This Sunday we heard a profound message highlighting unlikely characters in scripture: two “holy cows” that we would do well to learn from. In 1 Samuel 6, the Philistines face dire consequences for their idolatrous assault on God’s holiness in the temple of Dagon. Their solution? Remove God’s presence. Devising a plan to send the ark away and still maintain their manipulative religious rule, the priests of Philistia wind up duped by two cows constrained by the Spirit, returning the ark of God to Israel. Pastor Chet brought up 4 practical lessons we can learn from these “holy cows” and challenged us as a church to memorize them and to “be holy as He is holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16).
1. Choose to go the different (holy) way of God as we learn His way in Scripture
God’s way often looks unconventional and even unusual to us. In fact, some of God’s instruction to our favorite biblical characters can seem outright bizarre. Certainly, as Isaiah 55 suggests, His thoughts and ways are different than ours. Maybe it’s time to do something outside the norm, like reaching out to an old friend or taking the long way home from work to get extra prayer time. It could look bigger, like getting involved in a new ministry or maybe even praying for a stranger at the store.
2. Make the necessary sacrifices to change
Hebrews 12 says that we’ve got to lay aside EVERY weight and RUN the race set before us. If you have a passion or goal that God has given you, the time is now to take steps! Maybe you need to sacrifice comfort and sign up for a mission trip (we still have spots open for El Salvador…). Or if you’re a young adult, it could be sacrificing 4 months of your time to be discipled by our Patmos ministry. Whatever change He is working in you, you don’t have to fear the cost because He, Himself, will “restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).
3. Ask God, through prayer, to direct each step
Just like these “holy cows” were guided by God to their destination, so He promises, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go” (Psalm 32:8). When I lack heavenly perspective, I tend to doubt my own ability to follow Jesus where He’s leading. Yet God’s Word is a lamp to our feet! If we’re looking for direction this week, it starts with time in prayer and time in the Word.
4. Be determined to conform into the holy way of Jesus
According to 2 Corinthians 3:18, day by day we are being sanctified to look like a mirrored image of Christ. Jesus lived holiness out in His daily life. He saw the nobodies, loved the unwanted, and healed the hurting. Does the way we see, speak, and spend time with others reflect Jesus’ image? Do our daily interactions reveal our mission to engage our world with the love of Christ?
Paul put it this way, “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God” (Acts 20:24 NLT). Instead of “doing better,” let’s draw closer so that one day we look into that heavenly mirror and shout, “Holy cow!” because Jesus Christ is looking back at us.