I hope you are well! I thought it would be nice to take a moment to unpack a portion of scripture that I believe will encourage us to share the Gospel with all those the Lord places in our paths.
“They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and explain to them the difference between the clean and the unclean.” Ezekiel 44v23.
I am currently completing a study through Ezekiel and found this wonderful word was an admonishment given from the Lord, by the prophet, for the priest of Israel. These are words given for a future date because at this time, the nation and the prophet were in captivity. I think this is why I find it so important.
What was impressed upon me was the charge given to the priest to teach the people the difference between the holy and the common. Why would the priest need to teach the difference between the holy and the common, it seems simple enough. I believe humanity has a proclivity to see things as meaningless especially if it is small or insignificant in the eyes and opinions of the majority. This oftentimes includes people who unfortunately become marginalized because they do not fit the world's definition of valuable. For this reason, I believe instruction on what is holy and what is common is critically important.
Now, many times I've heard preachers associate holy as the opposite of sin but reading this verse in Ezekiel sheds much-needed light on the subject. The scripture clearly describes the difference between holy as being common. And I don't want us to miss that! I am going to say it again, the opposite or difference of holy is common.
Some may argue this is the Old Testament and for the priest of that time only, but the only difference between the words for them and us is the context that they were under the Law. Jesus has fulfilled the Law and we have been given the Holy Spirit. So why is this word applicable for us today? I believe we are given the same charge to teach the difference between the holy and the common for the simple fact people do not discern it; the question becomes how?
First, I believe it is important to understand the definitions: The word holy means to be set apart.
Holy קֹ֖דֶשׁ (qō·ḏeš)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 6944: 1) apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness 1a) apartness, sacredness, holiness 1a1) of God 1a2) of places 1a3) of things 1b) set-apartness, separateness.
The word common means: done often, usual, ordinary.
Common לְחֹ֑ל (lə·ḥōl)
Preposition-l | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2455: 1) profaneness, commonness, unholy, profane, common, sand.
I am sure you are asking how does this become our responsibility as believers in Christ, here is the foundation for our responsibility: The Apostle John reminds us,
“and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has set us free from our sins by his blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father — to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1v5-6.
The Apostle Peter also reminds us,
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”1 Peter 2v9
Therefore, since we are priests and kings to our God, we are also given the charge to teach people the difference between the holy and the common ~ for all intense purposes, teaching individuals their value through the Gospel message.
Consider, if people believe they are common, insignificant, or unimportant; they live marginal subpar lives. It is impossible to tap into their God-given potential because there is no faith to believe it or the capacity to see it. They must be aquatinted with the Father’s love first and foremost. I know this was my story before I became a follower of Jesus. And, unfortunately, at times as a believer, when I find myself feeling defeated in life, it's usually associated with a momentary or seasonal lapse in my thinking where I've reduced myself to being common by forgetting Whose I am or who I am in Him. What about you?
While meditating on this verse, I considered the fact I have two sets of dishes. One used for every day (dishware) and another used for special occasions (china). In the case of dishware, it wouldn't hurt the china if I use it for meatloaf; but this isn't true with most other things in life and certainly not of people. When things are misused there are untoward consequences. Abuse, by definition, is to misapply, mistreat, misemploy, mishandle, and isn't this what happens every day when we don't remember who we are in Christ and most definitely for those who have yet encountered Him. We miss opportunities to do great things for God because we misuse time, talents, people, things.
Sometimes we dismiss our lives and the lives of those around us as common, treating everyday as mundane, as if every day is the same, but it's not. I want you to consider that there has never been the same second, let alone the same day. Never! Think about that; the moment we shared just a second ago is altogether different from this moment right now. It can be hard for our minds to comprehend if we approach it with a finite view, but let's embrace our eternal heritage, seeing things in the Spirit. From a heavenly perspective, every moment is precious, and thinking this way reorients our thoughts to celebrate all things, even the seemingly small things and even the hard things. We come to understand; our entire life is sacred unto God. The question is do we realize it?
We are known by Him, created to know and be loved by Him, thus deriving our value from Him, and this understanding enables us to walk embracing our new nature in Him. I am convinced, the enemy has hoodwinked humanity into thinking life is just whatever, but it's not. As I write these words, I consider the fact; even the ants know God and, in their daily task, bring Him glory, but humanity is blinded into thinking everything is commonplace, and much of it doesn’t really matter beginning with their lives. It's just another day. It's just whatever. I feel the ping of conviction because I often say, whatever as though the thing I'm speaking of doesn't matter, but in reality, if it didn't matter I wouldn't even be engaging in the conversation. At this moment, I'm considering how radically different my life will become as I kee at the forefront of my mind that I am holy unto the Lord. Saying it stirs something inside me that I have no words to describe.
It is vital for us as believers to remember, we are not common. In doing so, we walk differently able to share our journey with those who are struggling to believe and encourage those who are of the household of faith. The Gospel is our value inscribed on the heart of God and is seen in the hands and feet of Jesus (Revelation 5v6). The Gospel is where we see and experience the love of God. Beloved, we are continually liberated as we hear it, believe it, and share it. The Good News is the difference between the holy and the common. Those who hear and believe are set apart unto God. This is how instruction on the difference between the holy and the common can be applied today.
Therefore, just as in the instance of the dishes, there must be an awareness or distinguishing of the different types for them to be used appropriately. It is the same with humanity. If people have no idea, they are created by a loving God and Father, endowed with gifts and talents, how can they be used or use their abilities appropriately? So much of what we see today is a creation destined for holiness, set-apartness unto God, living as common. They have not learned the difference between the holy and the common and this is why I think this word is so important today.
If people have no idea they are created by God, for God, and set apart (holy) unto God, it is impossible to surrender as an instrument to be used in the hands of God. It is only when we believe we set apart unto God, that we give our lives wholly to God, thereby seizing every opportunity to be used by God, giving us great joy in God and bringing Him glory.
Beloved, let's fulfill our calling, teaching the difference between the holy and the common by sharing the Gospel, and living each moment as precious and significant in the Kingdom of God.