Day 15

Holiness in the Land

from the reading plan

Leviticus 20:1-27, 1 Peter 1:15-16

When we travel, my wife and I often kill time in a hotel room during the last hour or so before checkout. We’re never ready for the trip to end, so we squeeze as much out of the experience as possible before hitting the road toward home. Inevitably, we will start scrolling through the options on the television. That’s when it happens. We find a marathon of home improvement shows on some cable network. Before long, we’re hooked! 

Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m no handyman. My grandfather could build or fix almost anything. Similarly, my father is like MacGyver. It’s amazing what he can do with a pocketknife and some baling wire. My son also has an enviable ability to survey a problem and have some idea about how to make it work. 

Somehow, that gene flew right past me. That’s why I usually call a professional from the start. I’ve learned that it’s cheaper than calling someone later to repair my attempt at fixing something. That’s also why I’m captivated by shows where designers and builders can make something incredible out of something ordinary. They have a vision for how things should look and how to make things better. Since my brain doesn’t work that way, it’s interesting to watch it play out in the lives of others.

I think God had that kind of vision for the promised land.

As the Creator of both people and places, God knew what the promised land should have been. However, the land flowing with milk and honey had turned into a hotbed of depravity. The Canaanites had ignored the truth and rejected the holiness that God demanded. So, He vowed to drive them out and give His land to His people, Israel.

His gracious gift came with expectations, though. To stay in the land for the long haul, God commanded the Israelites to follow through on everything the previous residents had abandoned. For instance, they had to reject spiritual counterfeits like idols and mediums (Leviticus 20:1–8), and they needed to embrace sexual purity as a way of life (vv.9–21). 

In short, God challenged them to take seriously the laws He had given them in the wilderness and to translate them into everyday life across the Jordan River.

What’s more, their commitment had to be complete. God told them to obey His statutes and ordinances (v.22). Half-hearted devotion would never get the job done. Their connection to the land required absolute spiritual surrender to the Lord.

These days, God continues to fulfill His vision—not for geographical spaces, but for the lives of individuals. That’s why the apostle Peter could echo the words of Leviticus in his first letter to New Testament believers (1Peter 1:15–16). A personal relationship with God still demands complete surrender. Half-hearted devotion still falls short. Anything less still misses the mark.

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