A Season of Thankfulness: Day Three – A Righteous Standard

Day Three Thankfulness God's unchanging standard

Leviticus 19:2-3

“Speak to the whole congregation of the Israelites and tell them, ‘You must be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.  3 Each of you must respect his mother and his father, and you must keep my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God. 4 Do not turn to idols, and you must not make for yourselves gods of cast metal. I am the LORD your God. 11 “‘You must not steal, you must not tell lies, and you must not deal falsely with your fellow citizen.  12 You must not swear falsely in my name, so that you do not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD. 13 You must not oppress your neighbor or commit robbery against him. You must not withhold the wages of the hired laborer overnight until morning. 14 You must not curse a deaf person or put a stumbling block in front of a blind person. You must fear your God; I am the LORD.  15 “‘You must not deal unjustly in judgment: you must neither show partiality to the poor nor honor the rich. You must judge your fellow citizen fairly. 16 You must not go about as a slanderer among your people. You must not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake. I am the LORD. 17 You must not hate your brother in your heart. You must surely reprove your fellow citizen so that you do not incur sin on account of him. 18 You must not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people, but you must love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

Leviticus 22:9

“They must keep my charge so that they do not incur sin on account of it and therefore die because they profane it. I am the LORD who sanctifies them.”

He created us, made us in His image.  He established His righteous laws and communicated His requirements to His people.  Then He paid the price and sanctified us.  Words cannot adequately convey how amazing our God is.

Some think rules spoil the fun.  They are somehow unfair and unnecessary, legalistic and burdensome; wrecking our happiness due to the judgment felt when we break God’s righteous laws.

Leviticus – that book of the Bible that many dread to read.  Gruesome with detail about sin and its consequences, we do not like to look at the devastation of sin or the standards of God because we are unable to keep His laws in our own strength.

But it is the revelation of His standards that ultimately sets us free.  God’s laws revealed our need for a Savior.  The conviction felt when we looked into God’s perfect law causes us to either run to God out of our desperate need or to rebel in our pride, thinking we are above the law.

As humans, we tend to think a loving God would let us do whatever we want.  But He loves us too much for that. He is GOOD and perfect in what He allows for His children.  That goodness commanded us to abstain from sin because He knew it would destroy us.  That righteousness would command us to rest and give us a salvation that we could never earn.

Sure, we could don our own covering like Adam and Eve tried to do, or cover ourselves with excuses that leave us feeling empty deep inside.  We could try to earn our own righteousness by good works, but ultimately, we would fail.  Rationalizing in a relativistic world does not cover our sin and making sinful actions lawful in our society will never wipe away our transgressions.

Our inability to provide for our own sin leaves us destitute before a Holy God with standards that do not grade on the curve.  But His grace overcomes our flaws and failings and His firm promises are our redemption before a Holy God when we admit our need of Him.

Thank God for His mercy and wisdom and complete Holiness that would have a standard in a world with constantly shifting standards.  Because of His faithfulness, we are secure in Christ.  Secure in a relationship with a Holy God Who does not change.  Ever.

Lord, thank You for providing us with boundaries that set us free in You.  Please open our eyes to understand more of Your perfect law and to rejoice and delight in You and Your perfect statutes.

Worshipful Wednesday: Cleaning House

Joshua 7:10-12

10 “The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.”

I know, I know.  It is Thursday.  But I could not neglect Worshipful Wednesday, now could I?

Cleaning our house is one of those tasks that is achieved best when under pressure.  Guests are coming – suddenly every dust bunny is evident before our eyes.  But what if we just stopped caring about the cleanliness of our homes?  Eventually filth, dilapidation and maybe even disease would darken our doors.  So it is with us.

Praise the LORD that He does not leave us in our sins.  Praise God that He disciplines us and opens our eyes to see the iniquity in our lives that is bringing destruction on our own heads and separation from Him, the lover of our souls.

Our flesh does not enjoy discipline, but where would we be without it?  I shudder to think about it.  Aichan’s disobedience wrought severe consequences not solely for him, but for those around him, as well.  Before we are tempted to be angry with Aichan, though, we know we are just as culpable.  We are all easily deceived and the sins of self righteousness blind us from seeing our own errors.  Save the grace of God.

When sin is revealed the punishment meted out can seem harsh in our eyes, until we understand just how vile sin is.  God knows it destroys us and produces profound pain and consequences for His children.  If fear of punishment from a Holy God serves to motivate us to abstain from evil, praise God!  There is a standard in Heaven.  It is a Holy one, and it is unchanging.

Just like we are never completely done maintaining cleanliness in our homes (especially if you have young children in the home!), so our souls and our walk with God must continually be examined be our Holy God.  Is there something that has slipped into our lives that does not honor Him?  Do we make excuses for a behavior or a choice instead of bringing it before Him and His word, to determine whether it pleases God?

The humanistic wave of doing whatever you want will not stand before God.  We must eradicate from our lives what is displeasing to Him, for our own good.  God is not a killjoy – He is the source of all joy.  What we so often cling to is our greatest source of pain.  We can ask Him if our lifestyle or media choices please Him.  He will answer.  He loves us too much to leave us clinging to death.  When we let go of what we thought was life, we find Him and what we were really made for – to know and worship Him.

Lord, praise Your Name!  Thank You for revealing our sins to us.  Please help us to never tire of seeking You and being examined by You.  You are good!