Set Apart to Serve God
You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. Leviticus 20:26
Washed, clothed, and anointed before the entire community. What was occurring—a wedding, a coronation? No. Something much more important: the consecration of a priest.
After their anointing, the priests offered both atonement and thanksgiving sacrifices. In this way they were sanctified, or “set apart,” for God’s service (Leviticus 8:1-36). The Hebrew word is qadash, also translated dedicate, hallowed, devote, and holy.*
Peter affirms that all Christians are members of God’s holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5-9). We have been washed in the blood of Christ, clothed in His righteousness, and anointed with the Holy Spirit to serve God
Both Paul and John discuss the anointing of the Spirit. In 2 Corinthians 1:21, Paul writes, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” John says, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth . . . As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you” (1 John 2:20-21).
These passages confirm that every Christian is part of God’s holy priesthood and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit. He remains in us because He is, as Paul said, “the seal of ownership”—the proof that we’ve been adopted into God’s family. Jesus’ blood cleansed us from the penalty of sin, eternal death; the Holy Spirit’s anointing guarantees our eternal life.
Nevertheless, we should be mindful of Paul’s warning that we can quench the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives by wallowing in sinful practices (1 Thessalonians 5:19 with Ephesians 4:29-32). The levitical priests remained fit for God’s service by daily washing in the laver. We stay clean by allowing the Holy Spirit to identify our sins through prayer and Bible study and by confessing our sins (Exodus 30:18-21; James 1:22-25; 1 John 1:9).
God’s command is “be holy because I am holy.” In other words, keep your lives clean. Am I honoring my role as God’s anointed priest by remaining fit for His service?
Read Leviticus 8. What other connections do you see between the levitical priesthood and our walk of faith? (You might also want to read Romans 12:1-2 in the light of the consecration ceremony.)
Read 2 Timothy 2:19-26. What “cleansing” regimen did Paul advise Timothy to practice? Do you need to add a step to your spiritual cleansing routine?
Read Psalm 15. In what ways does David’s description of those who are fit to serve God mirror Paul’s advice to Timothy?
For more information on the work of the Holy Spirit, study these passages: John 7:37-39, John 16:12-15, Romans 8:12-17, 26-27, Galatians 5:16-26, and Ephesians 5:18-21.
For two other devotions on the Holy Spirit, see Walking in the Spirit and The Comforter under Dig into Words.
Denise K. Loock
*Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for qadash (Strong’s 6942)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 11 Apr 2013. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?