Today is the 42nd day that we have been counting the omer.

Throughout the Old Testament, God highlights the requirement to be different from all those around us. This is evident as He requires Abraham, his household and all his male descendants to be circumcised. It is seen again as God verbally gives His commandments to the Israelites at Mt Sinai and then in written form to Moses. Each one of God’s commandments reflect His holiness and His standard for living. He wants a people set apart. He not only desires but requires that they serve no other god. They were to have no other god in His face. They are to only worship Him, Yehovah. He wants a “different” people so that they stand out from all those around them.

As His people, we are to imitate Him by sanctifying ourselves, setting ourselves apart for Him alone. We are to choose to more accurately reflect Him by sanctifying things in our lives such as our possessions so that even those things are holy in His sight. We are to make sure that the things we own are not used in ways that are unholy. Maybe that means what is viewed on our TV or what our vehicles are used for…. Our time is sanctified when we set apart time to be in His Presence, drawing closer and developing intimacy with Him. Adherence to His commands hopefully is the fruit of sanctifying ourselves and living in a loving relationship with Him.

Leviticus 20:23-24; 26 (English Standard Version) “You shall not walk in the customs of the nation which I am driving out before you; for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them…. I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the peoples…. You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.”

It is very easy for us to forget how adamant Yehovah is about living and being separate from the world in which we live. I am not talking about going and living on a mountain top, having no contact with others. I am talking about choosing to live our lives in such a way that we refuse to pick up the habits of this world in which we live. Our language, what we watch or bring into our being through any of our five senses, what we approve, where we go, our behaviors, and our attitudes are to reflect our God. Yes, He knows that we are human, but that does not give us license to do things that do not reflect His character. We cannot think and act in this manner: “well, this might be wrong, but God will always forgive me”. He requires us to be different from those who do not believe in Him. We are “to walk in humility and obedience and in the beauty of holiness – the beauty of His Presence – because He wants us to be His own. He desires for us to be consecrated and devoted in love to Him alone.” (A Taste of Torah, A devotional Study Through the Five Books of Moses, Keren Hannah Pryor, 2016) He wants so much for us to grow in intimacy and oneness of heart and mind with Him, sanctifying ourselves for Him. He wants the world to look at us and know that we are different even as He wanted the children of Israel to be different from the rest of the world. Through their difference, they were to proclaim to the world that there is only one God, and His Name is Yehovah.

Our challenge today is to do even as Paul tells those living in Corinth (2 Corinthians 6:17 NLT) “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.” Will we choose to be like Yehovah, or will we choose to be like the world in which we live?

Pastor Ann

May 23, 2020