[Author’s note: I wrote this blog almost 3 years ago. Today I read something profound that is relevant to this post that I will share with you now. “They [The Jews] codified the Law, adding to it 613 statutes: 365 negative statutes and 248 positive ones. They felt adhering to these they would have kept the Law. Thus, they believed God would be obligated to grant the, entrance into His kingdom.” Kay Arthur, Lord I Need Grace to Make It]
Today’s blog is about being set apart. I am reading my “read through the Bible” Bible where each day you get an Old Testament and New Testament a Psalm and a Proverb and ideally if you keep up you will have read the entire Bible by the end of the year.
Well I have tried this each year since 2003. This year is going well so far but it’s only been 2 months. Anyhow…
My OT portion is currently Leviticus. I have never spent much time studying this book because a. I am not Jewish b. my perception has been that these “rules” and “regs” do not apply to today’s Christian living.
But now that I am trying to be faithful to read through the Bible I have found myself reading some very strange things. In Leviticus, God lays down the instructions for how the Jewish people can be Holy or “set apart”. All these laws about what is clean and unclean, how to be clean if you are found unclean, how to avoid being unclean, and how many various offerings and sacrifices are available for those who seek “cleaning” and on it goes.
What does this mean? Why do we need to know how to cut up the Bull and Sprinkle the blood on the alter if we don’t need to make those sorts of sacrifices today?
We know that Jesus death on the cross satisfied the need for all those sacrifices. We know that the temple foundation cracked and the curtain protecting the holy of holies was torn in two. So there isn’t any doubt that the rules don’t apply today, right? Or do they?
Does anyone else see that sometimes “society” will pick and choose which of these Old Testament rules are applicable today? Some we rally gladly behind (like the verses about abstaining from homosexual and incest relations) and others we say… well that only applied during that time (like do not wear clothing woven of two kind of materials– hello cotton/polyester blend!!!)
I mean when I read Lev. 19:36 “Use honest scales and weights” I think to myself — yea that makes sense that applies and if someone doesn’t use honest scales and weights they wont please the Lord…. but then when I read another verse above that in Lev. 19:33-35 “When an alien lives with you in your land do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native born. Love him as yourself for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. ” And I watch (church going) folks I know (in this country) who are so flaming mad about all the aliens from Central America living among them, I wonder why they accept the verse about honest weights and measures yet they don’t accept the aliens among them.
FOR THE LOVE…. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!
Well, the best I can tell is that God wants Christians to be markedly DIFFERENT from non-Christians. He wants those who don’t know him to see us,(his followers, his children,) and to see a reflection of Him. We know Jesus is the only perfect man, but shouldn’t we strive to be Holy as God is Holy?
“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.
Leviticus 20:23-25, 26
23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24 But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations.
25 ” ‘You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those which I have set apart as unclean for you. 26 You are to be holy to me [a] because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.
Over and over again – I think I counted about 16 times in Leviticus alone – God says to the people, “I am the Lord.”
God is God. God became man in the person of Jesus, dwelt among us, died for us, conquered death, and rose again, and is seated at the right hand of God in heaven. And better yet…. As Todd said Sunday night at Frontline… the folks in the OT did not have God IN them because the Holy Spirit hadn’t come yet. As Christians God isn’t just “with us” God is IN US. So if we really believe that God is IN US (and the Bible says that the Spirit of God inhabits those who believe) then shouldn’t we strive to be Holy as those set apart for God’s glory?
One Comment Add yours
Wow! Talk about something amazing. I was just doing a web search for “set apart” for our confirmation retreat. I was directed to your blog. And then I looked at the picture in the right hand column and I thought “I know that man!” Isn’t that amazing! It is like running into a neighbor at an airport in Beijing!