Today’s Reading: Leviticus 20-27
Ever skip over the book of Leviticus when reading the Bible? It’s tempting, I agree. I am so thankful for what God reminds us of through the book of Leviticus. The long list of requirements reminds me that I serve a God who is in the details. I serve a holy God who requires holy living, but also equips and supplies us with HIS holiness. Praise God!
So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who MAKES YOU HOLY. – Leviticus 20:7-8
So the Lord God, who requires us to be holy, makes us holy. He clearly lays out his expectations of holy living and what it looks like to obediently follow his commands, but He knows we cannot make ourselves holy. It takes the hand of the Almighty to reach down and do something in our lives as we submit our will to Him. Then God gets the glory for our life of holiness – HIS holiness is on display and not our own efforts to be perfect.
You must faithfully keep all my commands by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord. Do not bring shame on my holy name, for I will display my holiness among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who MAKES YOU HOLY. It was I who rescued you from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. I am the Lord.” – Leviticus 22:31-33
Chapter after chapter of Leviticus lays out the requirements of God for the people of Israel – requirements of how to worship, how to make sacrifices and how to life their daily life. God instructed them on how to live in relationship with a holy God and how to live in relationship with others. Just as we learned in Exodus, God’s command is clear – to love God also requires that we love others. Our love for Him must be evident in our treatment of others – His holiness on display.
Act with justice, speaking up for others (5:1).
Don’t take advantage of one another (25:14).
Help those who have fallen into poverty (25:25,35).
Be generous towards the poor:
“When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 23:22
More than 2000 years later, the apostle Peter reminded God’s people again of God’s call to holiness. Just as God commanded in the book of Leviticus, Peter taught the same connection between holy living out of love for God and holy living displayed in our love for others.
So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”…For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God….You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. – 1 Peter 1:14-22
The God-required response to our salvation is to love each other. Our salvation is not just about us. We were not saved to live focused on ourselves but we were saved to focus on God in obedience and love. We were called to holy living and that call includes living a life of love and kindness toward others. That is what God required of the people of Israel in Leviticus, that is what God required of the Jewish Christians to whom Peter wrote, and that is what God requires of us today.
…you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
“Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” – 1 Peter 2:9-10
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that GOD SUPPLIES. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. – 1 Peter 4:8-11
Our holy God, who calls us to be holy, will make us holy. What He is asking us to do, He will equip us to do. He will give us spiritual gifts and He will supply us with the strength and energy we need to do what He is asking us to do. Why? So that our lives will bring glory to Him. That is my desire this morning – to live a life of obedience, letting God come in and MAKE ME HOLY for His glory and for His purposes. Lord, this is my prayer!