January 24, 2008


Deuteronomy 23:1-14

You] must be holy ...
Deuteronomy 23:14


In some cases yet today, people with smallpox, tuberculosis, or other communicable diseases may be excluded from daily contact with others. For the sake of the health of the community they are quarantined. Once they are healed or no longer a threat, they can again join their family, friends, and community.

In ancient Israel not everyone was allowed into the presence of God-only those who were clean. Israelites who were unclean according to the law needed cleansing before they could join the worship of God's people. Some conditions prevented people from worship for life-an almost unbearable burden, if not for the Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 16). Others were not allowed to join in worship because they opposed God's people. In these ways God taught the people to reflect his holiness. Nothing could stain purity or break wholeness.

As sinners, however, we are all stained and broken. So we give thanks that Christ came to cleanse his people from their sin, to open the way for all who are broken in body and heart to enter into the assembly of the faithful. That's what Philip told a eunuch from Ethiopia, and he was baptized (Acts 8:26-40).

Confession of sin and belief in Christ break the quarantine that keeps us from God. Offer him your heart and life, that you may be given new life in him today.

"Lord Jesus, I want to be perfectly whole." Thank you for coming to cleanse my sins by your blood, and please live in my soul forever. In your name I pray. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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