Ever think about those times in the desert when Israel wandered for 40 years? Time and time again, God would do some divine miracle, and time and time again after, Israel would rebel, complain, and look longingly back to their days of slavery. Yet God moved. God built laws to help Israel in their struggles, and what it all came down to was found in the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9): 4 “Hear [and obey], O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." The Laws, at face value, may seem foreign, strange, and stringent to us in our modern era, and even from a Modern Christian perspective. Why were they given? What makes the Shema (Hear and, Obey) so important to us in an era where we do not follow the laws of Israel in the Old Testament? Simply put, the laws were not there to make anyone good. They were laws for governing a nation. More importantly, they were laws about purity that would govern a people that God desired to walk in to their midst. Imagine for a moment, someone you invited to live in your home coming in with muddy feet (all the time), disrespecting your house rules and customs, and being blatantly disrespectful to you and your family. Would you tolerate it for long? Neither would I. And yet, God invited Israel to walk with Him. His laws and customs existed so that people would not enter in to His presence disrespectfully, and in awe and wonder that the God of the Universe chose THEM to walk on Holy Ground, to be a people with their God living in their midst. Since Christ died, the ground has become more sacred, and since it has, we've profaned it all the more: YOU are the temple and house of the Holy Spirit. He's come to live inside YOU, walk with YOU and move through YOU. How do you give back to Him? Church, let us then seek to give Him our all. To love Him with all we are and have, and to love others with that same fervent love He shows us. You are on Holy Ground because He has made you Holy. Walk in Holiness, and when you make mistakes, or make profane what is sacred, ask forgiveness from the one who is faithful and just to forgive. Above all, seek to give your best, and watch how He draws near to you, as you seek to be close with Him.
1 Peter 2:1-12 English Standard Version (ESV)
A Living Stone and a Holy People
2 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”[a]
“A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:7 Greek the head of the corner