Proverbs 29:27 – An unjust person is detestable to the righteous, and one whose way is upright is detestable to the wicked.
This proverb highlights the condition and the role of the righteous on the earth: to be set apart as holy and distinct. If there is a distinction being made, then the differing factions will have diverse viewpoints. Yeshua himself illustrated this point as he described how his teaching was a fulfillment of prophecy.
Matthew 10:34-37 – Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. The one who loves a father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; the one who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Holiness by its very nature causes divergence of thoughts, opinions, and allegiances. One of the most notable features demonstrating the holiness of the teachings of Yeshua is that he was a polarizing figure; he was presenting ideas and concepts where people had to choose sides between options.
Matthew 12:30 – Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not gather with me scatters.
This was not a new or novel concept; God’s servants and messengers have always presented polarizing options in the way of holiness. Moses and Joshua did so with the nation of Israel as they were preparing to enter the land of Canaan.
Deuteronomy 30:16-19 – “For I am commanding you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and multiply, and the LORD your God may bless you in the land you are entering to possess. “But if your heart turns away and you do not listen and you are led astray to bow in worship to other gods and serve them, “I tell you today that you will certainly perish and will not prolong your days in the land you are entering to possess across the Jordan. “I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live…
Joshua 24:14-15 – “Therefore, fear the LORD and worship him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship the LORD. “But if it doesn’t please you to worship the LORD, choose for yourselves today: Which will you worship – the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living? As for me and my family, we will worship the LORD.”
Holiness is in some ways, in the most profound ways, a very real burden for those who are acting in the way of the righteous, the derech ha-tzaddikim. This is the Way that holds to God’s standards above the standards of the culture and world in which we live. By abiding by his standards, we also become polarizing individuals within our family, friend, and work acquaintance circles.
However, as believers in Yeshua and followers of God’s commands, this is who we are. This is who we are meant to be. Our priorities are not the same priorities of the world around us. The burden of distinction we carry is one which has us die to ourselves, our own ambitions and desires, and to place before us the things of God instead. To others, this may appear to be a detestable path of death, when in reality this burden, our cross, is ultimately the path of life.
Matthew 10:38-39 – And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it, and anyone who loses his life because of me will find it.
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