“All small animals that scurry along the ground are detestable, and you must never eat them. . . . Do not defile yourselves by touching them. You must not make yourselves ceremonially unclean because of them. For I am the Lord your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. So do not defile yourselves with any of these small animals that scurry along the ground. For I, the Lord, am the one who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy.”
(Leviticus 11:41, 43-45)
Leviticus 11:43-45 provides a key to understanding all of Leviticus. God prohibited the Israelites from eating and even touching certain “unclean” animals. He wanted the people to be totally separated from what he had forbidden. But there is more to this chapter than avoiding the wrong animals.
God wasn’t simply separating the people from something. He was separating them for something. God wants his people to be holy, just as he is holy. Holiness means being set apart, different, and unique. God said, “Do not defile yourselves”—that separated the people from sin. God said, “Consecrate yourselves and be holy”—that separated them for himself.
The people were wandering in the desert at this time, a perfect analogy for what God was doing. He delivered them from Egypt to separate them from worshiping idols. He was delivering them to the Promised Land where they could worship him alone and live justly. That is also why he designed laws to separate them—both socially and spiritually—from the wicked nations who lived in the Promised Land.
If you struggle with separating yourself from sin, focus on devoting yourself to worshiping God and serving others. You may find that when you do, you don’t have time for those old temptations.