I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations. You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground — those that I have set apart as unclean for you. 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 20:24b-26
Note how carefully God identifies himself with each one of these instructions. He signs his name, as it were, after each one. He gives us a practical admonition and then says,
I am the LORD your God. The name he uses here is his covenant name:
I am Jehovah. That is,
I am the Living One, the Eternal One, the Sufficient One. I am the God who is Enough. That is what Jehovah means.
What is God trying to impart to us by this format? Two things are involved. The first is authority. This underscores something very important. It is that we must discover how to distinguish between right and wrong, truth and error, on the basis of what God says — if we are in relationship to him. There is a different standard for the people of God.
This is very practical, because God is reality. What God says and what he sees and how he looks at life is the way life is. If you look at it in some other way, then you are being unrealistic. You are out of step with reality and are trying to live according to an illusion, a fantasy, a figment of your imagination. Such ideas and standards may be widespread. There may be lies which are believed sincerely and devotedly by people around you and which govern their way of living. But God is saying,
Not for you. Not for my people. I am your God, and I am telling you the truth, the way life is, what will hurt you and what will not. So believe me, because I am the LORD your God.
But he is not only authority; he is also resource. This is the second reason why he gives his name right along with each command. He says,
Do this, or don't do that: I am the LORD your God. What does he mean? He means,
I am available to you. I am the strength by which you can do what I command. I never tell you to do something without making available to you the power to do it.
Have you discovered what Paul discovered and recorded for us in Romans 7 — that you cannot do all the things you'd like to do and know you ought to do, that you want to but somehow cannot? This is the way Paul puts it, from his own experience:
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate... (Romans 7:18-20) If you feel that way, God understands that. It is the most common problem of life. What you are lacking is power, the power to respond. You must learn that there is another source of power, that you can reckon on
the God who is there, the God who is available to you. And that is why God signs his name this way several times.
Here is something to do, or not to do: I am the LORD your God — standing here, available to you, ready for you to draw upon my strength. When you start drawing on it you can do, or not do, what I command by the power of an available God, the God who is Enough. I am Jehovah.
Father, help me to see that simply being moral, being fair to someone else and treating them as they treat us, is not the level of life upon which you expect me to live. Your level is much higher. I am to be loving in return for evil. I can do that only by the grace that is in you, Lord Jesus. Help me to obey you in this and to expect to see your life at work in me.
What are two important and essential ways in which Jehovah God is made available to His people, so that we may live by His realistic Truth about life? Are we trusting His Authority and the Resource of His indwelling Presence and Power?