Leviticus 11: How Can We Be Holy?
In Leviticus chapter 11, we finally get to the definitive list of dietary restrictions that God placed on the Israelites. Obviously, I’m not going to go into detail for all of them, but let’s take a passage from the end of the chapter to talk about a little bit more.
Lev 11:44 For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Lev 11:45 For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
Verse 44 does talk about not eating anything that creeps on the earth, but that is not really the main point of these verses in my opinion. God is calling the Israelites to be holy because He is holy.
Perfection is of course an impossible standard for us to achieve because we are already imperfect people, but it is interesting that we are called to be holy here. What is the difference?
I think that the most relevant definition from The Free Dictionary explains that holy is “specified or set apart for a religious purpose.” That is how we are supposed to act in our lives. We are supposed to be set apart for the purposes of God rather than set aside for our own purposes.
In a way, this is exactly what Jesus was called to do while He was on earth. He always did the will of His Father because He was set aside for a specific purpose. He could have bailed out at any time, and Satan gave Him plenty of opportunities in the wilderness.
Just like Jesus, we need to do what we set aside to do. The Bible is essentially our handbook that helps us determine what we should do, and we need to use it for the glory of God.