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41 “Every swarming thing that swarms on the ground is detestable; it shall not be eaten. 42 Whatever goes on its belly, and whatever goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet, any swarming thing that swarms on the ground, you shall not eat, for they are detestable. 43 You shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that swarms, and you shall not defile yourselves with them, and become unclean through them. 44 For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. 45 For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
46 This is the law about beast and bird and every living creature that moves through the waters and every creature that swarms on the ground, 47 to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean and between the living creature that may be eaten and the living creature that may not be eaten.
- God required men to be holy inside as well as outside. For outside cleanness may cultivate inner holiness.
- Ch 11-15 are a manual of Purity, which include verses of this chapter, to remind us of the covenantal context and the call to holiness.
- When I was a new Christian I became involved in a little Baptist church that took an approach to Christian faith that was similar to Israel’s separation laws. We had lists of things that a Christian should and should not do; things that set us apart from others. Teens carried red-covered Bibles to high school. None of us went to movies, smoked, danced, drank alcohol, or uttered a cuss word. We all came to church two times on Sunday and on Wednesday nights as well.
Despite what some may think, it wasn’t a burden for me to live by those rules. I followed them joyfully, for in that same church I found warmth, acceptance, nurture, enthusiasm, commitment, fervent prayer, and an honest caring for one another as well as for the eternal destiny of our neighbors.
It was only later that I came to realize the truth. Our very real “separation” wasn’t defined by the do’s and don’ts at all. What really made us different and set us apart as a true community of God’s people on earth was the warmth, the caring, and the commitment that we shared as we met to love Jesus and each other.
The death of Jesus canceled the regulations that governed Israel, and made them irrelevant for us today. But God’s people are still supposed to be different, set apart from all others. And the difference God truly cares about is a difference marked by the love, the caring, and the commitment I experienced in that first church I joined, so long ago. (Larry Richards)
- What kind of a “separated” believer am I? What is my church’s “separated” mark?
Oh, Lord, I long for such faith community. Help me and everyone at my church so that we will be “marked by the love, the caring, and the commitment” and be different from those around us. Make our church such a “separated” community that Your name will be manifested and many will be drawn to You.