Daily Scripture readings for July, set #22:
Leviticus 18 is a list of laws for sexual relations, and it contains the first Biblical reference to the controversial issue of homosexuality. “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman, it is an abomination” (vs 22). Now, this verse is clear as day regarding the OT’s stance on this issue, but the context makes things not as clear for us today. Namely, just a chapter ago we are told to never eat an animal with it’s blood in it, and 21st century Christians regularly disregard this law with absolutely zero feelings of guilt. So is this verse on homosexuality to be taken the same way? Is it something that was only an old covenant rule? The issue needs further developing, because it is addressed repeatedly in Scripture rather than solely in this passage. But, for now, I think it’s important to at the very least ACKNOWLEDGE the presence of Leviticus 18:22 and it’s impact on the discussion. If we are to say, as some would argue, that homosexuality isn’t prohibited by Scripture, we can’t go so far as to say that it was NEVER prohibited.
Psalm 44 is a good parallel passage to where the readings are at in Leviticus, because it comments on Israel’s establishment in the Canaan as the Lord led them there from Egypt. Verse 3 says this regarding Israel’s victories: “For not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but by your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.” This is a difficult thing to remember, but WOW does it change my perspective when I apply this truth in my own life.
Jesus’ parable of the workers in Matthew 20 is an interesting look at our attitudes as believers from Jesus’ perspective. It seems like the whole thrust of the parable revolves around the response of the workers that were brought on board in the morning. These early-hires are complaining and feeling quite entitled, and the “master” responds in verse 15: “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” The idea of begrudging the Lord’s generosity is a convicting thought to me.
In today’s Acts 27 reading I noticed something about Paul’s statement of encouragement to his shipmates. Paul recounts to them an angel of the Lord telling him this: “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you” (vs 24). It seems that the logic of the angel’s message is that God cares specifically about Paul, and has lumped the others into the same plan. My gut reaction is that this couldn’t possibly be the implication, but it sure seems like that’s what’s being communicated. Doesn’t God care for each individual equally? Is that notion just residual Sunday school theology? Is this verse teaching what I think it’s teaching?