Posts Tagged ‘Set Apart’


Deuteronomy 12 (NLT) When you drive out the nations that live there, you must destroy all the places where they worship their gods—high on the mountains, up on the hills, and under every green tree. Break down their altars and smash their sacred pillars. Burn their Asherah poles and cut down their carved idols. Completely erase the names of their gods! Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods. Rather, you must seek the LORD your God at the place of worship he himself will choose from among all the tribes—the place where his name will be honored… Your pattern of worship will change. Today all of you are doing as you please, because you have not yet arrived at the place of rest, the land the LORD your God is giving you as your special possession… You must celebrate there in the presence of the LORD your God with your sons and daughters and all your servants. And remember to include the Levites who live in your towns, for they will receive no allotment of land among you… You must eat these in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose. Eat them there with your children, your servants, and the Levites who live in your towns, celebrating in the presence of the LORD your God in all you do… When the LORD your God goes ahead of you and destroys the nations and you drive them out and live in their land, do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.’ You must not worship the LORD your God the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods.

I know the question you must ask as did I – Why would a God of love direct His people to cause such destruction to their enemy’s property and idols? Is there no room for secularism in God’s eyes? (more…)


Numbers 23:1,2,7-10,18-26 Then Balaam said to King Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven young bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice.” Balak followed his instructions, and the two of them sacrificed a young bull and a ram on each altar… This was the message Balaam delivered: “Balak summoned me to come from Aram; the king of Moab brought me from the eastern hills. ‘Come,’ he said, ‘curse Jacob for me! Come and announce Israel’s doom.’ But how can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I condemn those whom the Lord has not condemned? I see them from the cliff tops; I watch them from the hills. I see a people who live by themselves, set apart from other nations. Who can count Jacob’s descendants, as numerous as dust? Who can count even a fourth of Israel’s people? Let me die like the righteous; let my life end like theirs”… This was the message Balaam delivered: “Rise up, Balak, and listen! Hear me, son of Zippor. God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Listen, I received a command to bless; God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it! No misfortune is in his plan for Jacob; no trouble is in store for Israel. For the Lord their God is with them; he has been proclaimed their king. God brought them out of Egypt; for them he is as strong as a wild ox. No curse can touch Jacob; no magic has any power against Israel. For now it will be said of Jacob, ‘What wonders God has done for Israel!’ These people rise up like a lioness, like a majestic lion rousing itself. They refuse to rest until they have feasted on prey, drinking the blood of the slaughtered!” Then Balak said to Balaam, “Fine, but if you won’t curse them, at least don’t bless them!” But Balaam replied to Balak, “Didn’t I tell you that I can do only what the Lord tells me?”

After being corrected by a humble donkey, Balaam seems now to be advising the kings of the land and there is no fear in him for man. What happened and how is it relevant to us today? (more…)


Numbers 8:1-2,5-6,14,16,22 The Lord said to Moses, “Give Aaron the following instructions: When you set up the seven lamps in the lampstand, place them so their light shines forward in front of the lampstand”… Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now set the Levites apart from the rest of the people of Israel and make them ceremonially clean… In this way, you will set the Levites apart from the rest of the people of Israel, and the Levites will belong to me… “Of all the people of Israel, the Levites are reserved for me. I have claimed them for myself in place of all the firstborn sons of the Israelites; I have taken the Levites as their substitutes… After that the Levites went into the Tabernacle to perform their duties, assisting Aaron and his sons. So they carried out all the commands that the Lord gave Moses concerning the Levites.

It seems God was partial towards the Levites in that He chose them from among the many and gave them the princely task of interceding between Israel and God.

What is God speaking to us through this passage and is God’s service only for a few from the many? (more…)


Numbers 7:1-2,4-5,10-12,18,24,30,36,42,48,54,60,66,72,78,89 On the day Moses set up the Tabernacle, he anointed it and set it apart as holy. He also anointed and set apart all its furnishings and the altar with its utensils. Then the leaders of Israel—the tribal leaders who had registered the troops—came and brought their offerings… Then the Lord said to Moses, “Receive their gifts, and use these oxen and wagons for transporting the Tabernacle. Distribute them among the Levites according to the work they have to do”… The leaders also presented dedication gifts for the altar at the time it was anointed. They each placed their gifts before the altar. The Lord said to Moses, “Let one leader bring his gift each day for the dedication of the altar.” On the first day Nahshon son of Amminadab, leader of the tribe of Judah, presented his offering… On the second day Nethanel son of Zuar, leader of the tribe of Issachar, presented his offering… On the third day Eliab son of Helon, leader of the tribe of Zebulun, presented his offering… On the fourth day Elizur son of Shedeur, leader of the tribe of Reuben, presented his offering… On the fifth day Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai, leader of the tribe of Simeon, presented his offering… On the sixth day Eliasaph son of Deuel, leader of the tribe of Gad, presented his offering… On the seventh day Elishama son of Ammihud, leader of the tribe of Ephraim, presented his offering… On the eighth day Gamaliel son of Pedahzur, leader of the tribe of Manasseh, presented his offering… On the ninth day Abidan son of Gideoni, leader of the tribe of Benjamin, presented his offering… On the tenth day Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai, leader of the tribe of Dan, presented his offering… On the eleventh day Pagiel son of Ocran, leader of the tribe of Asher, presented his offering… On the twelfth day Ahira son of Enan, leader of the tribe of Naphtali, presented his offering… Whenever Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. The Lord spoke to him from there.

The snippets of verses from Numbers 7 presented above were to give a flavor of the chapter and I encourage you to read the chapter before you begin.

It seems there was great religiosity among the Israelites and they were successful at doing that which was prescribed rather than act on their own faith. Is that what God calls us to do? (more…)


Numbers 6:2-3,5-6,13-15,22-27 “If any of the people, either men or women, take the special vow of a Nazirite, setting themselves apart to the Lord in a special way, they must give up wine and other alcoholic drinks. They must not use vinegar made from wine or from other alcoholic drinks, they must not drink fresh grape juice, and they must not eat grapes or raisins… “They must never cut their hair throughout the time of their vow, for they are holy and set apart to the Lord. Until the time of their vow has been fulfilled, they must let their hair grow long. And they must not go near a dead body during the entire period of their vow to the Lord… “This is the ritual law for Nazirites. At the conclusion of their time of separation as Nazirites, they must each go to the entrance of the Tabernacle and offer their sacrifices to the Lord: a one-year-old male lamb without defect for a burnt offering, a one-year-old female lamb without defect for a sin offering, a ram without defect for a peace offering, a basket of bread made without yeast—cakes of choice flour mixed with olive oil and wafers spread with olive oil—along with their prescribed grain offerings and liquid offerings… Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: ‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’ Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”

God certainly went to great lengths to set expectations for His people and it seems very hard to keep up to them, not just because of the detail but also because of the purity one needed to have to keep them.

How would any of this be relevant to us today and is it even applicable in our day and age? (more…)


Exodus 32:1,4,9-10,21-22,24,27-29,33-35 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him”… He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt”… “I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation”… He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?” “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil… So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”… Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day”… The LORD replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.” And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.

After such a good run this far today’s chapter was a disaster in that the chosen people of God failed miserably. They chose to worship an idol because they had no patience for the God of Moses and therefore suffered the consequences.

What truly got to me was God’s wrath and judgment as displayed in the gruesome murder of the idol worshippers and worse still was the lie spoken by Aaron but how his life was spared. Is God really a merciful and gracious God? (more…)


1 Peter 3:13-18
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.

As I interact with people at work, in my neighborhood, through common friends, etc. I have come to realize that there are two different worlds we live in because our calling and motivations are different. The two worlds are diametrically opposite because of who heads each world and it is obvious. Two challenges we face in living in both worlds are to be able to determine which side we are on and then to hold to our beliefs for the glory of the way we believe is right. I am a christian and I find that as much as I try, my calling requires me to stand apart from those who are not and show them the one who called me from darkness into light. The result is that I face the jeers of those who are not Christian as they are happy being in their skin and living in their knowledge or lack of. What does God have to say to those of us who He has saved from the darkness into His light? (more…)