'Holy and the common'
25th August 2020
23 They are to teach my people
the difference between the holy and the common
and show them how to distinguish
between the unclean and the clean.
... Ezekiel 44:23 NIV
As I was settling down to my morning prayer time
I heard my phone indicate that a text had come through.
I was torn, should I answer it?
It could be important, or should I leave it till later?
As I hadn't actually started,
I decided to check the phone,
it might be one of the children needing to contact me.
It wasn't -
or anything else important either.
I left the phone in the kitchen and returned to the lounge and my reading.
In the middle of the chapter from Ezekiel
about a very detailed description of the temple,
Ezekiel mentioned a special area with a wall to
'separate what was holy from what was common' (42:20).
So much has changed since the days of the Old Testament;
there are terms and guidelines for worship which,
because of Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross
which has given us direct access to the Father,
are no longer relevant to modern church worship,
now we have direct access to the Father.
At that time various offerings were required;
a young bull for a sin offering (Lev. 4);
a lamb or goat for guilt offering;
a burnt offering, grain offering, a wine offering.
People were also instructed to consecrate (purify) themselves
before entering God's presence (Exodus 19:10)
In the New Testament times,
Jesus shed his blood on the cross
as the true sin offering to atone, once for all,
for the sins of people,
so we no longer need to offer such sacrifices;
but while we do not follow those specific laws and regulations
there are still some approaches we can apply.
What does 'separating the holy
from the common' look like today?
Did you know that flower stems should be cut
under running water to allow the flowers
to absorb with water immediately by reducing air pockets?
There's nothing like a little 'scrolling'
to create its own 'air pockets'.
It's hard to absorb the word of God
when we have already filled our hearts
and minds with something else.
Perhaps we should leave the checking of social media
until after we have spent time with the source of living water.
The church service is not a time to catch up on Texts or emails,
(I cannot count the times I've seen wedding guests checking
their phones in the middle of the service
in spite of having been asked to switch them off
at the beginning of the service),
phones should be left outside or switched off.
Jesus challenged his disciples who had fallen asleep
when he asked them to pray,
'Couldn't you watch with me even one hour?' (Mark 14:37).
It isn't just about spending time with God;
it's the quality of the time that matters.
Thankfully we worship a gracious God
who does not expect us to be perfect.
But more than anything he wants us to put him first and give him our best;
not because of laws or regulations
but because he's already given us all of himself.
Points to ponder -
How can we put God first in our daily lives
and avoid the distractions which take us away from God?