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boy giving dog a bath February 22 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 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 home before curfew. As adults, God also wants us to stay clean because we can get into trouble. We may return to a sinful lifestyle from which we were saved, be influenced by bad friends or places, or we may be tempted to return to some addiction. We need to establish godly habits like Bible reading, prayer, going to church, and ministering to others. We also need to find better places to hang out and make sure our good friends are committed Christians. It is also a good idea to have accountability partners. With these new habits we can avoid slipping back into destructive and abusive habits and experience the continual blessing of the Lord. What else can we do?

As a newly delivered people of God with a tabernacle, government, and worship rituals, The LORD makes covenant treaties with the Israelites. These comprise a long list of do’s and don’ts that they are 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 does 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 still take ox, lambs, and goats and sacrifice them in the fields to a goat god (Leviticus 17:7). Therefore, God tells them to bring all their sacrifices to the tabernacle to worship only Him. If they do not do this, they will be cut off from the assembly of Israel. This may mean they will 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 doing sinful things in the past? Why not bring those resources to be used by a gospel preaching church or donate them to another Christian charity?

Second, God wants the Israelites to respect life. God appoints 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 is not to be eaten. And, if any wild animal is hunted for food, they are to drain out the blood and cover it with earth before the animal is cooked and eaten. If they do not obey this directive, again they face the penalty of being cut off. In the New Testament time of Jesus, his blood is shed as a substitutionary sacrifice for all people (1Corinthians 11:23-29). We need to respect the blood of Christ which is shed for us to atone (make amends) for our sins (Hebrews 9:11-14).

Leviticus 18-20 details issues of unlawful sexual relations, dishonor, idolatry, and how God wants the Israelites to deal with them in holiness. These are 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 says 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 Israelites that if they do these things, the land will also vomit them out. If, however, they and any aliens among them keep the decrees of the LORD, they will 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 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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