The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of July 30-August 5, 2017, is Leviticus 24:10-16. It is the story of an event that occurred several years after the Israelites had left Egypt, but not too long, as there were still Egyptians living among the Israelites. This story is inserted amongst many of the Laws given to Moses by the Lord, which can make it seem out of place. However, this story highlights how the Laws were to be obeyed.
Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the Israelites, and he and a man of Israel quarreled and strove together in the camp. The Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name [of the Lord] and cursed. They brought him to Moses—his mother was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. And they put him in custody until the will of the Lord might be declared to them. And the Lord said to Moses, bring him who has cursed out of the camp, and let all who heard him lay their hands upon his head; then let all the congregation stone him. And you shall say to the Israelites, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. And he who blasphemes the Name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him; the stranger as well as he who was born in the land shall be put to death when he blasphemes the Name [of the Lord]. (Leviticus 24:10-16, AMP)
The first lesson is this story is obvious: blaspheming the Name of the Lord was, and still is, wrong! The second lessons requires a deeper study. During their time in Egypt, many Israelites married Egyptians. When the Israelites were freed, some Egyptian spouses chose to go with Israel, instead of remaining in Egypt. By joining the Israelites, these individuals were also held accountable to the Law, as were any children. This mixed-faith relationship shows the damage such parenting can have on a child. No doubt the child, while growing up, had heard his father curse the gods for ill fortune, a common practice. When the grown son entered into an argument with an Israelite, he followed his father’s example: the son cursed the God of Israel, as an insult to the other individual. For such a crime, he paid with his life.
Paul also addresses this issue in 2 Corinthians 6:14, calling believers to “not be unequally yoked with unbelievers” (ESV). We are to be careful, not only who we marry, but also who we surround ourselves with and whose opinions we seek out. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider those in your life. Who do you interact with everyday? Whose opinion do you value? Do these people hold you to God’s standard?