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We can quickly forget the sacredness of objects and people if we’re not careful.

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The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. 12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you. 13 Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the Lord, God of Israel, “There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.” 14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. And the tribe that the Lord takes by lot shall come near by clans. And the clan that the Lord takes shall come near by households. And the household that the Lord takes shall come near man by man. 15 And he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.’”

 

God doesn’t beat around the bush with sin. He directly tells Joshua, “Israel has sinned” – because one man stole something sacred and tried to cover it up. His name was Achan. The book of Joshua tells us Achan took “devoted things” or consecrated things, and in so doing, broke covenant with God and jeopardized the welfare of the whole community. But, God doesn’t stop there. He gives the whole community something they could do. God’s instructs them to be consecrated.

To consecrate is to dedicate for a sacred purpose. In the Old Testament, consecration went one step beyond the act of cleansing. After an object or a person was cleansed, they could be set apart, dedicated or sanctified for a holy purpose. God set this pattern into the very fabric of creation when he consecrated one day of the week to be holy unto him (Genesis 2:3) and then, after sin entered the world, he gave detailed instructions for consecrating both offerings and people. You can read through lengthy lists of how and when to consecrate objects and people in the book of Leviticus to get the gist of just how important this process was to God.

But, the act of consecration became such a regular ritual within the Hebrew community, it was easy to overlook its significance. The same thing happens with sacred things in our world. We can quickly forget the sacredness of objects and people if we’re not careful. Hebrews 10:19 says, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,” God went to extreme measures to consecrate those who believe. Now, we’re set apart for God and for his sacred purposes. By forgetting the significance of our sacred role, like Achan, we may easily break covenant with God and jeopardize the welfare of those around us. Today, remind yourself of your sacred purpose. Turn the words of Romans 12:1-2 into a prayer for God’s wisdom to live as one set apart for him.

 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed
by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern
what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
– Romans 12:1-2

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By Yvonne Biel 

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