Monday, February 9, 2009

Holy, Holy, Holy!

Chapters 19-21 of Leviticus are not light-hearted bedtime reading. This is not touchy-feely happy talk. Instead, these verses are serious reminders that God has a heart for holiness, a passion for purity, and that one of his priorities is protecting the people he chose to be his own.

Fifteen times in chapter 19, God reminds us that He is Lord. This repeated assertion confirms that he alone has the right to tell his people what to do and how to live--and that is still true today.

This call to holiness is a reminder that we are to be separate. When the word "holy" refers to God, it affirms his "apartness," that he is different from any other. He is above and different from man, and his purity, righteousness, justice and mercy are unparalleled.

These chapters do include many "don't's," but these "thou shall nots" are God's way of saying something like, hey, you people are special, there is no need for you to follow the pagan playbook, you're chosen people who are set apart to live above this world's passing temporal passions and ungodly ways.

As Christian's, we are God's children. We're called to a higher standard than the lost world is willing to assume. In John 15, Jesus puts it this way:
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.

God calls us to pursue holiness. Being separate doesn't mean that we stop living in this world, but while we're here, we are to be "in and not of it," which is just another way of saying that just like the children of Israel so many years ago, we are to avoid adopting any practices of our culture that offend or dishonor our Holy God.

Father, thank you for your holiness. Thank you for calling us to separate ourselves from anything our culture accepts that you reject. You are worthy to be honored in this way and we are grateful to be yours.

"Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee, though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see, only thou art holy; there is none beside thee, perfect in power, in love and purity."

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