Leviticus 11 gives instructions on what can be eaten by the people. In fact, God goes into great detail as He speaks to Moses and Aaron on “instructions on animals, birds, fish and creatures that crawl on the ground”. It would take quite a bit to figure all this out. There are very detailed lists and directions on which animals could be eaten, and which could not. The key factors were the hooves and chewing of the cud. There is a debate over whether the New Testament changes the direction for what we should eat to be obedient to God. There are a number of passages that seem to indicate that laws regarding food were changed – as in Acts 10 when Peter gets the vision and is told to eat all kinds of animals. I don’t claim to be an expert here, but do know that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we need to take care of ourselves. So what we eat does matter. And how we care for our body is important to God.
I want to focus on why this all matters to God. He gives these words as He wraps up instruction in this chapter: “Make yourselves holy for I am holy….be holy because I am holy”. This is why things matter in the area of obedience. God wants us to become like Him. We are to strive for holiness. We are to work toward becoming holy in all we do. God desires us to live His way every day. He wants us to put off all the things that keep us from becoming holy. I am reminded of the book by Gary Thomas called sacred marriage where he asks “what if marriage is designed to make us holy, not happy”? How much of life is like that – God uses it to make us holy and we want to think that it is all about being happy. No where in scripture do I see a promise that life will be a bed of roses and we will be happy all the time. But all through scripture we see God’s desire to purify us from sin and make us holy. We may need to adjust our attitudes a bit because it seems we only want to focus on the happy part, and not the holy part. Yet God is pretty single minded on what His goal is for your life and mine – to make us holy. Are you living with that as your goal and focus – to become holy? Is that the priority and funnel through which you make decisions and choices each day? We need to go there and live that way. Some may say that cleanliness is next to godliness, but in fact holiness is next to godliness – I am sure you have heard that saying…..it is far more true than we know. We need to live clean and holy lives to please God. As we get holy, we get closer to God. And we achieve His goal for our lives – to make us become more like Him every day!