I apologize in advance for this illustration but I am not trying to be crude in making a crucial point. Each night I walk our two dogs, Hero the Labrador retriever and Saber the Sheltie. When the three of us walk, Saber has a habit that is extremely annoying. If he comes across what I suspect is dung from another animal (I’m guessing raccoon), before I can stop him, he literally does an in-the-air rollover dive into the mess and slides his chest and back all over it! Now I’m mad because I have to clean him (a difficult task with his thick and long hair) and he stinks. Furthermore, can you imagine what people would think of me as an owner if they came upon Saber in such a disgusting condition?
Ezekiel 36:23-28—I will honor the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations—the name you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am Yahweh"—the declaration of the Lord GOD—"when I demonstrate My holiness through you in their sight. "For I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries, and will bring you into your own land I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances. Then you will live in the land that I gave your fathers; you will be My people, and I will be your God.
You remember the story! God led the Israelites to Canaan, the land He promised to Abraham and his descendants. He expected them to live righteously in contrast to the heathen nations that occupied that territory. Instead, they jumped and rolled in the sin of the residents they failed to remove and brought such a stench upon themselves that God in disgust, forcibly removed and scattered them through the armies of Assyria and later Babylon. I think we tend to be hard on the Jews and to judge them for turning their backs on God and walking in wicked behavior. But I wonder, are we so different? How many people do you know who claim to be Christians yet live identical to their Christ-disdaining neighbors? How many Jesus followers wear the odor of the world because the aroma is powerfully attractive? If you and I do not carefully watch ourselves, we can easily find ourselves guilty of doing and being the very things God forbids.
Here’s the good news. God is a forgiving, loving Father. Rather than abandon His people and start over with a “new breed,” He promised to bring them back to their own land, clean them up, place His Spirit within them and cause them to obey His laws and to be His children. God demonstrates His holiness through people. He honors His holy great name by helping us be holy. May God be forever praised for His faithful commitment to our well-being! We don’t deserve it. So, the next time you see a fellow believer engage in sinful behavior, remind him or her whose Name they represent. And before you are tempted to do evil, think of the consequences of your action. Remember that God wants to work His holiness through us so that every nation can see what clean and pure looks like to His glory!
Dear Lord, I am so sorry for thoughts or action that caused You to hold Your nose and look away. Thank You for loving me enough to cleanse me. May I walk in holiness each day to the betterment of our relationship and so those around me see Your holiness at work!
The demonstration of holiness has always been at the heart of God’s strategy of world evangelization.—Robert E. Coleman in The Master Plan of Discipleship
©2010 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)