Chapter-a-Day Leviticus 24

Dictionary

 It makes no difference whether he is a foreigner or a native, if he blasphemes the Name, he will be put to death. Leviticus 24:16 (MSG)

blas·pheme

/blæsˈfim, ˈblæsfim/[blas-feem, blas-feem] verb, -phemed, -phem·ing.
–verb (used with object)
1. to speak impiously or irreverently of (God or sacred things).
2. to speak evil of; slander; abuse.

Those who faithfully read these chapter-a-day posts are likely sick of hearing me say that God is a God of metaphor. And yet, in our journey through God’s Message I am continually amazed at how deeply this truth is woven into the very fabric of life. Words themselves are metaphors. A word, whether spoken or written, is something which stands for something else without using “like” or “as.” God’s Message refers to Jesus as the “Word.”

Consider that each morning we wake up with a blank verbal canvas, and the words that we choose to utter become brush strokes which paint a metaphorical self-portrait; they paint a metaphorical expression out of our deepest thoughts, emotions, and beliefs.

Think about all that you did yesterday. Recall, as best you can, all of the words that came out of your mouth: the conversations, the exclamations, the idle gossip, the song lyrics you sang along with in the car, the curses under your breath, the complaints, the arguments, the demands, the insults, the compliments, the private moments, and the deragatory remarks.

What kind of self-portrait do those words paint? Would others look at a summary of the words that came from your mouth and say that it is a portrait of love? Anger? Contentment? Hatred? Dissatisfaction? Gentleness? Pride? Greed? Compassion? Lonliness? Humility? Fear? Patience? Anxiety?

God takes the word we use very seriously. In fact, I believe God takes them far more seriously than we care to think about.

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Luke 6:44-46

“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” – Matthew 12:36

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry….” James 1:19

I read today’s chapter and scratch my head at the extreme reaction God had towards one man’s curse. My first reaction is to think “how can God be so upset about words?” The longer I meditate on it, the more I hear God’s return question: “How can you so easily profane the power and meaning of words themselves?”

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One thought on “Chapter-a-Day Leviticus 24”

  1. 23 Moses then spoke to the People of Israel. They brought the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him. The People of Israel followed the orders God had given Moses.

    We aren’t told the age of the blasphemer. He may have been an adult, maybe a teen, maybe younger. The second sentence says it all. At times, I wonder how and why the Israelites kept all of the difficult laws of God. The accountability was different in the OT. People died. On many occasions people who touched the ark, blasphemed God, etc died to make a point to the rest of the people. Sometimes I wonder if our culture would respond differently if there were immediate consequences to unruly behavior. It seems that the threat of eternal life/death is too far away for many of us to care. Interesting for me to think about today.

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