Holy Is Not What You Think- Part 4
What does the Bible have to say about the word “holy” to make me desire this characteristic?
Defining a word, most of us think we know can be futile if not done properly. I need you to clear your mind, close your eyes if you have to, as I attempt to show you the word “holy” in a different light. It’s funny that when people hear the word, they immediately associate it with actions like “speaking in tongues”. But did you know that the word “holy” is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible with no reference of anyone speaking in an unknown language? Just felt the need to debunk that myth right away.
An Uncommon Practice – Reading the Bible
The first church to ever encourage us to read our Bible from cover to cover led to this different light we discovered about the word “holy”. A little more than a decade ago, we began reading The One Year Bible. Please note for some of you who know me personally, this is not the first time I’ve ever read the Bible from beginning to end. I did that in college. Nonetheless, this was the first time I’d attended a church who encouraged its members to read The One Year BIble each year. Can you image how many churches I’ve fellowshipped with and why it’s surprising that many churches neglect this practice? What kind of church doesn’t encourage reading through the whole Bible? Matters for another day. Please stay with me.
As we read through its pages, I noticed something. The Bible used the term “holy” unlike we do in “normal” circumstances. How can this be? From Genesis through Lamentations, we found phrases like holy day, holy assembly, holy nation, holy use, holy people, holy sanctuary, holy place, holy altar and on and on. But is wasn’t until we came across a verse in the book of Ezekiel, my favorite book of the Bible I might add, that the meaning of the word came together. I fell in love with Ezekiel. I don’t know anyone who loves the book of Ezekiel. Go figure. There are several passages (group of verses) that spoke to me. Then I saw one that was repeated in other books, but this time it stuck:
“They [the sanctioned priests] will teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is common…” – bible.com/116/ezk.44.23.nlt
The Real Meaning
Teach the people the difference between (a) what is “holy” and (b) what is common.
What is “common” and what’s something other than “common” – holy.
I noticed for the 1st time that “holy” is the opposite of “common”. Even the dictionary doesn’t give the word this light. Let me unpack this thought a little more by introducing you to two words where our present day word “holy” derived:
- Kadash or Qodesh [Hebrew] – to set apart, to distinguish, to hallow
- Hagios [Greek] – different, unlike, set apart, separation, separateness
Can you imagine with me for a second that God sanctioned His representatives to perform a duty of teaching the people not to be “common”? Not to be ordinary? Not to be average? Or in other words, He wanted them to stop being “normal”.
“You are to distinguish between the holy and the common…” – bible.com/59/lev.10.10.esv
This statement is repeated a few times in the Bible. Why is it no one has ever mentioned this to us before? Well, I don’t know the answer to that, other than it’s an important truth that you need and society, the devil, and anything else that wishes to keep you from succeeding in life doesn’t want you to know. I’m not surprised that it’s shielded from you.
What would happen if you decided and knew you could:
- Set yourself apart from the rest?
- Distinguish yourself outside the group?
- Make your name significant to others?
- Be the difference in your family?
- Live unlike anyone else?
- Separate yourself from the things and issues that hold you back?
With that definition of “holy”, who doesn’t want to be “holy”? Holy is not what you think.
Leave your thoughts and comments on the subject below.