May 12, Sunday

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“The God of Holiness”

Exodus 26:31-35

“And you shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. It shall be made with cherubim skillfully worked into it. 32 And you shall hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, with hooks of gold, on four bases of silver. 33 And you shall hang the veil from the clasps, and bring the ark of the testimony in there within the veil. And the veil shall separate for you the Holy Place from the Most Holy. 34 You shall put the mercy seat on the ark of the testimony in the Most Holy Place. 35 And you shall set the table outside the veil, and the lampstand on the south side of the tabernacle opposite the table, and you shall put the table on the north side.

The word “holy” is one of those words that most Americans find offensive and unattractive.  When we label someone as holy, we often associated with words like “self-righteous, weirdly religious, or judgmental”.  But when we look at Scripture, holiness is something we cannot avoid especially when we look at the character of God. So what is holiness?   John Piper defines it like this:

“When we say that God is holy we mean that, along with the immeasurableness of his greatness, his character is unimpeachable. He cannot be charged with any wrong. He has an infinite love for what is infinitely valuable and an infinite hate for what opposes the infinitely valuable. His delight in praiseworthy things is unbounded, and his abhorrence of what is blameworthy is perfect.”

Today, as we look at the Tabernacle in detail, we are introduced to the Most Holy Place where the Ark of the Covenant was to be placed.  One main thing God wanted His people to see was that the tabernacle was a piece of Heaven on earth. Heaven is where God is; so when God came to live with His people, He brought Heaven down with Him.  The tabernacle was the one place in the entire world where people could enter God’s presence; however, there was no way for them to get into the Holy Place! Only priests were allowed to enter because of the holiness of God.  This was designed to show the supreme holiness of God – that there is none other and that He is set apart. And because of God’s holiness, He has to punish sin, which is why the Israelites had to be separated from Him in order to spare them of additional punishments they so deserved.  In this sense, separation was an act of God’s mercy!

What does this mean for us?  First, it means that we should “fear the Lord” (Deut. 6:2).  A healthy fear of the Lord means that we are in awe of Him and that we desire to live our lives to please Him.  Our God is a loving God, but He is also holy, and certainly not like us. It means having a high view of God, which results in not sinning against Him.  

Second, it means we should be “holy has He is holy” (Leviticus 11:44).   Our desire is to be like Him in character, purity, and righteousness. We are not called to blend into world but live set apart.  Our lives should look distinct and counter-cultural from our co-workers, neighbors and non-believing family members. It does not mean we isolate ourselves from the world, but, as we engage with the world, we should look different in light of God’s holiness.         

Prayer:   Lord, we thank You that through the Cross, we can now have access to our Heavenly Father.  Help us to live holy lives that honor You and make a difference in our world. Amen.  

Bible Reading for Today: 2 Corinthians 13

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