"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." ~ Deuteronomy14:2

Friday, July 24, 2009

Raising The Standard: Orderliness Is Maintaining Cleanliness And Good Grooming

Her ears were trained by practice to listen to the conversation of the street. Because she knew the pulse of the city she learned of important events such as the dinner that was to be held.
How Does Scripture Illustrate Orderliness In Inward Cleanliness?
She had pieced together the powerful teachings of One who was to attend. His words had exposed her secret life and brought deep conviction. The money that had been the object of her shameful life was now a convicting witness of her need to repent. She took the money, representing her only means of security, and exchanged it for the most fragrant perfume she could buy. What she wanted to do would no doubt give His enemies further cause for ridicule. Religious leaders accused Him of being a friend of sinners, but those in the street quoted Him as saying that He had come to seek and to save those who were lost. These words reassured her as she lipped into the house, an uninvited visitor, and waited for the guests to arrive. When He came she knelt down, kissed His feet and wept. Her tears splashed over his dusty feet and she wiped them with her long hair. As he gave her a reassuring and understanding nod, the host studied Him and concluded within himself, "He must not be a true prophet, or He would know how sinful this woman really is." The same depth of understanding that reassured the woman challenged the host. "A certain man loaned two people money. Five thousand dollars was loaned to one and five hundred dollars to the other. Neither one could repay their creditor, so he graciously forgave them both and let them keep the money. Who do you think loved him the most?" The host replied, "I suppose the one who owed him the most." By now the attention of all was upon the woman and the object lesson which her act of love became. The words brought stinging rebuke to the host and his guests. "See this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home you didn't offer me any water to wash the dust from my feet, but she washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You refused me the customary kiss of greeting, but she has kissed my feet again and again from the time I first came in. You neglected the usual courtesy of anointing my head with oil, but she has covered my feet with rare perfume. Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, the same shows only a little love." Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." She transformed a routine act of cleanliness which others minimized into a beautiful expression of love and gratitude --- an act which would be remembered for generations to come. (From Luke 7:36-50)
Why Did The Woman Want To Kiss And Anoint The Lord's Feet?
This was a sign of deep affection and reverence. To kiss a person's feet was not unusual among the Jews. It was also customary among the Greeks and Romans. For a person to kiss the feet of royalty was interpreted as a token of subjection and obedience. The woman had more spiritual discernment than Simon by recognizing that Jesus was more than the son of a carpenter from Nazareth. The ointment in her alabaster container may well have represented the better part of her savings. To pour this costly perfume on the Lord's feet indicated that she had come to the conclusion that this Man was worthy of all honor.
Why Was Simon So Indignant?
When Simon noticed the woman at Jesus' feet he said to himself, "This man, if he ware a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him; for she is a sinner." (Luke 7:39) The expression Simon used is often used for a woman known for her gross immorality. Such a woman was considered ceremonially unclean according to the traditions of the Pharisees and to come in contact with her would cause defilement and create the inconvenience of purification rites. In fact, a strict Pharisee would not come within six feet of another woman in public for fear of becoming defiled. For this woman of known ill-repute to actually touch the feet of a guest eating at his table filled Simon with contempt. If Jesus were a just man, Simon's logic would have been correct, but because he was the Son of God He was able to cleanse the sinner and remain undefiled.
Why Did The Lord Forgive The Woman And Not Simon?
Every gesture of the woman indicated complete humility and a sense of unworthiness in the presence of a person who was worthy of her total devotion. She knew that she was a sinner and she recognized her need for deliverance from bondage. She came to Him not with boasts of good works but with her faith that Jesus' word of forgiveness was no less than God's. The Lord forgave her by His grace, through her faith, and sent her away in peace. Simon, on the other hand, did not see himself as a bankrupt sinner for he looked on the woman with contempt. He didn't even believe the Lord was a prophet much less the Son of God. He felt no need for a Forgiver and so he remained in his sin. The energetic beaver works from dusk to dawn busily cutting trees for building material and food. The largest rodent of North America, the beaver is not too busy to maintain a comprehensive program of personal grooming and cleanliness.
How Does The Beaver Illustrate Orderliness In Outward Cleanliness? The beaver's ability to build huge earthen dams, elaborate canals and an underwater home has earned it acclaim for its skillful engineering. But the beaver has another quality which is just as distinguishing if less familiar. The quality is that of orderliness.
The beaver takes great care and spends much time to maintain good grooming and cleanliness. Two techniques which it uses are unusual for different reasons. Both procedures require special tools --- one is "built in" and the other is acquired. The first procedure is the beaver's unconventional way of taking a bath to rid itself of irritating fleas and parasites. It ambles about, looking for a particular mound of earth. Once it finds the mound, it flops on top of it and begins to shuffle in a sprawled position. Soon ants are crawling all over its thick fur. But rather than being irritated by these creatures, the beaver seems to enjoy their attention. To a naive bystander the procedure would be totally incomprehensible, but the beaver's actions make perfect sense to him. The ants are having a holiday as they scurry through the fur of the beaver, ferreting out and eating annoying parasites. Both parties benefit. The second technique which the beaver employs involves its own grooming or "louse catching" claws. These claws, located on the two inner toes, are like combs. The combs are specialized --- one is used for course combing, the other for fine. Running these claws through the fur, the beaver rakes out harmful parasites and snarls which would slow its streamlined speed in the water. These claws also aid the beaver in waterproofing its coat as it redistributes natural oils. When a beaver leaves the water, it spends much time wiping, combing and water proofing its fur. Because it maintains such a vigorous program of cleanliness and good grooming, the beaver is remarkably free from parasites which plague less fastidious animals.

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