“The priests…will teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is common, what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They will serve as judges to resolve any disagreements among my people. Their decisions must be based on my regulations. And the priests themselves must obey my instructions and decrees at all the sacred festivals, and see to it that the Sabbaths are set apart as holy days.” 44:23-24
The priests are given tall orders and a hefty job description; this calling is no joke. Resolving arguments among people based on God’s expectations? That requires knowing God’s expectations and exercising a lot of wisdom. And patience. Lots and lots of patience. Teaching people the difference between what is holy and what is unholy? Clean and unclean? This is serious work. That’s why God calls them to be sober, level-headed people, wearing light clothing so they don’t break a sweat. (Seems like a weird rule, but these people were regularly working around altar fires. Not only were they more comfortable in lighter clothing, but a sweaty, dirty face doesn’t exactly resemble cleanliness.)
We hold a similar calling. Although the dividing curtain in the Temple is torn and we all have equal access to God’s presence (Matthew 27:51), followers of Jesus are still part of a priesthood.
“…for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Did you catch the part where Levitical priests have to change out of their clothes before entering the outer courtyard (44:19)? Because the holiness of God, lingering on their clothing like the smell of a magnificent campfire, might endanger the outsiders? I get goosebumps realizing how much I downplay God’s holiness. We too, have a hefty job description and tall orders to follow. We are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.
Are you equipping yourself to point God’s people toward him? To help sort through conflicts and handle them well? Are you obeying the Sabbath?
Or rather, are you trusting God and stepping back, remembering who you serve and admiring his holiness? Skipping the Sabbath isn’t doing anyone any favors. No one’s impressed with how busy you are or how many plates you’re spinning. Running on empty is disrespectful to God’s design of an abundant life. Resting in his presence is showing others his goodness!
I’m humbled by my limited understanding of God’s holiness. And thankful for his son, Jesus, who intercedes so that we can have full access to such a holy God!