We are so used to hearing that ancient Jews were swamped with detailed laws that we believe it. The book of Leviticus, as a collection of laws, can certainly support our presupposition.
Yet, the people who were able to recognize and acknowledge that they were beneficiaries of God's care and concern did not see the laws as an onerous burden. Rather, they received them as a gracious gift from God intended to make their lives better.
verse 2: The OT gives us many stories about many people, but it does not ask us to model ourselves after these often-flawed folks. Rather, we are commanded to imitate God. The Gospel writers later were to reinforce this command. See Matthew 5:48 and Luke 6:36.
The lectionary passage this weeks omits verses 3 through 14. Read them for yourselves anyway. Take care of the elderly. Provide sustenance for the poor. Don't steal. Don't lie. Don't cheat. This passage even requires equal-access rules for the blind and deaf. To be holy is to care for other people's lives and needs.
Verses 15 through 18 continue this philosophy. Be fair. Be kind.
In other words, those who love God love their neighbors as themselves.
(with help from Allen & Williamson).
Lectio Divina: Leviticus 19:15-18