Be Separated from the Peoples

*Old Testament Reading:  Leviticus 19-20
Psalms Reading:  Psalm 56
*New Testament Reading: 1 Corinthians 9


What is the worst food you’ve ever eaten?  There’s been a few in my life.  Gamey lamb.  Bad goat cheese.  Beets.  Eggplant.  I can easily say I detested those things.  I wanted to spit them out, whether it was from taste or texture.  Detest – that’s a pretty strong word for not liking something.  Other translations for this scripture say abhor, felt disgust, loathe. 

Leviticus 20:23 says, “And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them.” (ESV).  Our nation, our world, has a lot of customs (statutes, practices) that God hates.  There are many customs/practices that God detests.  There are the things we consider the “biggies” – abortion, homosexuality, pre- or extra-marital sexual relations – that our nation/culture says are good.  They say that they are right.  God says they are very wrong.   Leviticus 20:26 says, “You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.”   God says that if we have chosen Him, He has separated us from the peoples.  He has set us apart.  He expects us to be different.    But, before we get on a soapbox on the “biggies”, consider what other things are practices in our world.  Consider things like gossip, envy, untrustworthy, unmerciful, disobedient to parents, boastful, jealousy, discord, and selfish ambition (Romans 1:29-31, Galations 5:19-21).  These are in the same list as sexual immorality, idolatry, witchcraft, and murder.  The Galatians passage says that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Wow!  That is how much God detests worldly behavior. 

So, how do we live like God has set us apart, separated us from the peoples?  We know, living in this world, we will be surrounded by things detestable to God.   Verse 8a of Leviticus 20 gives us an answer for that.  “Keep my statutes and do them”.  Sounds simple, right?  Simple, yes.  Easy, no.  If you read the other passages for today you will find some help.  In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul tells us that we need to exercise self-control and discipline ourselves.  Psalm 56 tells us to trust God.

I often say that people cannot meet your expectations if you don’t let them know what your expectations are.  God has given us His Word, His expectations are there for us to find.  When we accept Jesus as our savior and are baptized, we receive the gift of His Spirit.  His Spirit IS in us.  That’s what we need in order to act like we are separated from the peoples.  But we get to choose.  Every day we have to make choices.  We choose many times a day whether to follow God and His expectations or to follow the world.    Choose to run the race for the prize.  To discipline your body – your thoughts, attitudes, actions.  

-Todd & Amy Blanchard

Reflection Questions

  1. Paul’s description of an athlete in a race creates a picture of commitment.  Running a race takes lots of training.  Disciplining our bodies requires consistent effort.  Reading these devotions daily, and the Scriptures that go with them, is a great tool.  What other things are you doing consistently to be able to finish the race?  Are you surrounding yourself with others who are running the same race?  It’s not a competition, we need to encourage one another.
  2. What worldly attitude or action do you struggle with most?  Note that to struggle is an action; struggling with something means you are actively trying to overcome or change it.  What will it take for you to win the struggle? 
  3. What did God reveal of Himself to you in today’s reading?

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