(Part 13)


March 24, 2017

Today’s readings:

Hosea 14:2-10

Psalm 81:6-17

Mark 12:28-34

We are called to holiness. We are a people set apart. In today’s readings, we see three basic aspects of holiness.

First, it is a call to fidelity to the one true God. “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!” (Mk 12:29). This means we can have no other gods; we cannot fall into idolatry. “There shall be no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god.” (Ps 81:10). Today there are many gods, foremost of which is mammon. Christians fall into materialism, consumerism and hedonism. These bring us away from God, and into lives of secular humanism and selfism.

Second, it is a call to a life of love. We are to love God and neighbor. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. …. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mk 12:30-31). We are to love God with our all, with our whole being. Our lives are dedicated to Him alone. Then we are to love His other children, whom He loves.

Three, it is a call to a life of righteousness. “Straight are the paths of the Lord, the just walk in them” (Hos 14:10b). God longs for His people to be righteous and holy. “O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways” (Ps 81:14). If we do not, then not only will we be a people not set apart for God, but God Himself will set us apart, away from him, to fend for ourselves. “So I thrust them away to the hardness of their heart; ‘Let them walk in their own machinations.’” (Ps 81:13).

If we are a holy people, set apart for God, then we can look to God for protection and provision. We would be a victorious people. “In a moment I would humble their foes, and turn back my hand against their oppressors.” (Ps 81:15). We would be well provided for. “But Israel I will feed with the finest wheat, I will satisfy them with honey from the rock.” (Ps 81:17). We would be fruitful in all we do. “I will be like the dew for Israel: he will blossom like the lily; …. From me fruit will be found for you!” (Hos 14:6a,9d).

The call to holiness is not a burden but a blessing. As we strive to be faithful, loving and righteous, we can hear our God say to us, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mk 12:34b).

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