My dear, rescued golden retriever still follows me nearly everywhere I go, but he's getting far better at "chilling" when I clean house, but not always. The other day while cleaning the bathroom, I turned my back for one second, only to hear Elliot munching on something. The sneak thief had a bar of soap! I got most of it away from him and called the vet, who said he'd pass it — probably urgently. The following day, he did get a good cleaning out, but it was easily cleaned up.
Soap is definitely not on the approved treats list for golden retrievers. Other snacks, like dog biscuits, are, but not bars of soap. This reminded me of the lists in Leviticus of things approved for eating and those that weren't. The approved foods were called "clean", but the rest were "unclean".
Leviticus 11:47 – You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten. (NIV)
Sometimes, people could be called "unclean", and often, things were too. Then there were whole nations that were considered "unclean". The Romans were among them.
Just before Peter received the call to share about Jesus' death and resurrection with a group of Romans, he had a vision:
Acts 10:11-15 – He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." (NIV)
Some acquaintances of mine have voiced the idea that they are too bad, too far gone, too unacceptable, too sinful, if you will, too "unclean" for God to accept them into heaven's "clean group" — the "in group". They simply say, "God may have forgiven you, but He will never forgive me."
No statement could be further from the truth. In fact, many Scripture references like the one about Peter's vision refute it. No matter how "unclean" we may think we are, Jesus wants to clean us up and welcome us into His "in group". To join, pray something like this:
Prayer: God, in Jesus' name, I come admitting that I fall far short of Your standards. In Jesus' name, please clean me up, and welcome me into Your "in group". Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart" (Lyrics)