Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.Leviticus 19:3 NIV
Most believers probably avoid Leviticus as much as possible. After all, it is filled with a seeming random set of laws and sacrifices. And it mostly seems irrelevant to us today. We may be familiar with Leviticus 19:2, “be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy”, because it is quoted in 1 Peter 1:16. But the rest of this chapter is pretty easy to skim over when you do actually read through the book.
But as I read this passage this morning something struck me about it. At the end of most of the commands is the expression “I am the Lord your God” or “I am the Lord”. The word Lord here is the Hebrew word Yahweh, the personal name of God. And the word translated as God is Elohim, a more generic word for God. But, you might ask, ‘So what?’
What struck me is that God gives us these commands because he is God. And he expects us to obey them, simply because he is our God. While there was a consequence for disobedience, that was not the reason for obedience. Obedience was based on the fact that we would be doing what God told us to do.
We may not understand why. There may seem like a better way of doing things. But it really doesn’t matter. That God told us to do it should be reason enough.
To be clear, I am not advocating that we follow the Old Testament Law. But I would advocate we be obedient to God. Not out of fear or hope for reward. But simply because it is what God told us to do.