February 27

Leviticus 19:2 (NIV) 2"Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.

Holy: unmixed, pure, undefiled, set apart for one use, not for common usage. All these terms are used for the word 'holy'. Of all God's attributes, this is the one that seems to draw from creation the most reverential awe. The special beings of praise fly around the throne singing, "Holy, holy, holy!" As they do, all those around the throne, men and angels, join with them, in awe of His holiness.

What is God commanding us to be? Fallen man is so polluted with desire for the temporal and self-appeasing pleasures. God is telling everyone that this is not His plan for man. God wants to commune with us and the Holy will not commune with the vile. There must be a change so that we can enter into that relationship God desires to have with us. All the rituals in Leviticus are painting pictures of how God will one day bring it about through the sacrifice of His only Son.

The reason that we are to be holy is so that we can come into communion with Him. But that is not the only reason. The main reason is the one stated here, "...because I, the LORD your God, am holy." A thing is right or wrong because it is consistent or inconsistent with the perfection of God. All that is good is truly good because it is like the goodness of God. All that is genuine love is like the love of God, who is pure and perfect Love. You should be gracious toward others in the same way God is gracious toward you. The same is true of all His attributes. You, as His people, are expected to reflect His character, including His holiness. Be holy BECAUSE He is holy.

Meditation: Is there something in my life that I must forsake to be more like God?

February 27

Matthew 13:22-23 (NIV) 22The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

Perhaps the most famous of all of Jesus' parables is the parable of the sower. The seed was illustrative of the word of God. It was sown on a path, rocky ground, weed filled ground, and good soil. The seed on the hard path was eaten by birds. That which grew in the rocks withered from heat, because the roots were shallow. The seed that grew with the weeds bore no fruit because of the choking power of the weeds. The seed in the good ground multiplied from 30 to 100 times the amount of seed.

The soil is a picture of man's heart. The hardhearted never allow the word to take root. The stony heart does not let the roots grow deep. When difficulty comes, they forsake the word. We are focusing on the seed among the weeds. Jesus said the weeds are worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth. Some hearts will never allow their trust for daily needs to be placed in the Father's hands. They think their own hard work and planning is the way they survive. The fear of lack drives them to concentrate on gaining wealth. Jesus called wealth deceitful. It promises satisfaction and provision, but it can do neither. It can fly away with one little monetary crisis. Today's hot investment is tomorrow's big loser. If your heart is set on these things, you will not bear fruit. In a weedy field, the weeds suck the nutrient from the soil. That keeps the stalk of grain from having sufficient nutrients to form the grain heads.

The good soil produces many times over what was originally sown. Is the word of God multiplied in your life? Are you giving the word out because of the increase the word has produced in the good soil of your heart? If not, examine what kind of soil your heart is. The Lord is waiting to change the condition of that soil if you will ask.

Consider: Let the word of God dwell in you richly! Colossians 3:16a