Father, thank You that You are creating the community of love. Let me willingly work with You toward that end.
 The LORD said to Moses,  “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.  “‘Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God. “‘Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the LORD your God. “‘When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the LORD, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf.  It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it or on the next day; anything left over until the third day must be burned up.  If any of it is eaten on the third day, it is impure and will not be accepted.  Whoever eats it will be held responsible because they have desecrated what is holy to the LORD; they must be cut off from their people.  “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest.  Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God.  “‘Do not steal. “‘Do not lie. “‘Do not deceive one another.  “‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.  “‘Do not defraud or rob your neighbor. “‘Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.  “‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the LORD.  “‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.  “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD.  “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.  “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Reflect:Which instructions speak to motive? In what way?
When we read through Leviticus we find that the law is as much about how we relate to one another as it is about how we relate to God.
The people of Israel are to be holy, like God (2), but the sins that cut them off from God additionally cut them off from their community (5-8). Communion with God and being in community with people are two sides of the same coin, and it is no different today; as we become right with God we also have to maintain right relationships with others.
Verse 18 is picked up by the law expert who asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-37), but what God is outlining here is not who our “neighbor” is but, rather, what it means to love them. Practical characteristics are mercy and compassion (9,10,14), integrity, honesty and justice (11-13,15,16), good conscience and inner purity (17,18).
The Scriptures here are not quick fixes or easy life-coaching steps. These things must be embedded, upheld and practiced to honor God and create peace in our community relationships.
Today’s passage provides the instructions for the Day of Atonement, a special day when the holy place, the tabernacle, the priests and the people were purified and cleansed from their sins and set right, once again, with God. This day played a crucial role in ensuring that the relationship between God and his people kept on working.
After some preparatory instructions (3-5), verses 6 to 10 summarize what would happen on the day. Then verses 11 to 22 spell out the details of the ritual, which involved the sprinkling of blood around the tabernacle, and ended with the sending out of the scapegoat, a living symbol of the banishing of sin. This whole process was an unforgettable demonstration of God’s cleansing and purification…but it needed to be repeated every year.
Today, we still come to God in regular repentance for our sins, but the need for repeated purification sacrifices and days of atonement has been eliminated. At the cross Jesus, once and for all time, gave himself as the atonement, or scapegoat, for our sins (see also 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24).
Reflect on how you spend your time, energy and money, and the effects of your choices on others around the world.
Jesus, I want Your light to shine so that I might reflect You to a world in need.