Again and again, we read the words, ‘I am the Lord your God’, or more simply, ‘I am the Lord’ (vs. 3, 4, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 25, 28, 30, 31, 32, 34, 36, 37). The whole point of this is that our moral practice is grounded in our spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).
Our careful obedience to God’s Word is not to be a purely legalistic thing. We must never forget that God is the God of redemption. Our holiness is grounded in Him. He is holy, and He sets us apart as holy (22:31-33). Holy living involves both worship and service. We are to worship God (23:1-4). We must not forget the ‘poor people’ (23:22).
If our light is to be kept burning continually, we need pure oil (24:2). The emphasis here is on keeping close to God. It is only through closeness to God that our light will be kept burning. In verse 15, we read, ‘Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin.’ This is followed, in verse 16, by some words of explanation of what bearing his sin meant: ‘He who blasphemes the Name shall be put to death.’ As we read these words, our thoughts move to Another who was put to death – the sinless Saviour who bore the sins of many. ‘He died that we might be forgiven. He died to make us good, that we might go at last to heaven, saved by His precious blood.’ Through Him, we are brought close to God. Through Him, we are brought out of darkness and into light.
This chapter is full of the Lord’s instructions concerning the Jubilee to be celebrated by Israel. Why was it so important for Israel to hear and obey the Word of the Lord? – ‘The Israelites belong to Me as servants. They are My servants. I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God’ (v. 55). This is still the foundation of our call to obedience. The Lord, who calls us to obedience, has first called us to belong to Him through redemption. He has redeemed us. We belong to Him. We will serve Him.
There is blessing for those who learn to obey the Lord (vs. 3-13). There is judgment for those who persist in sinning against the Lord (vs. 14-33). The opportunity of blessing remains even for those who are in despair and are wasting away because of sin (vs. 36, 39). God says, ‘I will remember My promise’ (v. 42). Those who have sinned against the Lord ‘must accept their guilt.’ This is the first step towards coming to know the blessing of the Lord their God who says, ‘I will not reject them or look at them with disgust’ (v. 43).
The underlying theme in this final chapter is giving ourselves to the Lord. We are to belong to Him. We are to be dedicated to Him. We are to be set apart for Him. We are to be holy. Such dedication to the Lord is to affect the whole of our life. We learn this from the variety of details in this chapter. There can be no turning back from following the Lord. Those who turn back do themselves much harm. Through their disobedience to the Lord, they become spiritually dead. Keep up your dedication to the Lord.