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Archive for the ‘Books of the Bible’ Category

Leviticus is one of the books of the Bible many people confess they “can’t get through.” But I’m convinced that in giving us 66 books, God intended us to read and study each of them with diligence. I expect to receive insight from the book of Leviticus. I have not been disappointed.

For I am the Lord your God; so consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy. . . 5 For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; therefore you shall be holy, for I am holy.
Leviticus 11:44a, 45 (Amplified)

At first glance, these verses can be daunting–how can I be holy like God? One only need read the five books of the law to see the holiness of God and how unreachable that standard is for any human.

But then I consider the character of God and remember that God wouldn’t command me to be what was impossible for me to be.

God is holy–only God can make me holy.

Only God can set me–my life–aside for holy work. This is not something I can do for myself. I could never make myself holy–nor could any water or oil or ritual of man make me holy.

Holiness–the work of sanctification (being set apart for God)–is something only God can do.

So what is my part?

I must prepare. I must be available. I must obey.

See also Leviticus 19:2, 20:7; 1 Peter 1:15

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In most trials, there is some element of wanting to go back–of looking back to “better times” or to life before the loss, before the betrayal–before the illness.

We need to remember the lesson of Lot’s wife.

When morning came, the angels told Lot to hurry. “Get up,” they said, “and take your wife and your two daughters who are here; otherwise you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he dallied, so the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand and the hands of his two daughters — Adonai was being merciful to him — and led them, leaving them outside the city.

When they had brought them out, he said, “Flee for your life! Don’t look behind you, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain, but escape to the hills! Otherwise you will be swept away.”

Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lord! Here, your servant has already found favor in your sight, and you have shown me even greater mercy by saving my life. But I can’t escape to the hills, because I’m afraid the disaster will overtake me, and I will die. Look, there’s a town nearby to flee to, and it’s a small one. Please let me escape there — isn’t it just a small one? — and that way I will stay alive.”

He replied, “All right, I agree to what you have asked. I won’t overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Hurry, and escape to that place, because I can’t do anything until you arrive there.” . . .

By the time Lot had come to Tzo‘ar, the sun had risen over the land. Then Adonai caused sulfur and fire to rain down upon S’dom and ‘Amora from Adonai out of the sky. He overthrew those cities, the entire plain, all the inhabitants of the cities and everything growing in the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a column of salt. Genesis 19:15-26 (CJB)

Sometimes we are like Lot’s wife. Things are so bad that God is having to rain down sulfur and fire on the place we were living, but we still think about that place with longing–we still think we might want to go back.

 

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Moving Forward

Moving Forward

    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12:1 (NKJV)

Paul’s passion for those in the body of Christ is evident in the opening phrase of Romans 12 where he beseeches or urges us to present our bodies as living sacrifices.

If we are to do this presentation of our bodies (our lives) to God, it will have to be by the mercies of God. That is to say that God will be and is the power behind and the heart behind our desiring to dedicate our bodies (lives) to pleasing God.

He calls us to present our bodies–a voluntary action, a volitional choice–I (we) must make to be set apart for (holy) and pleasing to God.

The sacrifice I am to make is my body–and that is really all that I have to give to God.
Under the law, it is understood that in order to cover sin, to be holy and acceptable to God, a death must occur–more specifically, blood must be shed. Leviticus 11:17 instructs us blood makes atonement for the soul.

The sacrifice that I must present under the new covenant, established by Jesus and stamped with His authority as God by His resurrection, is to die to my flesh, to my own desires. This death to self will allow the Spirit of God to reign in my body. My life will then evidence the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23, namely love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control.

Paul finishes by saying this is my reasonable service. I am a bond servant of God, and in light of what He has done for me, it a small thing for me to give my life–my sacrifice–to Him.

As Paul said in Romans 6:19, [f]or just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

We will be a slave to something. Paul makes it clear who we are to serve and what is required–nothing less than everything.

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While on the mission field recently, during one of my morning times with the LORD, I found myself in 1 Samuel 17. Perhaps you know this passage – David battles Goliath. I love this story. I love the heart of David for His God.

When the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:42-47

I can see David in my mind’s eye. He was fearless. He knew His God and He knew the source of his power in facing this great and menacing enemy of Israel.

But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

His source of power was the LORD of hosts, the God of heaven’s armies and the armies of Israel.

David had confidence in the LORD because of who He is. David also understood something very fundamental about God and His displays of His power.

Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands.”

David knew that the display of God’s power-the power to send a small stone from a slingshot into the forehead of a giant and stun him, so he would fall and his head could be cut off by David-was for the benefit of the on-lookers, for those who would hear the story later, and for us who read and study the scriptures looking for the face of our God in the pages.

The source of David’s power was God Almighty.

The purpose of the display of power was so we would know that God doesn’t always use conventional weapons (but He can) or conventional people (but He can) to fight on His behalf. He doesn’t have to because the battles are His and He is able to do whatever He likes since He is sovereign over every person, force, power, and principality in the Universe having created it all.

Thank you Father, that as your servant I am not responsible for providing the power or the results. Thank you that my job is to show up and believe that You will do what You have promised. The battle is Yours!

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Israel – Galilee

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Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday.

–Psalm 37:3-6

Here is the “to-do” list from Psalm 37:

  • Trust in the LORD and do good
  • Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness
  • Delight yourself in the LORD, and wait for Him to fulfill your desires
  • Commit your way to the LORD and trust in Him, and wait for Him to bring forth your righteousness and justice and make them bright

One thing that I notice from the list is that very little outward action is required. Most of what God is asking of me is internal, e.g. trust, delight, wait, and commit. Several of the other seemingly “action” words He uses are really about internal concepts as well.

For example, dwell is speaking to us of living the Christian life-a life of promise. In the Old Testament the Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua, finally came into the land that God has promised Abraham many years before. That entry into the promised land is analogous to the New Testament believer living the abundant life-life based on the promises of God after being born again.

Feed on His faithfulness sounds like an action, but it is really a state of mind. The idea is that we would live and prosper remembering that God is faithful to the promises He has made to His people.

So I am to trust the LORD – rely on Him, to have confidence in Him.

I am to dwell in the place He has placed me and be sustained by His faithfulness as I live there.

I am to delight in the LORD. This is easy because He is my exceeding joy (Psalm 43:4). The image that God brought to mind when I was thinking about this was that of a dog rolling in green grass, arching her back and just enjoying the stretch, the warmth of the sun and the scratch of the grass on her back.

I am to commit my way to Him, but why wouldn’t I in light of the promises He makes to me. Here are just 2 found in this short passage:

  • He will give me the desires of my heart
  • He shall make my righteousness and my justice bright like the sun at noon-day, so that everyone will know-there will be no way to hide what He has done in my life

How great is our God and how wonderful His promises!

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What does a Shepherd do?

What does a Shepherd do?

The image of the shepherd is found throughout the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments. The most well-known place is probably psalm is Psalm 23, which reflects on the shepherd and what he does for the sheep.

Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

What does the shepherd do according to verse 1 of Psalm 23?

He removes my want. How does He do that? He provides. One of the names of God is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides.

He provides simple things like food and shelter–a job, a place to live, a car. But he also provides intangibles like comfort, companionship, and peace.

A beautiful picture is painted for us in Isaiah 40:11 where Isaiah tells us “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.”

There is nothing the shepherd will not give for his sheep even his life. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. John 10:11

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Leviticus 26 and 27

Read Leviticus 26
1. What does God promise to do if the children of Israel obey His statutes (laws)?

2. What does God promise to do if the children of Israel do not obey His statutes?

3. What do you learn from Leviticus 26:44-45?

Read Leviticus 27 (last chapter of the book!!!!!!!!!!!)
4. What is the subject matter of this chapter?
Note:For application of the law of gleaning and the law of redemption, read the Book of Ruth (Old Testament).

5. What application to your own life can you make from the book of Leviticus?

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