Key verse: Leviticus 19:2
Big idea: We shall be holy because God is holy.
Leviticus 19 reads like a miscellaneous catalog of rules that didn't fit in anywhere else. Honor your parents, keep the sabbath, don't harvest the edges of your field but leave them for the poor, don't harbor hatred but confront people who have upset you directly, don't practice prostitution, respect the elderly, give the same rights to foreigners and natives, and have honest weights and measures for commerce. Except these rules are found in other places, and are not repeated here because they had to go somewhere but because they fit under the heading of verse 2: "Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy."
God's holiness touches on every conceivable area of existence: our holiness should too. This grab bag of regulations is to show us that our religious lives, our family lives, our business practices, and everything else should be shaped by Who we belong to. But the heading of this section makes it more than advice: His people shall be holy because He is holy. Our holiness is not something we work up in ourselves! It is a reflection of our fellowship with the Creator. The Israelites were expected to know this; as people who had His presence in their midst, they would be transformed! Of course, their sin and rebellion often resisted this transformation, but in eternity (for those who were really His people) it was assured.
For us, of course, the principle is the same and even more intense. The presence of God does not dwell in a Temple in Alvin or Washington, but in our hearts and in the midst of our church. He is making us holy by His holiness through the presence of His Spirit and will finish it with the arrival of His Son. This is the promise of 1 John 3:1-3: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." We will be made holy because He is holy, and the process begins now when we keep our eyes on Him.
Discussion idea: Which of the elements of holiness in this chapter seems the hardest to you? The easiest? How do they relate to the heart of God?
Prayer focus: Lord, conform me to the image of Christ, whatever it takes.