Nov 4, 2018
During this second week of the series, we explore the holiness code which is at the center of the book. At the center of that code is “Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself” where we find the center of our ethical obligations and more.
II. Introduction to the topic of what takes place in sacred space
A. What is sacred space, for the ancients as well as for us?
B. Does the idea of purity, which was important to God’s earliest followers have any meaning for us? How might a particular element of it - namely, separation - be relevant and supportive of true Divine encounter in our lives?
III. The Strange Matter of Tzara’at (Otherwise Mistakenly Known of as Leprosy)
A. I will summarize the essence of Leviticus 13:1-9 and discuss the surface meaning of these and the many additional verses that deal with the condition of tzara’at.
B. I will recount cases in the Hebrew Bible where characters were afflicted with this condition.
C. If this isn’t leprosy, what in the world is it? (Think deeply! Think metaphorically!). Way beyond our physical condition, God worries greatly about something else deeper in us.
D. The New Testament talks about Jesus’s healing lepers. Is it possible the condition Jesus was treating was tzara’at? If so, what would the lesson be in that?
IV. Holiness is at the center of this book and central to our encounter with the Divine.
A. When you hear the word, holiness, what comes to your mind?
B. I’ll summarize Leviticus 19:1-8.
C. Read Leviticus 19:9-18. Wow. Some say this is the core of the Hebrew Bible. Why? Let’s walk slowly up to the great commandment, which appears at the end of these verses.
1. What’s the significance of verses 9 and 10?
2. Why does verse 12 appear between verse 11 and verse 13?
3. What does it mean to refrain from cursing the deaf and putting a stumbling block before the blind?
4. Verse 15 is central to justice. How?
5. Verse 16 warns against being a talebearer? Why?
6. Verse 18 famously tells us to love our neighbor as ourself. Yet, verse 17 says we should sometimes rebuke our neighbor? How can rebuke be a part of love? And how does the last clause of the verse constrain or explain the rebuking?
D. Now that we’ve read the build-up and the climax of the Holiness Code, what do we now think holiness is?
V. Conclusion - the question with which we will end our conversation is this: Given that this book is basically about God calling us to draw near, what is the most important thing God wants us to experience, know, and be committed to do when we depart from our encounter with the Divine?