Saturday, February 18, 2017

Practical holiness

"Gleaners" - A way to take
care of the poor. Artist unknown

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Leviticus 19:1-19

TO CHEW ON: "And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, 'Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel and say to them: "You shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy."'" Leviticus 19:1-2

Holy (holiness) [qadosh  - to be set apart, dedicated to sacred purposes, sacred, clean, morally or ceremonially pure] is a preoccupation of Leviticus. In chapter 19 the writer (Moses) commands Israel to be holy and follows with a list of practical dos and don'ts that flesh out holiness (set-apartness) in their setting. This list includes:

- Honor parents (Leviticus 19:3).
- Observe the sabbath (Leviticus 19:3).
- Offer sacrifices willingly and by the rules (Leviticus 19:5-6).
- Build into your farming practices a way to take care of the poor (Leviticus 19:9-10).
- Promptly pay what you owe (Leviticus 19:13).
- Judge righteously (Leviticus 19:15).
- Deal openly with neighbour disagreements (Leviticus 19:17).
- Love your neighbour as yourself (Leviticus 19:18).
- Keep the bloodlines of your cattle and the seedlines of your plants pure (Leviticus 19:19).
- Keep clothing fibers pure (Leviticus 19:19).

- Make or worship substitute gods (idols) (Leviticus 19:4).
- Treat sacrifices casually (Leviticus 19:7-8).
- Steal (Leviticus 19:11).
- Lie (Leviticus 19:11).
- Profane God's name by swearing (Leviticus 19:12).
- Cheat or rob your neighbour (Leviticus 19:13).
- Take advantage of the disabled (Leviticus 19:14).
- Show favouritism to anyone (Leviticus 19:15).
- Spread gossip or hearsay (Leviticus 19:16).
- Hold secret grudges or brood on ways you can get back at your neighbor or countryman (Leviticus 19:17-18).

What observable everyday behaviors. Though Christ's sacrifice has fulfilled the Mosaic law so that we no longer carry out the Old Testament ceremonial dos and don'ts on this list, I would submit that at least five items on the "Do list and every item on the "Don't" list  still apply to us in our setting today (not as a way to gain salvation, but as a way to live in harmony with God and people).

A sidebar article in my Bible about holiness sums it up well:

"When God commands us to be holy even as He is holy, He is simply calling us to let Him do through us what He does in and of Himself (1 Peter 1:15-16). God is absolutely "abandoned" to the purpose of manifesting the beauty of His character. This is not petty arrogance or egocentrism on God's part for the essence of God is that He always selflessly gives...It is the clear call to make the ultimate choice of abandoning ourselves to that one purpose: to let God be God through us — engulfed in the flames of holiness, yet wondrously released from all other competing affections." - Stphen Fry, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 155-156.

PRAYER: Holy God, please tutor me in the ways of holy living in my circumstances. Help me to make holy choices in the multitude of decisions that I will face today. Amen.

MORE: "Holy" by Nichole Nordeman

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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  1. To be set apart, fit and ready for His use - I love John 17:17 "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth." He gave us His word to make us fit to live for Him. We are blessed.

  2. Wonderful verse, Mary! Thank you for reminding me of it today.


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