None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the Lord (Leviticus 18:6)
Beginning with this verse, the text begins to address what we will refer to as forbidden relationships. The expression “uncover his nakedness” alludes to the principle of honor and shame but is also understood to be an idiomatic phrase denoting physical relations in certain situations. In short, this expression is being used to tell God’s people that there are certain boundaries which are not to be crossed even if it is considered acceptable in other nations such as those who dwelt in Canaan.
According to God’s standard, it is dishonorable to “uncover the nakedness” of those one is related to — it brings shame upon them and you. This shame and dishonor hearkens back to the beginning when Adam, having disobeyed the Creator, realized that he and his wife were naked — and they were ashamed.
God knew that men, then and now, needed definite boundaries to govern relationships, and so, these prohibitions were intended to stem the impulse and evil inclination that would provoke some to cross those boundaries. In short, He was reminding His people that we are to be holy and upright. Consider that relationships among animals is physical, instinctive, and devoid of any shame. For people to sink to that level takes something God intended to be holy and makes it something dishonorable and shameful. In other words, when man ignores the boundaries that God has set forth, people stop acting human and start acting like animals.
We are God’s people, created in His image and in His likeness. As followers of Messiah, we are being conformed to the image of the Son of God. Therefore, we are to represent His image and His character faithfully — in holiness and righteousness. May it never be said of us that we have brought shame and dishonor upon Him because of our actions. In every way, relationships and otherwise, we must regard the boundaries He set forth from the beginning because, in so doing, we bring honor to Him and to His name.
Blessings and Shalom,