It’s that time of year again when Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are playing on my drive to and from work (and other times when I choose to “torture” my girls if we take my vehicle). I’ve been thinking again about the way God set down the Law, the plans He gave for the Tabernacle, and all that was associated with that time of transition for the Children of Israel. And two words seem to keep coming up over and over … set apart.
It dawns on my that God wanted the Israelites to be somebody different, somebody special. They were coming from slavery in Egypt and had been promised a land that could be theirs for the taking (provided they agreed to the whole Theocracy model - but that’s a different topic entirely). And, as part of it all, God laid out some pretty strict standards for them for their diets, health, governance, and worship. All of it, at least as I read it, was designed to differentiate them from the current inhabitants of Canaan and their pagan practices. God called them His people and He wanted them to “look and act” the part. It wasn’t so they would just appear like a bunch of nomadic oddballs, though. It was all part of His master design to continue His story of Redemption that shows His Power in its ultimate form.
So, how does this really apply to us several thousand years later? We’re not living under those laws and regulations (thank God for that!) We are a people who have seen the completion of that Redemption, right? Well, that’s all true. Yet Christ, setting the example, lived as Somebody radically different. He fulfilled all the Law so we don’t have to (that’s the legal/transactional part of the Redemption) and He laid the framework for us to live as a people distinct and unique because of that Redemption. He initiated the process of Restoration and invited us into Relationship with Him. And, if we truly hang around Him enough, we’re going to become somebody different ourselves.
The Crooked Path is crooked for a reason. It is different for all of us who travel it. But the One who ordains it lays out a common call to each of us … God asks us to live, think, act, and become different because of what He has done. He gives us Jesus as The Example and sets us all up for what He has in store ahead. I’m thinking that’s the kind of “different” I can embrace.