I have a challenge for you. Try to remember the last time you heard the word holy used legitimately in day to day conversation. And, by the way, don’t count the times that you heard it as a slang term used in connection with a random noun such as was popularized in the Batman movies and TV series. Also, please discount the slang usages by popular sports figures like Phil Rizzuto and others. When was the last time you heard it used with its original and legitimate meaning? Not to be confused with gambling, but I “betcha” you would have to really stretch your memory cells to recall a time when you heard the word in legitimate day to day conversation. Today’s message will take a brief look at this great word and consider some applications that should be of importance to all believers.
“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, “This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed, the sin offering shall be killed before the LORD. It is most holy. The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of meeting. Everyone who touches its flesh must be holy. And when its blood is sprinkled on any garment, you shall wash that on which it was sprinkled, in a holy place. But the earthen vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken. And if it is boiled in a bronze pot, it shall be both scoured and rinsed in water. All the males among the priests may eat it. It is most holy. But no sin offering from which any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of meeting, to make atonement in the holy place, shall be eaten. It shall be burned in the fire.”’” (Leviticus 6.24-30).
Unless I miscounted, the word holy appears six times in the brief passage just quoted. It was a word that had frequent usage in Hebrew speech. It was first used in the Scriptures by God Himself when He instructed Moses to take off his shoes because the place where he was standing was “holy ground” (see Exodus 3.1-5). It later came into frequent usage as it described various aspects of the Hebrew Tabernacle and its appointments. The word holy also was used often to refer to the priesthood and the service that was rendered by the descendents of Levi and Aaron.
In the New Testament, it was used to refer to angels, prophets, apostles, the temple, the city of Jerusalem, the child Jesus, God the Father, the Spirit of God, and many, many other things. It was used in reference to Scripture, to teachings, to women and men, to believers, to God’s elect within the church, as well as to greetings and salutations. The important thing to see here is that there is such a concept as holy – a real and legitimate concept! God proclaimed some things as holy just as He proclaimed the ground on which Moses was standing as holy. As His creatures, we have no right to regard as ordinary those things which He has declared to be special (holy). When we profane that which God exalts, we go against His wishes and in so doing work against Him.
Now, consider our culture and the way Divine beings, concepts, and teachings are treated within out culture. Chances are great that you have recently heard God’s name used in a profane way! Chances are also great that you have recently heard those things that God has decreed as holy maligned in some manner – things like the Bible, the prophets, the church, believers, and the like. Almost all popular TV shows that mention God or anything connected with Him do so in derision with the idea of evoking laughter! There are some things that are holy. God made them that way. As a believer, it is my responsibility to see holy things as holy and to treat them that way in my life.
1. What made the ground holy on which Moses was standing?
2. What made the tabernacle holy? The Levitical priesthood? The Temple?
3. What responsibilities do we have towards those things which God has declared to be holy?
4. Are you holy? Why or why not? Does God expect/desire that you be holy?
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