Leviticus 19 – the two loves illustrated

So Leviticus 19 – no don’t change that channel.  This is actually quite interesting.

The chapter divides into 16 sub sections marked by the phrase “I am the LORD your God”, or “I am the Lord”.  The call is to be Holy because God is Holy – a theme picked up in the New Testament as well.  There is a randomness to the logical mind to these various teachings.  But life tends to come to us “randomly” if in fact we mean that some of these teachings have to do with the love of God and others with the love of neighbor.  What we see is the interconnectedness of concrete life – not the logical categorization of theoretical life.

think of your day – is it divided discretely between love of God and neighbor, or are they mixed.  Perhaps you thank God for life when you awaken, then brew coffee for your beloved, then drive safely to work, then answer your email, then encourage a friend at the water cooler, then leave a nice tip at lunch, and stop by the gym on the way home.   You see, mixed, not antiseptically divided.

The immediate context of the command to love your neighbor is verses 11-18, or v. 9 to 18.  (in the first we divide bc v. 1-9 uses “I am the Lord your God” as the section marker, but v, 9 and 10 by content seems to fit with love of neighbor).

To love your neighbor then includes:

  • Be generous with your harvest – v. 9,10
  • Be honest in business v. 11,12
  • Pay a fair and timely wage – v. 13-14
  • Keep justice without favoritism – v. 15-16
  • Don’t hate, but love your neighbor – v. 17-18

Also note that “neighbor” includes the resident Alien (v. 34) – which sheds light on Jesus parable of the Good Samaritan, which was told to answer the question “who is my neighbor” which really means “who can I get away with not loving” in the heart of the Lawyer who spoke to Jesus.

So, as we say, it preaches.

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