Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How Valuable is Human Life?

Reflections on Leviticus

In Leviticus 24, we find instructions for bread that was always to be before the Lord in the Tabernacle and Temple. Jesus referred to this passage when He brought up how David “entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat” (Luke 6:4) when he and his men were hungry (1Sam 21).

Jesus spoke of this violation of the Law approvingly. Why? People are more important than crossing every T of the Law. “Mercy takes precedence over regulations,” as the Orthodox Study Bible puts it.

But we can’t press that too far. The next thing we see in Lev 24 is a man put to death because he “blasphemed the Name” (v11).

Human life is extremely valuable to God. It is so valuable that the punishment for taking a human life is to lose your own (v17), but it is not the most important thing there is.

God’s glory is primary. God will be respected; He will be regarded as holy (Lev 10:3) or there will be consequences.

We cannot understand God, nor can we “walk humbly” (Micah 6:8) with Him if we do not grasp this truth. It is a fundamental concept, and one that needs to be better understood in our day:

God is the creator of everything. It is by His will we came into being, and it is by His mercy we continue. Everything we have is from Him, and we need to respond accordingly.

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