Leviticus 20:22-22:16; Mark 9:1-29; Psalm 43:1-5; Proverbs 10:18
Holiness. That is the subject of our reading today. Holiness for the people. Holiness for the high priest. The holiness of Jesus displayed in his transfiguration. And even the holiness needed to cast an evil spirit out of a young boy.
The Hebrew word for holiness in Leviticus 20 is ‘qados’ or ‘qades’ (The NIV Exhaustive Concordance). Though it is used often in the Old Testament, somehow we feel uncomfortable with the concept of being ‘holy.'
It’s a scary concept.
Because we know we aren’t.
Here the text describes the example the high priests must set for the people of what it means to be set apart from the local people in the land where the nation is going to settle. They are not to adopt the wicked practices of the local people but instead choose to be distinct from them; “you are to be holy to me, because I, the Lord, am holy and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own” (Lev. 20:26). And the word ‘holy’ appears 4 times in just one verse—Leviticus 21:8. Clearly, this separation, this being set apart, is important to God. And in Leviticus 21:1, the Lord declares that His Name is holy and that He (vs. 16) is the One who makes the offerings holy.
In Mark, we see the awesome holiness of Jesus as He is transfigured before Peter, James and John. Dazzling white clothing portrays the idea of ultimate purity, ultimate holiness.
The psalm writer says, “Send for your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain” (Ps. 43:3). The place where God ‘dwells’ is holy because He is there.
The Lord will always require that his people be a holy people, but we learned through the failure of Israel to obey the covenant that it can’t be done in human power. It’s not a scary truth, but it is an awesome truth. Holiness is conferred on us as we let God’s light and His truth guide us. As Peter says, “Be holy, for I am holy” (I Pet. 1:16); his words are based on Leviticus 20:7 from yesterday’s reading.
Thank you, Lord, for your holiness. We have none of our own to offer You, but we accept Your holiness as part of Your gift of salvation.
- Nell Sunukjian
How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you.