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Good Morning.

You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying. You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:26-28)

With these verses, the Bible lists a number of things that God’s people should not participate in. For believers, some of these prohibitions would be self-evident while some might cause us to scratch our heads and wonder about it’s purpose. However, the overriding principle within these different commands is, “Don’t behave the way unbelievers do.” For instance, just because the nations feel that divination and soothsaying is acceptable, God’s people should not. Frankly that is a no-brainer, as they say, but what about some of these other instructions?

The people of Canaan were known to cut themselves in pagan rituals as a means of “sacrifice” to their gods. You will recall that Elijah encountered this when he confronted the prophets of Ba’al on Mt. Carmel. This cutting also including disfiguring their beards or cutting bald spots on their heads in honor of their different gods. They might make cuts into their skin and leave permanent markings that paid homage to their different deities. The point God was making was that His people should not follow their example or be swayed by their influence. Don’t do these things as an act of submission to their gods nor do it as a way of worshiping the one and only God. Worship Him in the way that He has prescribed.

The lesson that we can take from this is to be careful not to follow the trends and whims of society as we seek to worship a holy God. In other words, we shouldn’t emulate culture’s way of doing things just to get more people into the pew. If we truly wish to please our Father in Heaven, we need to emulate Him. That might not be as appealing to the culture but when has holiness and righteousness ever appealed to culture? We need to be of the mindset and conviction that Elijah demonstrated on Mount Carmel: “If Ba’al is god, then serve Ba’al. If the LORD is God, then serve Him — and do it His way.” When we follow the Almighty in the way that honors Him, He will show Himself to be God to us and to the world.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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