You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes.
Leviticus 18:3 (NASB)
Statutes – God is sovereign. So what is a characteristic of a sovereign being? One accepted characteristic is someone who exercises supreme and permanent authority through the enactment of laws. He is a lawgiver.
YHWH has provided us with His law, His government, His way of life. So the way in which we accept His rulership and authority in our lives is by submitting to His law. YHWH is our God and there is no other. Leviticus 18:3 is His way of expressing this and enforcing the first of the 10 commandments. “I am the LORD thy God, … Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” No other Lawgivers. No other laws, but His.
Anytime a law fashioned by man, or some other ‘god’ takes precedence above YHWH’s commandments, then we have placed another god above Him. We have broken the first of the 10 commandments. This should cause self-examination. When have I placed another law above the statutes of YHWH? Where have I substituted the living God with another lawgiver?
Have we replaced the Sabbath with Sunday? Do we wear mixed fiber clothing because they look better than the pure 100% fabric? Do we collect interest on loans we lend to our brothers? There are all sorts of minor laws we choose not to adhere to because they aren’t socially accepted. Or maybe we hold to the traditions of the elders so tightly that we’ve disregarded what God’s law actually says. And this is all done while still claiming that our faith is in YHWH and His Son Yeshua. How is that possible? If we’ve placed statutes of other men above the statutes of God, then He is no longer our Sovereign, He is no longer our God.
Wow, that’s harsh, but think about it. We don’t have a problem with the law itself because we all agree that murder is wrong, stealing is wrong, adultery is wrong, but when it comes to other laws we’re unfamiliar with, we tend to pick and choose. By picking and choosing, we become our own sovereign, our own lawgiver, and our own god. When we hold to some but disregard others, we use our own discernment and place our authority as supreme in our lives, and remove God from that role.
Of course the easy thing is to debate the statutes of sacrifices, or the penalties like stoning, etc. But before I explain why those aren’t able to be carried out even if you wanted to, I have a suggestion. Stop looking at the law for commands that you “can’t” do, and start looking to His law for the ones you can. Are you a Levite? No? Then don’t worry about the laws for priests. Is there a temple? No? Then don’t worry about the temple laws. Are you a farmer? No? Then don’t worry about the laws of farming. Where are the ones you can keep? Start with those. Show God that He is your Sovereign.