Study from various sections of Deut. 5, Exod. 22, Deut. 16, Lev. 19, Deut. 12 – 13, and Deut. 17; Passage for Reflection: Leviticus 19: 28 … NIV Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourself. I am the Lord.
My Journal for Today: Today my trek through God’s word, under the shepherding of F. LaGard Smith, in The Daily Bible In Chronological Order, took me through several sections reviewing how God imparted his laws to His people through Moses, as the called and anointed “Law Giver.” And though Moses was the agent of the law being imparted to God’s people, God, and God alone, was “THE Law Giver.” And we see just how detailed the laws could be for the Israelites; but they all were designed to set God’s chosen people aside from the world of that day, to protect them from evil (which, of course, included themselves), and, above all, to honor and glorify the One True God.
And today, in his devotional, Dr. Smith singles out one of these laws which was given to the Israelites, dealing with the avoidance of a pagan practice of the day, which was marking the body, including tattooing. And right before this one law, we read in Lev. 19: 27, [to the men of Israel] “Do not cut the hair at the sides of sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.”
Even today in the obvious personal practices of the Hasidic Jews, we see these laws lived out in the way the Hasidic men display their very orthodox observance of God’s Mosaic laws; and we ought to be able to see how it sets them apart from the world in their very close observance of the ancient bodily practice laws which God laid down for His people through Moses.
But why then don’t we see orthodox Evangelical Christians observing these personal practice laws the same way as the Hasidic Jews do? Well, we could get into a long discussion here about the fact that our day – the age of grace and of the New Covenant – follows the example of Jesus, The Christ, in what we think, say, and do. And God’s Law (and all those laws which set apart God’s people from the pagan cultures which surrounded them in that age/culture) is not part of our day as we follow Christ as our Law Giver.
But when we can see from those past laws and their observance how they might apply to our lives, we can learn from them and let them teach us how to honor God through what we do or don’t do for Him and in His Name. And you don’t have to have a Ph.D. in Theology to see that tattooing or cutting one’s body to set the self apart for the observance of worldly or selfish pleasure dishonors God and would therefore be considered a sinful practice. Tattooing marks the body permanently; and we who are Christians need to recognize that we are already permanently marked in the Temple (i.e., the body) God has given us by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, Who will display in and through us the marks of Christ, which are the fruit of His Spirit (see Gal. 5: 22-23). We don’t need any bodily marking to set ourselves apart in the world and display Christlikeness for all to see. So, there is Spiritual validity for all the ages in the command given by Moses to God’s people to avoid being like the pagans with the marking/tattooing of the body as a way for showing that the flesh is on display to honor pagan gods and/or worldly idols.
In application here, we need to ask ourselves if the markings of God’s Spirit are on us for all the world to see to Whom we belong. Does the world see God’s markings of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control in the way we live our lives? Or do we find ourselves tattooing our lives with the marks of the world and the trappings of selfish pursuit? Can the world see the permanent tattoo of Christ emblazoned on our very being; or do we have idolatry tattooed on our soul which dishonors God by the way we live our lives?
Choices are the tattoos of our Christian living.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I so desire that others see Your permanent eternal marking on my soul from the way I choose to live. Amen