My Holy People

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“You must be my holy people. Therefore, do not eat any animal that has been torn up and killed by wild animals. Throw it to the dogs.”

Exodus 22:31

Exodus 22:31 contains instructions about what the Israelites should do if they happened upon an animal that had been killed by some wild animal. Rather than trying to salvage some of the dead animal for food, they were supposed to get rid of it. Eating such “road kill” would not only be potentially unhealthy, but also it would make the consumer ceremonially unclean.

Yet this specific law includes an unusual explanation. The Israelites are to avoid eating animals killed by other animals because “you must be my holy people.” Although this elucidation appears in this particular law, it essentially undergirds the whole corpus of the Torah. The children of Israel are to be holy in the sense that they are to be different from the nations. In their daily lives they are to reflect their distinctiveness as God’s chosen people. Thus their holiness is not only separation from the world, but also separation for God. They are to be fully dedicated to him.

Sometimes we Christians get hung up on the rights and wrongs of discipleship, forgetting the deeper purpose. Like the Israelites, we are called to be set apart from the world around us and devoted wholly to God. The Christian life is not a matter of following the right rules so much as it is living fully for God’s purposes and glory. So, for example, I will refrain from dishonesty, not only because it is against biblical teaching, but also and more importantly because it honors God and sets me apart from this world.

As Christians, we must always remember that we are to be set apart from the world in the ways we live, but not relationally. In all we do, we are to be “in but not of” the world. We live as holy people in the midst of the world, exemplifying the love and truth of God so that our neighbors might be drawn to him through our example.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How does the call to be holy impact your life, if it does at all? When you think of holiness, what thoughts or images come to mind? How can you live as one who is “in but not of” the world in your workplace? neighborhood? school? family? church?

PRAYER: Gracious God, you have called me to be a holy person, a “saint,” to use the traditional language. This is no comment on my inherent goodness or even upon my exemplary living. Rather, by your grace you have chosen me to be set apart for you and your purposes. How I thank and praise you for this incredible honor!

Help me, dear Lord, to live each moment of each day as one devoted to you. May I reflect your truth and love into every corner of my world, especially in those places that need it the most. When I am challenged to give in to the ways of this world, give me the strength to stand firm for you and your ways, not with arrogance, but with humble reliance upon you.

In all I do, gracious God, may I honor and glorify you. Amen.