Leviticus 18:3 “You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in Canaan, where I am bringing you” (NIV).

Observation: Thus begins one in a long list of chapters in which God detailed rules to live by, this chapter focused on unlawful sexual relations. No possible perversion of God’s ideal is overlooked; every kind of relationship abominable to God is forthrightly discussed, each being called defilement.

Application: Apparently we have a God who never blushes. The unadorned language of this chapter ought to have at least caused Him to wince. But no, He apparently considered the horrifying practices of pagan nations surrounding His people and said, in effect, “Don’t even think about doing what you see them doing!” 

The list of prohibited intimacies is long: no Bob and sister, no Bob and granddaughter, no Bob and Rover, no Bob and Bob. He calls these “defilements.” Why would sexual perversions form the basis of defilement? Why would defilement not spring from the sordid gain of a shopkeeper using dishonest weights for measuring peanuts, or the deceit of a used-chariot salesman trying to hide weaknesses caused by a past collision? 

Why was sex so defiling? I may try to intellectualize the issue by saying that intermarrying degrades the gene pool to produce drooling idiots, but it doesn’t explain His objection to sex with animals.There is something deeper here, something far more important. I could make the claim that because God is so much bigger than I, He has the right to set all the rules; after all, He uses the phrase, “I am the Lord” with unnerving frequency in this chapter. 

The only way this chapter makes any sense at all is when I view God’s mandates through a bridal paradigm. He isn’t merely hoping to protect the gene pool; nor is He bullying in an area of life He designed to be most fulfilling. The reality is, He is a passionate lover of us created beings, and He is searching hopefully among us for an undefiled bride for His Son. God never lists His laws because He loves lists or because He loves laws; what He loves is me. What He is wildly ecstatic about is the idea that by living within the boundaries He proscribed, I would be considered undefiled and thus qualified to be part of the magnificent bride He is wooing for His Son.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, viewing You through the lens of a bridal paradigm breathes life into even musty passages like this one. I am overwhelmed by Your intention from the beginning of the Book to capture my heart even as I have captured Yours. Thank You.