Draw Close to God

“I Jehovah Your God Am Holy”

Leviticus Chapter 19

“HOLY, holy, holy is Jehovah God.” (Revelation 4:8) With those words, the Bible attributes to Jehovah holiness, which involves purity and cleanness, to the superlative degree. God is completely separate from sinfulness; he cannot be defiled or tainted by sin in any way. Does this mean that imperfect humans are hopelessly alienated from the supremely holy God? By no means! Let us consider the hope-filled words recorded in Leviticus chapter 19.

Jehovah told Moses: “Speak to the entire assembly of the sons of Israel.” The words that followed applied to everyone in the nation. What was Moses to tell them? God continued: “You must say to them, ‘You should prove yourselves holy, because I Jehovah your God am holy.’” (Verse 2) Each Israelite was to demonstrate holiness. The words “you should” show that this was not a suggestion but a command. Was God expecting the impossible?

Notice that Jehovah mentioned his own holiness, not as a standard to be equaled, but as a reason behind the commandment. In other words, Jehovah did not tell his imperfect worshippers in Israel to be as holy as he is. That would be impossible. Jehovah, “the Most Holy One,” is superior to all others in holiness. (Proverbs 30:3) However, because Jehovah is holy, he expects his worshippers to be holy​—that is, to the extent possible for imperfect humans. In what ways could they prove themselves holy?

After giving the command to be holy, Jehovah through Moses outlined requirements that involved every aspect of life. Each Israelite was expected to obey such standards of conduct as the following: demonstrate proper regard for parents and older ones (verses 3, 32); show consideration for the deaf, the blind, and other afflicted ones (verses 9, 10, 14); be honest and impartial in dealing with others (verses 11-13, 15, 35, 36); and love his fellow worshipper as himself. (Verse 18) By holding to these and the other standards mentioned, the Israelite would “indeed prove to be holy to [his] God.”​—Numbers 15:40.

The command regarding holiness gives us valuable insight into the thinking and ways of Jehovah God. For one thing, we learn that in order to have a close relationship with him, we need to do our best to live in harmony with his standards of holy conduct. (1 Peter 1:15, 16) By holding to those standards, we can enjoy the best way of life possible.​—Isaiah 48:17.

The command to be holy also reflects Jehovah’s confidence in his worshippers. Jehovah never expects more of us than we can do. (Psalm 103:13, 14) He knows that we humans, who are made in his image, have within us the potential to cultivate holiness​—at least in a relative sense. (Genesis 1:26) Are you moved to learn more about how you can draw closer to the holy God, Jehovah?

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We have within us the potential to cultivate holiness