44 I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. 45 I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy. (Leviticus 11:44-45 NIV)
The phrase “I am the Lord your God” appears 39 times in the Bible, 21 of those in Leviticus.
Is this phrase “I am the Lord your God” a means of emphasis? It certainly seems to be one of causation – do this because I am the Lord your God. And this is emphasized by repetition of the claim “I am the Lord.”
Why is emphasis placed upon these dietary restrictions as also upon other key commands and instructions?
There is connection between being holy and being clean (vs. unclean).
The command to be holy is a consequence not only of God being the Lord but also of God’s holiness (again repeated).
God gives the Israelites specific instructions concerning how to live. This picture of how to live makes us an image of God’s holiness. Just as they built holy places of worship in earlier chapters, so they are to be built into holy people by their behavior. This may be part of what it means to be made in the image of God – to reflect, to embody God’s holiness. To become holy out of relationship with this holy God.
I am still thinking and listening about the connection God makes between cleanness and holiness. How to remain clean and how to apply these laws in a changing world comes up several times in Jesus’ teaching and ministry.
One thing this seems to suggest – and perhaps the point here – that just as coming into contact with unclean things makes one unclean so coming into contact with a holy God also transfers that cleanness, that holiness, to me.
Holy God, who is my God as surely as you were of Israel, make me holy because you are holy. Make me like you more and more. And make it visible, real. As it was clear what was clean and unclean and who was so, make me holy in ways that others can see. Not for my glory, but yours. Not for my praise, but yours. Because you are holy make me holy, Lord. Amen.