So a holy God, as He describes himself, calls a small group of people out of all the people in the world, to be holy...because He is holy.
He takes twelve boys, all with different mothers, but the same father, and grows them into tens of thousands of people, lets them suffer in slavery while reproducing, then one day takes them from all they had ever known into a desert so they can be introduced to the Holy One who set them free.
Jacob's offspring, with a divine and specific plan of the Holy One, plunder their captors and make their escape, the echoes of wailing parents permeating the darkness. The doorposts of their homes, marked with the blood of a lamb protects them from the the death of their firstborn, while the people of Egypt suffer the stubbornness of Pharoah's hardened heart.
In the desert, a cloud leads them during the day and a pillar of fire guides them at night.
The acts of a Holy God rescuing his chosen people was step one.
Step two was to teach the former slaves what set apart the gods that were worshiped in Egypt from the Holy God who rescued them from slavery. There were many gods Pharaoh worshiped and tried to appease. Egypt was lined with statues of them. The slaves probably walked by them day after day after day.
The temples they were building by force were temples to worship just those gods.
Perhaps when Moses was getting the ten commands and the vision of a thing called a Tabernacle, God was using something he had seen in Egypt and maybe even went to before God called him his friend.
At any rate, God said, "I'm holy, now you're holy, just because you're mine. Be holy."
Easier said than done.
For a long time lots of animals died in their place, so they could be called holy. The priests had to do the work so God's children could be called holy. It's a crazy way of doing things, but what is crazy to slugs like us, is a perfect plan to a holy God, the creator of us slugs.
Day after day, year after year, sacrifices were made for the sins of the former slaves.
Until one day they stopped.
Jesus came. Jesus sacrificed himself, the holiest of offerings, not only to save us from our slug sins, but to, get this....make us holy as the holy God first commanded. No longer was it necessary to sacrifice one more animal or bird or piece of grain to be considered holy in the Holy One's eyes.
They...we... are now Holy. We. We who believe. We who don't reject. We whose hearts are not hardened. We, the rabble who watch from the outside, and leave behind what we once thought was good, to follow behind those who have been rescued and trust something or someOne that doesn't make sense.......... all Holy.
We are now set apart as Holy by virtue of our relationship to THE HOLY ONE.
We see and feel and react to the unholiness of ourselves, our situations, and our circumstances.
But God doesn't.
God sees us as holy. God sees our unholy lives with the filter of His holy Son covering us. Yes, to the naked eye, and to the hardened heart, we who fall on His name look and act and think in unholy ways. But to God, who can only now see us covered in the blood of His son, we are Holy. We are set apart. We are consecrated.
The hard part is believing that about ourselves.
The hard part is acting in a way that God says we can act.
The hard part is believing we can act and think and behave the way God says he has equipped us to.
But it's not up to us to drum up belief or behaviors or the right attitude. We can't. We often wouldn't. We usually won't want to. That's why we need God.
See, even when God expects us to do or believe something, he gives us the ability to do or believe it. We only have the ability to reject him, to harden our hearts towards him. Those are our only abilities. Everything else must be done by a Holy God.
My friend, the real hard part has been done. If you receive the gift and don't reject it, you are holy because Jesus has made you holy. You can "be holy" because Jesus has made you holy. You are not what the unfiltered, unholy side of you says you are.
You are holy.
That band of whiners and complainers and rebels and manipulators in Jacob's line are the picture of what Jesus has freed us from.
Unholy circumstances and actions produced unholy people. But a holy God made those actions and circumstances and people Holy in his sight. What we see as unholy, God used for holy purposes. What we see in our lives as unholy, God is using for a holy purpose.
Yes, they manipulated; so do we. Yes, they whined; so do we. Yes, they complained, they rebelled, and often did the opposite of what God told them to do; so do we. But that did not change the filter then, nor does it change the filter for us.
God sees beyond time and its happenings and into eternity.
A holy God, knowing an unholy Jacob would say to him, "Prove yourself to me, then I will make you my God," let Jacob say that to him. To the naked eye, those unholy actions of Jacob and his descendants and us would in fact be the deal breaker if you ask me. I wouldn't give anyone the perpetual second chance like God does.
But I can't make a tree either.
Aren't you glad you and I aren't God? I'm so glad God is a holy God and no matter what I think of my unholy actions and heart, God sees so much more.
God has bigger things in mind then what you or I see. He saw the pride and the fear in Jacob's heart. He hated it, but he stepped back, knowing His way was the better way, and let Jacob fall anyway. He let unholy actions continue for a bigger plan. For eternity's story. For your story of rescue and redemption. A holy God let Jacob fall. A holy God lets his children fall.
A good dad does that sometime. A holy dad has the self-control and the vision to let us fall because he knows our unholy falling is the only way to see a Holy Father.
Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD God Almighty, Isaiah heard the angels sing. We will hear it too. We will hear the hosts of heaven sing those words too. But we can sing them now.
Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD God Almighty.
A holy God has made me and you holy in his sight.
Isn't that wild and a little bit, no a lot, crazy!
Exodus 7-14; Exodus 25:8; 33:11; Leviticus 19:2; Leviticus 26;
Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:1-2; 30:6, 11-14
Hebrews 2:10-18; 12; 1 John 1:7-10