The Lord was teaching His people to distinguish between the clean and the unclean. He went through lengths to explain what they could and could not eat, telling them what animals and insects were clean or unclean. The reason was that His people were different from other people, they had been set apart to be His. The unique relationship demanded the kind of conduct that would reflect on God’s character and nature. They also owed it to the Lord who had given them salvation. Who He is and what He has done are the grounds for God’s people to be set apart and live holy lives.
The first motivation for us to be holy is who God is. He is holy and we are to be like Him. The psalmist praises God for His mercy over us. His anger lasts only for a moment but His favor and mercy last a lifetime. All His children have experienced His grace even in very difficult times. Weeping may stay for the night but rejoicing comes in the morning. With God, there is always hope for a new day. The more we experience Him, the more we want to be like Him. The more we get close to His presence, the more our desire to live a holy life. When Isaiah met God in the temple, his life was no longer the same.
The second motivation is the work of the Lord. The psalmist recounted how the Lord has saved him, lifted him out of the depths and did not let his enemies gloat over him. God had helped him, healed him and brought him up from the realm of the dead. He had spared him from going down to the pit. For the Israelites, the Lord is the One who brought them out of Egypt and out of slavery. They were to be holy because their Savior was holy.
A holy God cannot stand uncleanness, He judges sin and all unrighteousness. As His children, we must be able to distinguish what pleases Him and what does not. This is the basis on which we approach God. Sin is terrible, it not only invites God’s wrath, it is also highly toxic and spreads quickly to others. In the Old Testament, if a person touches something unclean, he would become unclean. Jesus uses the power of the yeast to describe the spread of sin. The eating of unleavened bread and to rid the house of yeast was performed during the Passover as a reminder of God’s holiness.
Holiness is the gauge of our spiritual lives. The more we are like God, the holier we would be. The psalmist praises God for who He is and what He has done in his life. Both can bring in the presence of God in our lives and remind us to live holy lives. Do you have a regular time of coming before God and praise Him? Do you know His Word so that you may distinguish what is clean and what is unclean in God’s eyes? Go now and praise God for who He is and what He has done for you.
Ps 30:1-5 Lev 11:1-12:8 Mark 5:21-43 Prov 10:8-9