgets our needs?
2. The Scriptures have a lot to say about the power of the tongue for both good and evil. How many different scriptures can you find that tell us what our God wishes to see us do with our tongues?
3. You can get a set of verses about gossip (talebearing) in the collection of themed scriptures called The Bible Promise Book that are well worth meditating on.