Monday, March 1, 2010

Daily Bible Reading - March 1 - Holiness is Serious Business

While it is easy to be overwhelmed by the many laws and statutes in Leviticus, there is certainly no mystery as to why God gave those laws.
  • Lev. 11:44 - For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.
  • Lev. 11:45 - You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
  • Lev. 19:2 - Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy."
  • Lev. 20:7 - Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God.
  • Lev. 20:26 - You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.
  • Lev. 21:8 - You shall sanctify him, for he offers the bread of your God. He shall be holy to you, for I, the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy.
All of ordinances that God gave Israel were rooted in His own holiness, and His desire for a holy people.

At its root, holiness refers to being separate (notice 20:26 again). God is holy in two senses. He is separate from creation because He is creator, and is fundamentally different from the creation as one who is self-existent and infinite. In His very being God is holy (sometimes theologians refer to this as God's ontological holiness). And God is also separate from every creature because He is sinless, whereas we are all sinners. This is God's ethical holiness.

While we can never be holy as God is holy in the absolute sense, Leviticus clearly demonstrates that God does intend for us to pursue holiness in who we are and what we do, so that we can be like Him. And to illustrate that point, Moses included two narratives in Leviticus: the story of Nadab and Abihu in Lev. 10:1-7, and the story of the blasphemer in today's reading (Lev. 24:10-23). In each case, God's holiness was slighted. In Lev. 10 the sons of Aaron offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, angering the God whose will is that "among those who are near me I will be sanctified" (10:3). And in Lev. 24 the son of Shelomith cursed God and blasphemed the Name.

If we don't remember anything else from Leviticus, we should remember those two simple stories. God is holy, and we must respect that and emulate that if we want to be accepted by Him. "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14).

No comments:

Post a Comment