Holiness everywhere, all the time
Leviticus 19: Be holy because I, God, your God, am holy.
This phrase is a repeated in several other places in the Books of Law. Here, it comes just before a rundown of how to live that includes everything from “no idols” to “no gossip.” This command appears along with items like how to plant one’s crops, how to cut one’s hair, and a warning against getting tattoos. It’s intriguing to see this call to holiness from a holy God surrounded by all these mundane concerns. Clearly, the Lord wants his holiness to be found in the lives of his people and not just when the High Priest enters into the Holy of Holies or when Moses ascends the shaking Mount Sinai. As I see obvious cultural concerns along with universal moral issues all being thrown into the mix together and then am told that the underlying concern in all of it is holiness I realize just how wrong it is to confine holiness to a small area of the Tabernacle. God is calling his people to apply their relationship with him to not only how they conduct worship in the new Tent of Meeting but also how they live their everyday lives. That’s a message I need today. After all, part time holiness isn’t much holiness at all.
Take Away: Living a holy life has as much to do with what happens outside the church as it does what happens inside it.
God’s agenda isn’t a secret
Ezekiel 20: I, God, am in the business of making them holy.
Through Ezekiel, the Lord recounts the history of his dealings with the people of Israel. We’re reminded of the Exodus from Egypt and Moses going up on the mountain for an encounter with the Almighty. A result of that meeting is the Law. They now have Ten Commandments to live by and soon there’s an entire body of Law to go with them. In the passage before me today the Lord tells their descendants his purpose in all of that. He did it as a part of his project to make them holy. From the beginning and down through the centuries the Lord has continued to work to that end. As he speaks through Ezekiel we find that God’s purpose has not been watered down or diverted. In this passage, the Lord tells them that the whole “Sabbath day” approach was for this purpose, part of his grand plan. This message is addressed to another generation that insists on resisting the Lord and the result is his rejecting them, erasing many lines that have been drawn, and nearly erasing them from the face of the earth. What’s next? The answer is obvious: it’s God’s purpose. Their failure doesn’t change his purpose for them. In new ways and with a new generation the Lord will return to the “business of making them holy.” As he said to their ancestors, “Be holy because I am holy.” I’m reminded today of just how committed God is to this business of holiness. As one of his people, I want to cooperate with his purposes for me and for the entire human race.
Take Away: The Lord is in the business of making people holy.