Holiness of the Priests
Open Your Bible
Leviticus 21:1-24, Leviticus 22:1-33, Psalm 15:1-2, 1 Peter 2:9
BY Vina Mogg
Some of us were born for lists. Others of us have a more difficult time checking off the boxes.
In these chapters of Leviticus, we see the mind of God as He gives very clearly defined lists of what is appropriate to live before a holy God. We are given exhaustive details of what affects holy living. What defiles holy living. What profanes His name. Some of these details are plain common sense, such as protecting His people from disease. Others at first seem petty and controlling.These lists in Leviticus seem impossible. Especially if you are one of those people, like me, overwhelmed by lists. Why are these lists even necessary?
I remember in the early days of my faith when I first read through the book of Leviticus, I thought, Why would anyone want to follow a God like this? There are too many rules.
At the end of these two chapters in Leviticus, God states the reason why.
“You are to keep my commands and do them; I am the LORD. You must not profane my holy name; I must be treated as holy among the Israelites. I am the LORD who sets you apart, the one who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD.”
“I am the LORD who sets you apart.” God is God. He is set apart from us. Other than us. These comprehensive lists contrast His holiness to our shortcomings. Because He is holy, He requires specific measures for us to approach Him. Because He is set apart, He desires us to live set apart, different from the world surrounding us.
These lists reveal His hope for His people to be set apart, to reflect His holy nature as image bearers. Through these enumerated lists that seem impossible to keep, He was outlining the promise of the covenant relationship He longed for between us. A tender relationship between a holy God and a fallen people. A relationship of contrast. A relationship of grace.
Despite our fallen nature, in Christ we are a chosen “people for His possession” designed to proclaim His praises for the mighty deeds He has done (1Peter 2:9). He called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. These impossible lists emphasize the impossibility that a God this powerful and holy would desire to have a relationship with us. He does. And the way we live, set apart for Him, will proclaim this relationship to the world.