Life of Moses: Love Your Neighbour as Yourself

Peter Barnes: Leviticus 19:1-18

(25 August 2019)

God says to be holy (19:2) and to love our neighbour as ourselves (19:18). For Jesus on the two great commandments, see Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18; Matt.22:36-40. See Luke 10:25-37; Lev.19:33-34. Jesus teaches a special love between Christians – John 13:34-35.

1. Loving God is the foundation for loving our neighbour.

In these 18 verses we find the expression ‘I am the Lord’ or ‘I am the Lord your God’ some eight times (19:2, 3, 4, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18). Godliness is the foundation for what is often called humanitarianism, e.g. Colossians 2:6.

2. Caring for the poor.

– laws about the honouring one’s parents, keeping the Sabbaths, avoiding idols, and making peace offerings in 19:3-8

– 19:9-10. Two things: the edges were not to be reaped, so people could pass on the outside and please themselves; and the gleanings were not to be picked up from the ground. Hence Ruth 2:1-7.

– Jonathan Edwards: ‘It is not merely a commendable thing for a man to be kind and bountiful to the poor, but our bounden duty, as much a duty as it is to pray, or to attend public worship, or any thing else whatever; and the neglect of it brings great guilt upon any person.’ Calvin: ‘the whole human race forms one body, of which all are members’. See Acts 6:1-7.

3. Treating all as in God’s image.

– 19:14; Deut. 27:18. Since the time of Darwinism, the West has been on a slide into a culture of eugenics. Richard Winter says that we are ‘perfecting ourselves to death’.

– God sees all.