A Levitical Reflection: Integrity

What parts of the Bible do you never read?

I could ask that in a more favorable way: what parts of the Bible are your favorite?

But still–I’m guessing you’re like me in this regard: there’s a part of the Bible (many parts?) that you just don’t read. Often on purpose.

Me? It’s the minor prophets. All of them. And Song of Solomon (probably due to it being taboo as a kid?). And Leviticus. I’ll even read Numbers! But Leviticus. Eesh.

I’ve started a variation of the read-the-Bible-in-a-year plan approximately 45 times, but I’ve never made it past Exodus. I’m fairly certain my eyes have grazed at least a chapter of each of the 66 options, but if you asked me what Obadiah was about, I would have nothing to tell you. “Exile, repent, God things?”

I’m seeking to fix that: I’m not sticking to a time table. Instead, I just strive to meaningfully read (NOT SKIM) 2 chapters a day. Some days I do 5. Some days I do 0. Ah, the journey.

But hey, it’s working! Even broke my record: I’m currently in Leviticus 19.

Leviticus is an easy book to let one’s eyes lose focus and start planning the rest of the day’s to-do list. But you don’t think I brought you here to stop there, did you?

Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash

The Bible Project’s overview of Leviticus gives clear and beautiful context that I highly recommend (you can spare 8 minutes, c’mooooon). A shelf is always helpful to store mental books.

Leviticus 19 is the middle chapter on moral purity–a focus more on the heart, motives, & choices, and not so much about sacrifices, offerings, and cleanliness. In a sense, this part of Leviticus is like an alternative Proverbs: pithy statements, not a lot of explanation, but they become more powerful and clear the longer you think about them.

As my eyes were tracing each line, I paused at verse 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.

Since my two semesters of ASL, I have had some very enjoyable times in the Deaf community: the beauty of the language, a completely different culture, jokes about hearing people (they’re quite funny actually), and wonderful people. And you know what? If you cursed them, they would never know. That’s…the point of cursing someone, right? They should hear it?

A friend of mine from church is blind. He was at a Bible study at my house and people freaked out when I asked him to read (I knew he had a Braille Bible though!). Great guy, refreshing humor, depth of spirituality. He needs help finding a great seat in church often and uh…as long as I’m quiet, he would have no idea if I put a stumbling block in front of him.

A curse wouldn’t really hurt a deaf person, them not being able to hear it. A stumbling block would certainly hurt someone who was blind, but they wouldn’t know it was me. What’s the contrast to doing these two things?

but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

Meaning, the opposite of cursing the deaf and putting a stumbling block in front of the blind (two things they could very well never know that you did) is fearing your God. Because God would know. And you would know. And that’s enough.

God commands His people to do what is right even if you could get away with doing wrong. He commands integrity. And, even further, He commands integrous actions to people whom society might say it’s okay to rough up. This is a society that still tended to believe that God’s curse was upon the sick or those who had a disability.

Be kind to those who would never know that you were mean.

Be kind to those who society says you don’t have to be.

Why? Because you fear your God. And He is Lord.