Scripture: from verse 3
You are not to engage in the activities found in the land of Egypt, where you used to live; and you are not to engage in the activities found in the land of Caanan, where I am bringing you…I am Adonai your God.
Observation: The chapter is about sexual practices, mostly forbidding incest.
Humans do what other humans do. We’re designed to do it, actually – it’s one of the things that makes civilization possible. If all our friends jump off a bridge, we usually do so as well, which is not a bad thing if the bridge is on fire or the water is nice for swimming. Our actions, our thought patterns, our moods and even our eating habits are influenced by those around us.
As I said, this isn’t actually a bad thing. It allows us to make use of others’ experiences and pool our knowledge so we avoid certain kinds of mistakes. The internet has allowed this sort of herd instinct and collaboration to happen even faster and wider, and that sort of crowdsourcing has produced some remarkable things. (Admittedly it has also produced some real duds as well, but such is life.)
But God is other. God is different. God doesn’t do what other people do. And He doesn’t want His people to do what other people do – at least not unthinkingly.
God designed us to collaborate and work together. But humans are broken. We’re flawed. And the flaws come out in our collaborations, just as everything else does. If we want to be holy, we need to watch not just our own actions, but also the trending actions of those around us. Because if we aren’t aware of what others are doing, we’ll do the same things without even thinking about it.
This isn’t easy to notice, either. If our culture is filled with an activity or an attitude, we tend to forget that it’s part of our culture. We think all humans take vacations, or want to be thin, or gossip about others. And that isn’t necessarily true. We need to ask God for His perspective, so we can see where we are making false assumptions.
Application: Keep an eye on yourself. Be willing to be different.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, thank you for enabling me to follow God’s word. Help me to be holy, and to see where I need to be different in order to be holy. Help me see the activities of my culture as just part of my culture and not an integral part of being human. Help me to have the perspective to see things the way you do. Amen.