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boy giving dog a bath February 22 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Leviticus 17, 18, 19, 20

Staying Clean; a practical guide to holiness

Dogs seem impossible to keep clean, and we may feel that way about children. In vain we instruct children after cleaning them up: “Now don’t get your dress dirty,” or “Now don’t you get any grass stains on those new jeans.” We want them to stay clean. When we have teenagers we may tell them to make sure they have good friends, don’t get into trouble, and come back before curfew. As adults, God also wants us to stay clean because we can get into trouble. Sometimes we return to a sinful lifestyle from which we were saved. Sometimes we are influenced by bad friends or places. Sometimes we are tempted to return to some addiction. We may need to establish new habits, new places, new friends, and accountability partners so that we do not slip back into destructive and abusive habits.

In Israel’s day, God made covenant treaties with her with a long list of do’s and don’ts that the Israelites were to keep to stay clean or holy. In our day, signing a commitment paper to refrain from certain things and to do other things for the glory of the LORD would be a good way to help us stay spiritually clean. Today many people do not like commitments, but commitments that are Biblical are pleasing to God. What commitments did the Lord require of Israel?

First, God wants to be worshipped as the one and only God. The people of Israel carried some of their old sinful culture with them when they were delivered from Egypt. They took ox, lambs, and goats and sacrificed them in the fields to a goat god (Leviticus 17:7). Therefore, God told them to bring all their sacrifices to the tabernacle to worship only Him. If they did not do that then they would be cut off from the assembly of Israel. This may mean they would have to leave the camp (17:9) or possibly be killed (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament by Walvoord and Zuck, © 1985, p. 199). Have we spent our resources for sinful things in the past? Why not bring those resources to church or donate them to another Christian charity?

Second, God wanted the Israelites to respect life. God appointed the blood of acceptable domesticated animals to atone for the life of the Israelites. Therefore, since the blood of the animal gives it life, it was not to be eaten. And, if any wild animal was hunted for food, they had to drain out the blood and cover it with earth before the animal was cooked and eaten. If they did not obey this directive, again they would face the penalty of being cut off. In the New Testament time of Jesus, his blood was shed as substitutionary sacrifice for our lives (1Corinthians 11:23-29). We need to respect the blood of Christ which was shed for us to atone for our sins (Hebrews 9:11-14).

Leviticus 18-20 details issues of unlawful sexual relations, dishonor, idolatry, and how God wanted the Israelites to deal with them in holiness. These were some of the stipulations for the covenant treaty. If we don’t want to be influenced by our culture, then we must make decisions ahead of time for how we will deal with moral issues. God said to Moses,

“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the LORD your God.

You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.

You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God.

Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD.’” (Leviticus 18:2-5, NIV)

Do we want to stay clean? There must be commitments made, and they must be done for the right reasons (or should we say the right person, the LORD). It was for despicable moral behavior that, in a metaphoric way, the land vomited wicked nations out of Canaan, the Promised Land. That is another way of God saying that he got sick of their wickedness and got rid of them. God warns the children of Israel that if they do these things, the land will also vomit them out. If, however, the Israelites and aliens among them were to keep the decrees of God, they would live prosperously in the land (Leviticus 20:22-24). Similarly, if we are to stay clean before God, we must obey him. We must not trample on the grace of God by living immorally. We must live holy (clean) lives before our God to experience his blessings.

Lessons to live by:

  • God must be worshipped first of all. Have we spent our resources for sinful things in the past? Why not bring those resources to church or donate them to another Christian charity?
  • Respect the blood of Christ which was shed for us to atone for our sins. He gives us forgiveness of our sins, peace and spiritual life (more...)
  • In order to stay clean there must be commitments made, and they must be done for the right reason (for the LORD).
  • We must not trample on the grace of God by living immorally. We must live holy (clean) lives before our God to experience his blessings.

Today’s Bible memory verse:

Leviticus 20:26 “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.” (NIV)

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