Tag Archives: holy

Isaiah 6:1-7

Scripture: from verse 3

More holy than the holiest holiness
is AdonaiTzva’ot [Lord of Armies]!

Observation:  Holy means set apart, and different, and other.  It means outside the box.  It means not in the normal category.

And then there’s God, who is so far beyond apart and different and other that we don’t even have words for it.  All we can say is that He’s beyond everything else we don’t understand.  God is Not Like Us.

Which is just as well, really.  The Greeks and Romans had gods who were like us, and as a result they all kept getting turned into things or cursed or saddled with ridiculous wars because some prince or other was an idiot.  (Paris, I’m looking at you.)  We may fear God, but at least we don’t have to fear the pettiness and resentment that a powerful human would inflict.

But we should fear God.  Because we don’t understand Him, so we can’t control of manipulate or bargain with Him.  He calls all the shots and makes all the rules.  There is no higher power or rulebook to appeal to, because He is the Higher Power.

We are blessed, then, that He bends the rules in our favor.  That He has made promise after promise to bless us and give us life.  There’s no greater power for Him to promise by, of course, but He promised by Himself (Hebrews 6).

We don’t understand God.  We can’t control Him.  But we don’t have to.  He blesses us anyway.

Application:  Don’t assume you’ve got God figured out. You don’t.

Prayer:  Father, I praise you for being far beyond what I can imagine or understand.  Help me to keep from making assumptions about what you want and how you work.  Thank you for blessing me and keeping me safe and teaching me truth beyond what I could figure out on my own.  Amen.

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Colossians 3:21-25

Scripture: verse 24

Remember that as your reward, you will receive the inheritance from the Lord. You are slaving for the Lord, for the Messiah.

Observation:  Paul’s advice to slaves is not to rebel or attempt to gain their freedom.  It is to decide that everything they do is done for the Lord, rather than for their masters.

In Leviticus I noticed that God says that we are His slaves.  He bought us, and we belong to Him.  We cannot be slaves because we already are.

God owns me.  He will not share me or sell me and no one can do anything to me without His permission, because I am His property.  He is my authority and He has my reward.  Other people are kind of irrelevant, really.  They don’t own me and He does.  That His orders line up with their wishes a lot of the time is His problem, not mine.

There’s a lot of danger in that.  If I do something wrong for a human, it’s not a big deal because they’re human too.  But God isn’t human.  He is Other.  He is Holy.

But there’s safety in it as well.  Because God has not chosen to treat me as a slave or a servant.  He has chosen to treat me as a daughter.  My mistakes are covered before I even make them.

And whether I make mistakes or not, I am protected.  He is in charge of making decisions, and I don’t have to rely on my own limited understanding.  Sometimes we make decisions together, but I’m still under His protection.  He protects me and feeds me and gives me exactly what I need to be free.

Application:  Trust God.  Work for Him.

Prayer:  Father, thank you for making me yours.  Thank you for making me your slave and your daughter and your pet project.  Help me to trust in your protection.  Amen.

Leviticus 27:22-34

Scripture: from verse 29

No person who has been sentenced to die, and thus unconditionally consecrated, can be redeemed; he must be put to death.

Observation:  Something that was unconditionally consecrated was holy to Adonai; it could not be redeemed or sold or otherwise un-consecrated.  This included people sentenced to death for crimes against God or the community.

When we were discussing God’s commanded wholesale slaughter of various people groups in the Old Testament, my mom once pointed out that God wasn’t necessarily condemning them all.  He was simply making it so He could deal with those people individually.  By preserving His plan for His people, He made it possible to offer grace to those people through Yeshua, the culmination of that plan.

What we see is not all there is.  Executing criminals also meant putting them in God’s hands, where they could be dealt with with perfect justice and perfect love.

Obviously today we don’t go around stoning people.  But we can acknowledge that God is dealing with people and we can’t always see it.  Sometimes we are called to leave others to Him.  We want to teach and correct and remind and push, but that may not be what we’re called to do.  Other people are also holy to God, and we should let Him deal with their faults in His time and in His way.

And the truth is that we too are condemned to die.  We were dead in our sin (Eph 2) and had no hope.  We are unconditionally consecrated to God.  And we cannot be sold or transferred, because we are especially holy to Him.  He has plans for us.

Application:  Trust God to be teaching others.  Let Him teach you.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for making it possible for me to have grace.  Thank you for making me holy.  Help me to trust your plans.  Amen.

Leviticus 16:18-34

Scripture: verse 23

Aharon is to go back into the tent of meeting, where he is to remove the linen garments he put on when he entered the Holy Place, and he is to leave them there.

Observation:  The High Priest went into the Holy Place once a year, to make atonement for all of Israel.  He had to wash himself in a holy place and put on holy linen clothing before entering, and when he came out he had to disrobe and leave the clothes in the tent of meeting, before taking another bath and going out to rejoin the people.  (While he was in the Holy Place people were banned from the tent of meeting, so no one saw him wandering around naked.  I imagine one of the women collected the clothes later for washing, but it doesn’t actually say.)

We don’t normally take our clothes off the very instant we can do so.  We normally wait until we get to our bedrooms and can hang them up and put on something else.  If we take our clothes off the minute we walk through the door, it usually means that our clothes are very dirty, very uncomfortable, or both.  We take them off because we can’t wait any longer.

The priest’s clothes weren’t dirty (well, I guess they had some blood on them, from the sacrifices), but they were uncomfortable, because they were holy.  Humans aren’t very good at being holy.  We can sort of manage it for a little while, if we are only interacting with God, but as soon as the world presses in, we lose it.

In Yeshua, we’ve been declared holy.  We’ve been made into something other than what we are.  And it’s not always comfortable.  It’s not always easy.  But it’s still true.

Application:  Be holy, as He is holy.  It’s not actually possible, so we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us and Yeshua’s grace to cover our mistakes.  And we watch for God to fulfill His promises of blessing.

Prayer:  God, thank you for making me holy.  I can’t accomplish much on my own, so thank you for accomplishing it for me.  Amen.

Leviticus 10:12-20

Scripture: verse 16

Then Moshe carefully investigated what had happened to the goat of the sin offering and discovered that it had been burned up. He became angry with El‘azar and Itamar, the remaining sons of Aharon…

Observation:  So we had the sacrifices to consecrate the priests, and then the priests were sent into the tabernacle to hang out with God for a while, and two of them did something stupid and prideful and got killed for their trouble, and Moses dealt with the bodies…and went right back to checking up on the sacrifices.  Which had also been screwed up.  (Most of the goat was supposed to be eaten.)

Which seems kinda hard-nosed, really.  We don’t typically expect people who recently lost a close relative to function normally, especially when the death was sudden and unexpected and traumatic, as this was.  Admittedly Moses had instructed them not to mourn, but after all, they’re only human.  (That was pretty much Aaron’s defense when Moses got angry, actually.  Moses accepted it.)

For that matter, Moses just lost his nephews, though admittedly being raised in Pharaoh’s court probably meant he wasn’t as close to them.

I’m not sure which direction to take this.  I don’t know whether Moses was being too demanding or not.  On the one hand, we are called to be holy and that means not being normal.  On the other hand, we’re only human, and Moses maybe needed to recognize that.

Really I think those are both true.  We are called to be holy, and that’s a standard we cannot reach.  But God loves us, and knows our weaknesses, and that’s why He gave us a way to be holy anyway.  Yeshua is the Way to the Father.  We can’t get there otherwise.

Application:  Strive to be holy – and also cut yourself some slack.  Most of all, rely on Yeshua’s righteousness and not your own.  His is better anyway.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for being the Way for me.  Thank you for lifting me up when I fall down.  Amen.

Leviticus 6:1-11

Note: it appears the CJB may be using a non-standard verse numbering.  Or, more likely, the traditional Jewish and Christian chapter divisions are different and it follows the Jewish one.  At any rate, I am consistently using the Complete Jewish Bible.

Scripture: from verse 9

It is to be eaten without leaven in a holy place — they are to eat it in the courtyard of the tent of meeting.

Observation: Grain offerings, which are a form of voluntary worship, were not entirely burned up.  A handful was burned, along with all the incense included, and the rest was eaten by the priests as part of God’s provision for them.  But the fact that God gave it to them did not mean they could do with it as they pleased.  They had to be holy when they ate it.

God has given Hero and me a ton of blessings, especially financial blessings.  But we are not free to do whatever we want with them.  We have to use them the way God tells us to.  It’s part of being His child.

Holy means different, other, even alien.  It means not normal, not natural.  God’s gifts aren’t meant to be used in the ways that seem normal and natural to us at first glance.  That means different things in different contexts, but it’s always wise to seek His guidance in how to use things.  So we do.

In reality, it’s probably just as well.  I recently read Happy Money, which explores what spending decisions make people happiest.  What was interesting was how counter-intuitive our happiness is.  People were rarely able to predict what decisions would make them happiest after the money was spent.

So when God tells us to use our blessings in ways that don’t make sense to us – when He pushes us to invest in others, to spend time doing things we wouldn’t have expected, to eat unleavened bread in the holy place – it’s probably because He loves us.  And He loves us too much to miss the opportunity of making us happy.

Application:  Pray before spending, whether spending time or money or energy or whatever else He has given you.  God has a plan, and His plan gives you a future and a hope.  Follow it.

Prayer: Father, thank you for guiding us.  Thank you for blessing us and teaching us to bless others.  Help me to follow you closely and trust you implicitly.  Help me to be other.  Amen.