I know that I have written a lot about not caring what other people think about you. That is true to the point that we should not be ashamed of Christianity. However, we are also called to live up to a certain standard, and I hope that we are able to stand out as something a little bit different.
I want to focus in today on one particular passage from 2 Kings 3.
2Ki 3:11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.
2Ki 3:12 And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
Apparently, it was pretty obvious that Elisha was a man of God. I hope that I am able to give that type of impression to people as well.
We are called to be different, and we are called to be followers.
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
The light is drastically different from the darkness around it. There are obviously visual differences. Light looks different than darkness. As Christians, we need to live differently. Some things might be okay by the world, but if they are not okay by the Bible, we need to try to avoid them.
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
When you become a new Christian, you become a new creation. In fact, you are entirely different. Belonging to God is different than belonging to the world.
Again, I know that I write a lot about not caring what people think, but I do hope that people do realize that we are living what we preach. We need to make sure that we are living the way that God wants us to live.
Deuteronomy 14 provides yet another reminder about the dietary restrictions for the people of Israel. However, I want to focus our attention on a verse that comes right before this list.
Deu 14:2 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.
For the sake of clarity, I looked at the Strong’s number for the word peculiar in my electronic Bible from e-Sword. Some synonyms for peculiar can relate to treasure or a jewel. I know that in modern usage peculiar might carry a somewhat more negative connotation, but I just wanted to clarify that this is actually a really big compliment for the people of Israel.
God specifically chose the people of Israel to be a treasure. As I was thinking about this, I had to wonder what would have happened if God had chosen a different group of people. For example, what if He chosen to treasure the Egyptians?
God obviously had every right to write history anyway He wanted, but I do think that there was something special about the people of Israel.
Even though in general they were a rebellious people, they had leadership that listened to God for the most part. Obviously, they were still human and messed up every now and then, but in general, they were very responsive to the will of God.
I think that this can be a good lesson for all of us. God can use us whenever He wants, but we need to be willing to do what we are called to do. A good example of this is Jonah. He tried to run away from what God told him to do, and God had a very convincing way of bringing him back.
After that, Jonah understood that he needed to do what God told him to do, and he did it so well that the city of Nineveh was not demolished.
As Christians, we are treasured as well. God loves us, and He wants what is best for us. However, we need to respond to him as well like Jonah eventually did to cultivate this relationship.
It is interesting that I’m going to highlight verse 16 (and 17) from the third chapter of Leviticus. Another interesting verse has a similar reference…
Anyway, here are the verses for you.
Lev 3:16 And the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savour: all the fat is the LORD’S.
Lev 3:17 It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.
While we could focus on the fact that this is the first dietary restriction that is mentioned in the book of Leviticus, but I want to take a little bit of a different route.
More specifically, these verses show that there is something significant to separating what belongs to God. This makes me think about a New Testament passage referencing giving to God what is truly His.
Mat 22:17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
Mat 22:18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
Mat 22:19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
Mat 22:20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
Mat 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
Think about the implications of this passage. If something belongs to God, you absolutely must give that only to God. In Leviticus, what needed to be sacrificed to God was not allowed to be eaten by people.
There are certain things that are only for God, and one that immediately comes to my mind is worship. We are not supposed to worship people because that is only meant for God. He is the only one who deserves our praise.
Even though these verses do not necessarily specify worship, that is where my mind went with this. It is one very important thing that we should only give to God just like certain parts of the animal were only to be sacrificed and not consumed by people.
I think that we are going to run into a lot of parallel passages as we go through Leviticus. Today in Chapter 2, something particularly caught my eye as we are still talking about the meat offering.
Lev 2:13 And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
This might bring another passage to mind about salt.
Mat 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Again, the purpose of salt is to add flavor, and the New Testament passage I mentioned is basically saying that Christians need to act like Christians and not lose their flavor so to speak. What makes Christians different every act like everyone else?
Similarly, in order to be a proper meat offering, there needed to be salt. I don’t think that God necessarily cared about the physical flavor of the sacrifice, but perhaps it is the same idea as the New Testament.
The offering needed to be somewhat different and special. Adding salt to the meat and preparing it the right way took a little more time and care. This type of attention is what we need to give to God.
That is obviously the application when you look at the passage in this way. In both of these passages, salt is mentioned to make something different than something else. This can extend to anything we do for God as our sacrifice since we are supposed to be living sacrifices.
It is important to do everything in the right mindset. God is incredibly special, and we need to remember that. He should be our number one priority.
Welcome to Leviticus! I am sure that it is everyone’s favorite book, but I think that we will be able to find some pretty interesting things in it to talk and think about.
In Chapter 1, we dive right into the topic of sacrifices. God is telling Moses how the people need to sacrifice if they bring a cow, sheep or a turtledove.
Lev 1:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.
The reason I am emphasizing this passage is because there are a few different ways for people to bring appropriate sacrifices to God. If they didn’t have cattle, they might have sheep. Different people have different types of possessions, but God was more concerned about them bringing something with the right attitude to Him. It would be well within His rights to say that He only wanted a very specific sacrifice, and He could have said that only people who brought cattle were acceptable. However, He didn’t. He wanted to use what people brought.
When I think about that, I think about the idea of each of us having unique abilities that we need to utilize as we try to spread the Gospel. We might not all have the gift of preaching, but that does not by any means make us incapable of helping in the mission.
Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
If we are all within that same body of Christianity and we are living our lives with a desire to please God, He can use us even if we bring a diversity of gifts. Because God gave you all of your talents and gifts to begin with, doesn’t it make sense that He would be able to use you to further His kingdom?
In Exodus chapter 11, God is telling Moses about the final plague that is going to hit Egypt. The firstborn of every living thing, human and animal, would die around midnight except for the Israelites.
Israel would be protected from this plague for a very specific purpose.
Exo 11:6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
Exo 11:7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.
The biggest difference between these people was how much they listened to God.
When we listen to God, we are supposed to be different. A relationship with God should help us produce the fruit of the Spirit, and we should demonstrate that in our lives. Just like the Israelites were different than the Egyptians, we have a similar almost parallel passage in the New Testament that describes Christianity.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
1Pe 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
We are called to be different because what we need to do is reflect the light of God rather than try to light up the world by our own merit. That is what the Israelites were supposed to as well. Through their faithfulness, God was going to use them to create a great nation and bring glory to His name.
Everything that happened in Egypt came about to let people realize who God really was, and our mission hasn’t changed whatsoever. As Christians, people are supposed to realize that there is something different about us that isn’t because of who we are.
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Mat 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Just like everyone was supposed to recognize that the Israelites were different than the Egyptians because they had God with them, we need to act like that in our lives every day. We have God with us.