I’ve been thinking about how Pastor Phil talked about the need for people to bring pure oil to the priests and of what we need to purify in our lives to live out our separation from our "Egypt." Going through the reading plan in Exodus and Leviticus can feel a bit daunting and a bit of a grind to work through, but it certainly forces you to confront what it means to live a separate and sacred life as a people called out by a holy God.

It is startling to read of instances where people brought their offerings to God and the fire of God came down and consumed it and the people shouted and fell face down (Leviticus 9:24). I wonder when the reality of the holiness of God will so overwhelm us that when we come to worship, we not only experience emotions of peace and love, but we tremble in awe and feel undone in his presence, as Isaiah did when he encountered him (Isaiah 6:1-7).

Holiness has a lot of baggage in our culture. The only time you are likely to hear the word is in a derogatory sense of criticism when someone is acting self-righteously and “holier than thou.” It also seems to go against the grain to de-center ourselves and to feel small and powerless against a Being incomparably more powerful and good than we are. Life is hard enough as it is, and we want something to feel good about and encourage us. And encountering a holy God who is a consuming fire seems a bit . . . much.

But what if we really need this? What if the thing that would change our lives and revive our witness to the world is facing the reality of a holy God? What if we need to endure the experience of having our unclean lips touched with a burning coal from the altar of God? What if we humbly embraced his discipline because “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness (Hebrews 12:10)?” This is something we need to commit ourselves to. “A perpetual fire shall be kept burning on the altar; it shall not go out” (Leviticus 6:13).

by Steve Lamp
Steve and his wife Melissa began attending Kingsway in 2014. Not normally prone to public displays of emotion, he wept during the first worship service and knew he had found home. As an avid reader, Steve believes the ideas we allow into our minds are critical to our spiritual formation. He enjoys exploring nature, playing and spending time with his two young sons, and over-quoting his favorite authors, C.S. Lewis and Dallas Willard.




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