Lent Devotion for February 15
Reader: “Be holy,”
Response: “because I am holy.”
SCRIPTURE: Leviticus 11:41-47
41 “‘Every creature that moves along the ground is to be regarded as unclean; it is not to be eaten. 42 You are not to eat any creature that moves along the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is unclean. 43 Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. 44 I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. 45 I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.
46 “’These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves in the water and every creature that moves about on the ground. 47 You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that my be eaten those that may not be eaten.’”
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Sometimes some of us are inclined to think that the Scriptures of the Old Testament have been fulfilled and therefore, kind of irrelevant. Other passages may just seem odd to us. We often focus our time reading in the New Testament because that is where we read about Jesus and the death, resurrection, ascension, and the beginning of the Church. So, we spend much less time in the first thirty-nine books to our great loss. Reading the complete Bible this year is one of the great benefits.
Previous to this portion, the Lord gave Moses very specific instructions as to which animals could be eaten and which could not. What was the purpose? At this point in Israel’s development as a nation, God is teaching them that they are a people set apart. In the Passover, they were distinguished from the Egyptians as they were covered under the blood of the lamb. (Apparently, even a few non-Jews, who were likewise covered under the blood of the lamb, joined them in the Exodus.) “Holy,” qodesh in Hebrew, hagios in Greek, sanctus in Latin, means “set apart, sacred, separate.” It is the word used in Isaiah 6 in describing God’s transcendent character. The word carries with it the idea of heaviness or weight of glory.  That is also probably the reason it is repeated three times in Isaiah. With each repetition the weight grows heavier. It is the only word describing God that is thrice repeated. We never read anywhere where God is “love, love, love,” or “mercy, mercy, mercy.” The holiness of God is the singular most powerful attribute. It sets Him apart from everything else in existence. He is wholly other, “perfect in power, in love, and purity.” There is a clear and definite line between the sacred, the holy, and the profane. God is working with His people to show them that belonging to Him means separation from the profane, the unclean, the pagan world surrounding them. Holiness involves obedience and submission, but a submission that is not a legal one. Not that, “I must submit or the consequences will be drastic.” But rather, it is a submission to seeking holiness out of love for God. It is the idea in Philippians 2:5-11. There again you see the “weight of glory to the Father” as a result of holy living. We are not in a position to make ourselves holy as such. It happens not through a human legalistic effort, but through obedience to the Father, we are made holy and God is glorified. Like the Israelites of old, we are to reject the unclean in the world around us and consecrate ourselves to holy living. The season of Lent is a call to holiness following our Savior.
 See The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis for a brilliant discussion of the Glory of God.
Our Holy God and Father in heaven, we confess that we have often read the familiar and favorite parts of Scripture and have not done the work of reading the unfolding details of your story. As a result, we have cheapened the significance of what you have done and are doing. We have read your word as a series of isolated events and stories, failing to see the glorious larger picture unfolding through the centuries in the biblical era. Forgive our laziness and willingness to embrace a minimum effort. Stir within us a passion for reading and finding you in every page of your Holy Word. This we pray in our Savior’s name. Amen.
- Dan Sharp