February 18, 2007


Leviticus 18:1-5

"You must not do as they do in Egypt ... [or] in the land of Canaan." Leviticus 18:3


Before reaching Mount Sinai, Israel had wistfully thought of plentiful food supplies in Egypt (Exodus 16:3), but they also learned that God provided all the food they needed in the wilderness. God would provide plenty till they entered the promised land. In the meantime, God taught them about putting down roots.

Egyptians and Canaanites also enjoyed the blessings of God, for all good things come from the heavenly Father (James 1:17). But the Egyptians were not interested in acknowledging the blessings of the God of Abraham; they had the fertile Nile River to provide yearly bounties. And the Canaanites thanked Baal, their god of rain, for their food and drink.

Now, the Lord told Israel not to follow the ways of Egypt or Canaan. Egypt had been powerless to prevent God's blessing of Israel (Exodus 1-12), and later, at Mount Carmel in Canaan, God showed that Baal had no power at all (1 Kings 18). God taught Israel to root its life in his instructions, saying that whoever "obeys them will live by them." Only the words of the Lord give abundant life.

Like seed that falls on good soil (Matthew 13:1-23), only a faith rooted in God's Word produces abundant life. Root your life in Jesus Christ, the Word of God. No other soil will do.

Lord Jesus, help us root our lives not in the promises of this world, but only in your Word. Give us the wisdom to know truth from falsehood and to trust in you. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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