Introduction: What does it mean to be holy? What probably comes to
mind is a cleric of some sort. Someone who is devoted exclusively to
religious work. If I told you that you needed to be holy in all that
you do, would that mean that you would have to change your
profession? The sanctuary teaches us something about being holy, so
let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Holy

    1. Read Exodus 25:8 and Leviticus 19:2. When a police car is
      following you, do you drive more carefully? When your boss
      is watching you, do you work better? When your parents are
      around, are you better behaved?

      1. If the answer to these questions is “yes,” do you
        think that is why God wants to be around us – to
        improve our behavior, to help us to be holy?

      2. Is that why parents want to be around their children
        – to be sure they behave? (No. Parents want to be
        around their children because they love them.)

      3. Let’s assume what I believe is true, God wants to be
        around us because He loves us. Why does He tell us to
        be holy because He is holy?

        1. Is God hoping that we will not embarrass Him?
          (If you review Job 1:6-11, the text suggests
          that God does take pleasure in our obedience.
          Thus, the opposite should also be true.)

    2. Read Genesis 2:3. What does it mean for the Sabbath to be

      1. When God tells us to be holy, does that make you feel
        good, or make you feel discouraged?

      2. If I asked you “Which day of the week do you think is
        most like you,” what would you say? (Who wants to be
        Monday? Why not be Saturday, the day God set aside as
        being special.)

      3. Is that a fair way to look at God’s command for us to
        be holy, that He wants us to be something special?

        1. Consider again the Sabbath. Is it being set
          apart that makes it holy? Or, is something else
          involved? (Consider that the Sabbath is
          intended to turn our minds to God. This
          suggests that being holy is to be set apart,
          and to draw attention to God.)

  2. Holy Work

    1. Read Exodus 31:1-5. Would you like to be Bezalel?

      1. Is he a “blue collar” or “white collar” worker? (He
        is blue collar, he works with his hands.)

      2. What is the first thing that God did to equip Bezalel
        (I’ll call him “Bez” for short)for working with his
        hands? (“Filled him with the Spirit of God.”)

        1. Does that make any sense?

        2. Does that have anything to do with being holy?
          (If being holy is being set apart, being
          special, then the answer is clearly, “yes!” The
          first step to Bez being a great craftsman is to
          determine to be special, to be set apart from
          the rest of the workers.)

    2. Re-read Exodus 31:3-5. What skills does Bez have? (He
      works with metal, gems and wood.)

      1. Who gave him those skills? (God says that He gave Bez
        “skill, ability and knowledge.)

      2. We think about God giving gifts to leaders. What
        about gifts to the people who do not lead? (God gives
        them gifts to be special. To be holy workers –
        meaning skilled above others.)

      3. Is it okay to desire to be better than others? To be
        the Sabbath among a bunch of Tuesday, Wednesday and
        Thursday workers? (This is part of being holy. God
        gives you the gift to be a better worker. God gives
        you the desire to be excellent!)

        1. The text we will read next tells us Bez is
          using his skills to create items for the
          sanctuary. When we think about the nature of
          Bez’s work, is his desire to be better bringing
          glory to himself? (He is making things for the
          sanctuary. Thus, his excellent craftsmanship
          causes others to think about God. He turns
          their minds to God. However, Bez is also in
          line for praise.)

    3. Read Exodus 31:6-11. Is it terrible to be Oholiab? Bez is
      excellent, but Oholiab is a helper. (You can be an
      excellent helper. Perhaps one day Oholiab will become a
      skilled craftsman like Bez. But, whatever the work put
      before us, we need to be excellent.)

      1. As a helper, does the work of Oholiab turn the mind
        to God? (Yes, because he is working with Bez who in
        turn is making things that turn the mind to God. It
        is a joint effort.)

    4. Look again at Exodus 31:7-11. How many craft skills do you
      find here?

      1. How important is the task of the workers who are
        making these items? (They are making items to be used
        in the presence of God, and they are making items
        that cause humans to reflect upon the things in

        1. Is the priest who makes the sacrifice on the
          altar more important than the person who
          crafted the altar?

  3. Holy Life

    1. Read 1 Kings 8:31-32. Assume that you left your car at the
      home of a friend for safekeeping. Your friend calls you
      later and tells you that your car is gone. What might have
      happened to your car? (The car might have been stolen. Or,
      it might have been sold by your friend.)

      1. This is the kind of situation described in 1 Kings
        8:31-32. (Compare Exodus 22:10-11.) The car owner
        does not know what happened, so the friend would come
        to the altar in the sanctuary and swear that he did
        not sell the car – he has no idea what happened to
        it. What does this have to do with living a holy
        life? (Living in the presence of God causes us to be
        honest. Our friends know of our honesty and rely upon

    2. Read 1 Kings 8:33-34. What does this teach us about holy
      living? (That if we sin against God, our enemies can
      defeat us.)

      1. What hope is held out for those who aspire to holy
        living? (That even when we fail, God stands ready to
        forgive us and restore us.)

    3. Read 1 Kings 8:35-36. Isn’t this something referred to as
      an “Act of God?” What does this suggest about seemingly
      random problems? (They can have a connection to our sins.)

      1. What hope is held out to us? (Again, we turn to God
        and He cures the problem.)

    4. Read 1 Kings 8:41-43. If we live a life in accord with
      God’s will, is it likely that others will see and want to
      know more about God? (This is the essence of being holy.
      Working with excellence in a way that draws attention to

      1. What will God do in such a situation? (Solomon prays
        that God will confirm in the life of the “foreigner”
        that God is the great God of Heaven.)

    5. Read Psalms 73:1-3. What is being described here that
      seems to conflict with the discussion that we just had
      about 1 Kings 8? (The theory underlying 1 Kings 8 was that
      if we obeyed then good things would happen to us and if we
      disobeyed, bad things would happen. Here, the wicked are

    6. Read Psalms 73:4-6 and Psalms 73:12-14. Is life going for
      this good person the way life is supposed to go when you
      are holy? (No!)

    7. Read Psalms 73:15-17. How does keeping your doubts to
      yourself and entering the sanctuary answer the problem
      that life is not going as it should for a holy person?
      (Sin brings death. God died for us because He loves us so
      much. The wicked will die in the end, even if they seem to
      be prospering now. Those who seek to live a holy life, a
      life led by the Holy Spirit, will live forever with a God
      who loves them supremely!)

    8. Friend, will you commit to asking the Holy Spirit to help
      you live a holy life? A life in which you seek excellence
      in all you do for the purpose of drawing others to God?

  4. Next week: Atonement: Purification Offering.