Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and this Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel fought each other in the camp. (Leviticus 24:10)
This may seem a strange passage to use for the purpose of a devotion and, frankly, considering what we have been discussing it might seem out of place. However, as we have worked our way through Leviticus, it is obvious that the emphasis of this book is God’s holiness and the call to His people to be holy. Consequently, this story stands out as a blatant challenge to the commission given to all of God’s people to sanctify His Name. In fact, the context of this story is a reminder that we are to be light (the Menorah) and acknowledge His Presence among us (showbread or “bread of the Presence).
The Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly what the quarrel was about nor does it specify exactly what happened to the other person, although there is a hint that the other party was disfigured as a result of the melee. The larger issue is that, somewhere in the process, the son of the Israelite woman “blasphemed the name of the LORD and cursed” (Lev. 24:11). Because his sin was witnessed by others, he became liable to the death penalty.
While the outcome of this might harsh to us (he was taken out and stoned), nevertheless, we should take note of the message being conveyed to us — holiness will not long tolerate strife and contempt for the things of God. When anger is present, it has the potential to lead, not only to conflict, but to rebellion and total disregard for the Presence of God. In short, no thing good comes from strife. To the contrary, we are called to be a people who strive to live in harmony with our brethren.
As we can see from this story, it is important that we continually conduct ourselves in a holy manner and that, as parents and grandparents. we teach this attribute to our children. Yes, there is bound to be disagreement and opposing views among brethren, maybe even animated conversations at times, but we cannot allow this fact to escape us — we are to sanctify His Name in all we do. We must remember that the nature of the conflict never outweighs the call to holiness.
Blessings and Shalom,