May 25, Saturday

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“It’s About the Heart”

Exodus 30:17-21

Then the Lord said to Moses, 18 “Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it.19 Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet with water from it.20 Whenever they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting a food offering to the Lord, 21 they shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants for the generations to come.”

When I was a teenager, I had bouts of rebellious tendencies where I would lie to my mom to get my way.  Most times I felt I had to lie because I thought that she would not understand, or she would impose her own way.  One afternoon, I lied to my mom that I was hanging out at the local Barnes and Noble, when in fact, I went to go watch a movie with my friends.  When I came home after my rebellious hangout, I went to greet my mom and noticed she had been crying. She did her best to act normal and hide it, but I knew something was wrong.  After asking me to sit down, she proceeded to tell me that she knew where I was. As I attempted to justify myself, she stopped me to ask one question: “Did you lie or did you not lie?”  Of course, I avoided answering the question and proceeded to justify myself again. However, she stopped me mid-sentence to ask me the same question. All I could do at that point was say, “Yes I lied.”  As she looked at me, she said, “I’m not mad. I’m upset because something in your heart made you feel like you had to do the wrong thing to get something you felt was the right thing.”

In today’s passage, we read the next command of priestly duties that consists of a ceremonial washing before entering the tent.  They are told that any priest who fails to follow this command will surely die. This washing was to remind the Aaronic priests the holiness that God required for their service.

Throughout the New Testament, we see this ceremonial washing come up numerous times by the Pharisees who insisted that before every meal there should be a ceremonial washing.  In fact, in Mark 7 it states that the Pharisees were surprised to see that Jesus and his disciples did not hold the ceremonial washing tradition before eating, and they questioned Jesus.  Jesus’ response turns the table on the Pharisees, calling them hypocrites who hold on to human traditions (v.8). Then he adds, “Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them.  Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them” (v.15). This is to say, while we are called to holiness like the Aaronic priests, true holiness comes when our hearts and thoughts are pure before the Lord and free of “sexual immortality, theft, murder, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, folly” (v.12-22).

I lied to my mom that day because I felt that she wouldn’t understand me, so I portrayed myself the way I thought she wanted me to be – a good, studious daughter.  But my mom’s desire was to see her daughter live in integrity regardless of the circumstances. In the same way, God does not demand worldly perfection or wants us to present ourselves in the version we believe He wants, but He desires for our heart to be made right so that we may live in the fullness of His plan and purpose for our lives. Take some time to reflect on your heart today.  Is there anything that is defiling your heart? Bring it to the Lord and let His blood, which was shed to forgive our sins, wash you and redeem you.

Prayer: God I thank You that Your work on the cross has sanctified me once and for all.  I pray that You would help me to live a life governed by a pure heart—a heart that seeks to honor You, honors others, and honors my body. In Jesus name.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 14-15

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