Tonight marked the first night of our “Gross, Weird, True” Bible study that is looking at strange things from the Bible and what we can learn from them. We kicked things off with a lesson about poop. I know it sounds a bit strange, but I used a passage in Deuteronomy that deals with excrement to kick off a discussion of God’s holiness. I thought I would put my notes here. You can read more after the jump. (One note, when you are talking about poop, Deuteronomy will get a few giggles.)
Note: The complete “Gross, Weird, True” Bible study can be found here.
When you get to be my age, and have 2 little boys you can talk a long time about poop, and the importance of a good one. Between potty training, changing diaper, and trying to get enough fiber poop sort of dominates my average day.
Would you be surprised to know that the Bible talks about poop too? The Bible also talks about several other strange things and strange events. Over these next few weeks I want to look at them, mainly because I think they are neat, but also because I think there are some important lessons we can learn from them.
Read Deuteronomy 23:12-14 This chapter is giving some rules about what is to happen when the men of Israel go off to war.
What is the command of God here in these passages?
Why does he tell them to do this?
Why else do you think this is beneficial?
One thing that I think is interesting is that God doesn’t tell the people to do this all the time. At the time of Deuteronomy they are still wandering in the desert. They aren’t in cities yet so they will be camping all the time, and yet God doesn’t tell them to set up outside latrines at every stop. He only tells them to do it when they are going to war.
God is serious about holiness. When the army was assembled he wanted to make sure that they were taking their lives and their actions as serious as he was.
God intends for us to be holy. And this wasn’t only an Old Testament idea. Check out what Peter says in 1 Peter 1:13-16 We are to be holy like God is holy. That is a pretty big order.
What does it mean to be holy?
What are some synonyms for holy?
To be holy is to be set apart, to be different, to be undefiled, uncorrupted. That is what we are called to be.
When looking through the old testament you see many references to God’s holiness and many different festivals and rituals that he ordained so that people would be sure to remember that he really is holy. We also see things such as the killing of Uzza for touching the ark as God showing how much He values holiness.
So we see that God values holiness a great deal, and then he tells us that we are to be like him, that we are to be holy. Think about that for a moment.
What does “being holy” mean in the life of a teenager? What would it look like?
Of course there are the obvious things, don’t drink, do drugs, smoke, cuss, have sex until you are married, or look at porn.
But there are some more subtle things too. Holiness means keeping yourself away from hateful thoughts about other, it means to not only stop doing things, but start doing holy things. Holiness is about standing up for others and cutting out gossip and backbiting.
That is what God has called us to be. We are to be holy, we are to clean up our lives.
So how can we do this? How in the world can we have the strength to actually be holy? We are holy because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.
God himself, the third part of the godhead, the Holy Spirit dwells in you if you are a Christian.
If you aren’t a Christian then that is where holiness starts. If you are a Christian then you have the Holy Spirit working and giving you strength to change from the inside out.
But that means that you will have to decide that holiness is something that you actually want. It means that you are going to be willing to clean your life up, and go out of your way to live the way that God wants.
And why should you do that? Because you are told to by the God who created you probably should be enough of an answer, but that isn’t the answer that God gives.
You should do it because that is how you succeed in this world. God’s ways aren’t just arbitrary ruiners of fun. They are laws designed to help you to make it, to save you from unnecessary pain and to help you live fulfilled.
I want to close with an activity that is both silly and serious,
(Here I played “What do I know of Holy” by Addison Road and asked the students to take one of the sheets you can download below and find a space to be alone to work through the sheets.)