Dirt does hurt
Are you familiar with the saying “God made dirt, dirt don’t hurt”? It’s one of those things you may have been told as a child to help you get over reservations of getting dirty. Well, as it turns, dirt can hurt!
Ps.24:3-4- Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
Being unclean can keep us out of the presence of God. This is actually referring to a different kind of dirt-spiritual and moral instead of physical. But where did King David get that imagery for his poetry? It originated hundreds of years earlier in the giving of the Law. Leviticus 10:10 taught, “You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean”. If you read the book of Leviticus it details what things can become unclean, what sources of contamination are, and it also outlines the process of purification to once again be restored to a status of ‘clean’.
It can be easy to glaze over as we read through those parts of Scripture that seemingly have no relevance to our lives today. But could there possibly be something useful in all this? Please say it is so! Believing that the biblical canon is divinely inspired, it must have some value for my life! It boils down to hermeneutic (interpretation). What is the principle behind these laws given to another people in a different time and place? What did God intend for these laws to do? If Christ is the fulfillment of the law (Mt. 5:17), and the Old Testament is to point to Christ (Luke 24:27), then we need to see the Old Testament through the lens of Christ.
Euguene Peterson put it this way (Galatians 3): 23-24 Until the time when we were mature enough to respond freely in faith to the living God, we were carefully surrounded and protected by the Mosaic law. The law was like those Greek tutors, with which you are familiar, who escort children to school and protect them from danger or distraction, making sure the children will really get to the place they set out for.
The purity laws (Leviticus) legislated the external to speak to the inward realities. Humans are dirty and imperfect because of sin and living in a fallen world. That dirt separates us from our holy Creator and loving Heavenly Father. But he has provided the means to be able to approach him.
Through the lens of Covenant and Kingdom we saw how the Israelites continually took what God gave as a means of freedom (i.e the 10 Commandments)-a framework in which to be able to live in Covenant relationship and experience the abundant life of protection and provision- and turned them into a source of slavish bondage. The focus was on rules and not the Rule giver. Here specifically, of the purity laws and sacrificial system, we can say that what was meant to guide back to the Life Giver and Source was instead focused on and used to bring about division and separation.
Do you take serious the holiness of God? Do you take seriously your sinfulness? Have you embraced with thanksgiving the provision God has made for you to be able to be in Covenant relationship with him? Don’t let the dirt hurt you. You can be made clean!