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Showing posts from February, 2018

"Kindling the Anger of the Lord"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 11-13
Why do we generally think that the grass is always greener on the other side?  In the reading for the day, the Israelites should have things pretty much going their way; they are getting close to the Promise Land, they are enjoying manna every morning and they know that God is on their side.  However, contentment has never been one of their strong points. They have begun to grow tired of the manna and now they are having cravings for the things that they cannot have.  Why is it always the case that when you cannot have something that it becomes the one thing that you want the most.  In their current situations, they are now dreaming about the fish, the melons, the onions and the cucumbers; all of which are not available in the desert. So, they do what any other red blooded human being would do; they complain.  The manna that used to satisfy them has now become something that they don’t even want to look at (Numbers 11.6).  The Bible tells us that when they …

"Should've, Would've, Could've"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 8-10 Do you have any regrets? Maybe you had an offer to do something, buy something or invest into something; when in the moment you say no, but wished you would’ve said yes?  I wonder if that is how Hobab must have felt?  Hobab was the son of Reuel the Midianite, making him Moses’ brother-in-law.   When the nation of Israel was making their final preparations for leaving Mount Sinai, on their journey to the Promise Land, Moses invited Hobab to go with them.  He further offered that whatever blessing that God had for the children of Israel would be offered to him as well (Numbers 10.29-32); One would thing that would have been a no brainer for Hobab.  Although we don’t have a final decision recorded here in the text, the implication was that he rejected Moses’ offer.   In fact, the Midianites become the fiercest of enemies of the Israelites in Numbers 25 and 31.
We have the same invitation today.   God continues to offer us an opportunity to become heirs of the s…

"Bringing Your Offering"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 7       This chapter is second, only to Psalm 119, in the longest chapter category.  Within these 89 verses we have a lengthy description of the dedication of the Tabernacle.  During this festival, each tribe was responsible for bringing an offering for use in the Tabernacle.  There were 12 tribes, so the festival lasted 12 days.  The offerings were given to the Tabernacle, but in essence they were given to God.  They did so because they loved and appreciated God for all that He had done for them and believed that He would follow through with His Promise to lead them into The Promise Land.  This relationship that God has with the Israelites was very special.  It was God who had been the initiator of the relationship.  The good news is that He continues to want to be the initiator of a relationship with His people. We read repeatedly in the New Testament when Jesus pleads to us to “Come to Me.” ·Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give yo…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Numbers 5-6


No Devo Today

"Protecting Against Outsiders"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 3-4 DISCUSSION In today’s reading Moses, Aaron and Aaron’s sons were to camp on the east of the tent of meeting to guard the sanctuary.  If an outsider came near to the sanctuary they were put to death (Numbers 3.38-39). Why would God want the stranger to be put to death?  Because not only would the stranger be a threat to spy out or take advantage of camp, they were also seen as a threat to interweaving their lives with the children of Israel. This interweaving would have been deemed as a greater threat to the nation.  God had been very specific about not allowing the nation to intermarry with the surrounding nations for fear that they would adopt their pagan practices and culture.  This threat was so great that God would have them put to death.  God wanted the linage to remain pure, unadulterated, without mixing with any other foreign culture. God desires that same type of purity for us today as well.  Paul writes to the church at Philippi encouraging them to re…

"Which Way Are You Facing?"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 1-2 DISCUSSION Billy loved the game of basketball, so when he heard that his elementary school was organizing a youth league he was all in.  It didn’t take long before Billy became one of, if not the best basketball players in his class.  When it came time for his first game, he could hardly control his excitement.  As the game began, the ball was tipped into the air and it was headed for Billy.  He had already begun to dream of what it would be like to have that ball fall into his hands and shoot it into the goal.  As he caught it in his hands, in one motion he shoots.  Just like he had practiced day after day, the ball swished into the goal scoring his first basket.  He was so proud of himself and just knew that everyone on his team would be congratulating him on his first basket.  To his surprise, none of that happened.  In fact, just the opposite.  His coach called a time out and pulled him out of the game.  As Billy made his way to the bench he noticed his te…

"The Use of Vows"

BIBLE READING: Leviticus 26-27 DISCUSSION Facing death, even hardened atheists are known to pray.  Throughout human history, when men have found themselves in dire straits they have prayed for deliverance and made vows to God, promising to do something for God if He rescued them.  The Old Testament gives a number of examples of men making vows in such circumstances.  Jacob, fleeing from his brother, offered to tithe his goods if God brought him home safely (Genesis 28:20ff).  Israel, after suffering defeated by the Canaanites, vowed the enemy cities to total destruction (Numbers 21:2).  Jonah made vows in the belly of the fish (Jonah 2:9).      Vows are made in the heat of the moment.  In retrospect, when the crisis is over, they may well seem foolish and unnecessary, and the person who made the vow may be tempted to forget it or only fulfill it partially.       Chapter 27 is all about vows.  It also tells what happens when one doesn't keep his vows.  It may only be a penalty.  The r…

"Return Every Man His Possession"

BIBLE READING: Leviticus 24-25 DISCUSSION This took place during the year of Jubilee.  Every 50th year all land was given back to its original owner.  If a man had to sell his land or himself to pay debts, all was returned at the year of Jubilee.  Every Israelite would be returned to his ancestral lands which belonged to his forebears.  God was the actual owner of all the land, and any Israelite in possession of it was merely a tenant at will.  Whose will?  God's will.  The occupancy and crops produced by the land in specified years could be sold; but title to the land was not transferable.  It always reverted on the Jubilee to their heirs and successors of those persons to whom God had assigned it at the time when Joshua divided the land of Canaan among the Twelve Tribes.      This land was God's right by creation, and by right of maintenance.  The Jubilee discouraged and prevented the endless building of greater and greater estates and effectively prevented the development of a…

"What of the Deformed?"

BIBLE READING: Leviticus 22-23 DISCUSSION Chapters like 22 and many others in this book form the background to much New Testament teaching.  Christ is both the perfect priest and the perfect victim.  His bride is the church, whom he is sanctifying to make her "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:27).       We see here that the demand for holiness is common to both testaments.  The New sees it primarily in moral terms, however, and insists that true holiness can be achieved only through redemption, not by nature.  This redemption includes those with physical deformities; to Christ's marriage feast are invited the maimed, the lame, and the blind (Luke 14:13, 21).       All Christians are called to be priests in a figurative sense (1 Peter 2:5, 9).  They are to put love of God above love for family (Luke 14:26).  The high priest was not allowed to defile himself by burying his father and mother (21:11).  In a sim…

"Be Holy Unto the Lord"

BIBLE READING: Leviticus 19-21 DISCUSSION "You must be holy, for I am the Lord your God am holy" could be described as the motto of Leviticus.  This motto reminds Israel of its fundamental calling to be a "holy nation" (Exodus 19:6).  The people of Israel are to imitate God, whose essential nature is holiness.      Holiness is thus not so much an abstract or a mystic idea, as a principle that regulates everyday life.  Holiness is thus attained not be flight from the world, nor by monk-like renunciation of human relationships of family or station, but by the spirit in which we fulfill the obligations of life in its simplest and commonest details:  in this way - by doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God - in everyday life we are changed.      The view and importance of holiness has not changed in our era.  We are still judged by our works among those who surround us.  If we claim to be a Christian we must show forth His love and concern for mankind t…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Leviticus 16-18

No Devo Today

"Handling Disease"

BIBLE READING: Leviticus 14-15 This remarkable chapter deals not with the cure of leprosy, but with the ceremonies affecting the reception of the healed person back into the communion with the covenant people and his re-admission to the status that he formerly held in the community and within his family. These complicated rituals are admittedly very ancient and their appearance here is altogether consistent with their having been included here, at God's command, by Moses himself.  Medical knowledge was almost unknown at this time.  This meant that God had to warn the people about certain diseases and other uncleanness that the health of the nation might be protected.
     If God is concerned about our physical wellbeing, can we not see how much He is concerned with our spiritual wellbeing?  God, through the Bible, outlines how to cure our spiritual diseases.  "The fact that leprosy is dealt with so elaborately indicates that this particularly loathsome and intractable disease i…

"What shall we eat?"

BIBLE READING: Leviticus 11-13 Have you ever wondered how people learned what they could and couldn't eat?  Some animals are poisonous while others are harmless.  The same is true with plants.  I have often thought that people ate things then others saw their reaction to it and knew not to eat that plant or animal.  In our reading today we see that God did list clean and unclean animals for the Jews.  Even today there are millions of people in all nations who refuse to eat certain creatures.  Furthermore, this proscription of certain creatures as unsuitable and forbidden food is far older than the Mosaic law. These strong rejections of certain meats are deeply rooted in the prehistoric instincts of the human race.       Against this background, the most significant thing about the whole mass of regulations laid down here is that Jesus Christ abolished it in its entirety, "making all meats clean" (Mark 7:19).  An apostle elaborated this in saying that, "Every creature …

"Consecration of Aaron and his Sons"

BIBLE READING: Leviticus 8-10 God had given Moses orders to consecrate Aaron and his sons to the priests' office when he was on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 28-29), where we have also the particular instructions he had now to do it.  The Tabernacle had newly been set up and God was ready for Moses to consecrate the priests to being their duties.        He called the people together at the door of the tabernacle.  The court of the tabernacle, being  small, would only allow the principal men and elders of the congregation.   The commission was read by Moses.        The ceremony performed according to the divine ritual.  Aaron and his sons were washed with water to signify that they ought now to purify themselves from all sinful dispositions and inclinations, and ever after to keep themselves pure.  They were clothed with holy garments, Aaron with his (8:7-9), which typified the dignity of Christ our great high priest, and his sons with theirs (8;13), which typified the decency of Christians.
   …

"So Much Blood"

BIBLE READING: Leviticus 5-7 Our chapters today relate the procedures for a sin offering.  We can see that this offering involved the blood of the animal.  Specific handling of the blood is given that no one could misunderstand how important the blood was.       History reveals to us that the blood of the sacrifice was collected in a horn or cone shaped vessel.  The vessel was designed in such a way that it could not be set down without the spilling of the blood.  Therefore, when the priest procured the blood he had to watch over it with great care lest it be spilled and become useless.       Today we have somewhat of the same situation.  When we put on Christ is baptism, we take up His blood.  Through our everyday life we cannot set down the blood to do something that would be unbecoming to a Christian.  Once we have taken up the Christian life, we cannot stop being a Christian at any time.  If we set down the blood it will no longer be the cleansing force in our lives and we sink back …

"The Book of Sacrifices"

BIBLE READING: Leviticus 1-4 The third book in the Pentateuch is called Leviticus because it relates principally to the Levites and priests and their services. The book is generally held to have been written by Moses.   Leviticus is filled with the meticulous procedures for sacrifices and the duties of the Levites.  The offerings that were given by the Jews to God differed in what was offered and who received the offering.   The burnt-offerings had regard to God as in himself the best of beings, most perfect and excellent. This offering was wholly burnt as an expression of adoration.  However, the peace-offerings had regard to God as a benefactor of his creatures, and the giver of all good things to us; and therefore these were divided between the altar, the priest, and the owner.  Today we too have sacrifices to the Lord.  In Romans 12:1 we find Paul instructing the sacrifice offered by Christians.  "…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God."  We gi…

"Washing Up"

BIBLE READING: Exodus 39-40 It must have been a very exciting time for Moses, Aaron and the children of Israel.  The Tabernacle was complete; everyone did their part to fulfill what God had asked them to do and now they were about to enjoy the benefit of having the presence of God with them in their camp.  Before Moses, Aaron and his sons were allowed into the Tabernacle, there was something specific that God had asked them to do. “He set the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing, with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet. When they went into the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed, as the LORD commanded Moses.” -Exodus 40:30-32
Why would God require of them to wash their hands before they came into the tent of meeting?  Yes, it did have to do with some type of cleansing; yet the water did not cleanse them of their sin.  It also did not sanitize them because there wasn’t any Purell in t…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Exodus 36-38


No Devo Today

"Mercy & Compassion"

BIBLE READING: Exodus 33-35
R. C. Sproul tells the story of when he was a college professor. At the start of the semester, the class of about 150 students had three papers due, let’s say, at noon on October 1st, November 1st, and December 1st. The penalty for a late paper was a zero grade. At noon on October 1st, 140 students strolled in and put their papers on his desk. Sproul asked the 10 students whose papers were late, "Where are your papers?" "Oh, Professor Sproul," they pleaded, "we have had so much work, and we are having such a hard time adjusting to college. Please give us an extension.""Okay," said Dr. Sproul, "but the next time your papers are late, you will receive a zero grade. Agreed?""Yes," they all replied.
At noon on November 1st, 125 students strolled in and put their papers on his desk. Sproul asked the 25 students whose papers were late, "Where are your papers?""Oh, Professor Sproul, we had mi…

"Oholiab-The Contractor of the Tabernacle"

BIBLE READING: Exodus 30-32 Their names are not the kind of names that you would be quick to recall as what role they played in the Bible, yet they were very valuable to God in the plan that He had set in motion.  Oholiab just so happens to be one of those men that doesn’t get the attention that Moses and Aaron get in the story of the Exodus, yet his role is very important.  The Bible says in Exodus 31:1-5, that Oholiab was gifted by God with the ability to use his mind and his hands to create things with gold, silver and stone.  God is going to be very specific in what He wants this tabernacle and its furniture to look like, and Oholiab was just the man for the job.  This story reminds us that each one of us has a talent or a gift that God has placed within us to be used in His kingdom.  Oholiab may not be able to be a leader like Moses, or the High Priest like Aaron, but He could use his talent to give glory to God.  We must remember that the Lord has more than just preaching and tea…

"Types & Anit-Types"

BIBLE READING: Exodus 28-29
The book of Hebrews tells us that God uses the Old Testament to describe types and anti-types in the New Testament.  The reading for today is exactly that.  As you look at the description of the Levitical priests that are mentioned within the book of Exodus, it can make you wonder how these passages apply to you? Jesus is a type of High Priest in the Old Testament. The lesson for us today lies in the detail and difficulty that was involved for a man to become a priest.  It was his responsibility to offer the sacrifices for the people.  Not only was it a very bloody job, it was also a very impersonal job. You may have brought the sacrifice, but it was the priest who offered it on your behalf, even though he may not know a single thing about you.  Today, Jesus is our High Priest.  He made the sacrifice for us, however, with Jesus, the difference lies in Him being acquainted with us. As pure humanity and pure divinity, He is enabled to uniquely understand all t…

"The Ark of the Covenant"

BIBLE READING: Exodus 25-27
I remember the scene well; Indiana Jones had just fallen into the room that was full of all those snakes, and remember, he hates snakes! As he and his partner remove the top of the tomb that unveiled the Ark of the Covenant, the room lit up as if Gods presence had just been uncovered.  That is exactly what the Ark of the Covenant represented during the days of the Old Testament; the very presence of God.  The Bible says in Exodus 25.21-22 “And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.”  Personally, I have always been fascinated with the Ark, and have wondered what happened to it over the centuries.  There have been claims that the Ark has been found, but none of thos…

"Procrastination A Sin?"

BIBLE READING: Exodus 22-24 I think we all have had our experiences with procrastination.  Whether it’s putting off cleaning the refrigerator, putting off sending that card, or making that payment; we have all procrastinated more than our fair share. We know as Christians we should be on top of things and try our best at everything we do, but does that mean that procrastination is a sin?  In some cases, it can be!  Now let me clarify, I am not saying that you will go to Hell if you don’t remove that bowl of chili that has been in your fridge since your New Year’s Eve party (but that is gross),  however, procrastination can become a sin if you are procrastinating with your relationship with God.  Notice what God says to the Israelites: “You shall not delay to offer from the fullest of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses” (Exodus 22:29)  What God means is that you should never procrastinate on what you give to God.  How often do we do that? Now…one could say, “that passage …

"The 11th Commandment"

BIBLE READING: Exodus 19-21
Ever since I was a little boy in Sunday School, I can remember my teachers drilling into my head the 10 Commandments.  If my teacher were so intent on me knowing these commandments from God, just think how intent the Jews were on teaching their children.   This was, and still is for the Jews, their covenant with God.  I bet you could randomly pull a Jewish child out of a crowd and they would be able to recite to you the recording of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20.  Understand, for the Jews it was essential to know and understand these commandments. This is why Jesus’ comments are so peculiar at the Last Supper; A new commandment I give to you...” (John 13:34a).  They must have misheard Him, because everyone knows that there are only Ten Commandments and He just said there was a new one?  Now that Jesus has their attention for the final instructions, before He leaves for the cross, He further elaborates “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one …

Sunday

Bible Reading: Exodus 16-18

No Devo Today

"Showing the Way"

BIBLE READING: EXODUS 13-15 As the children of Israel departed from the land of Egypt and headed to the Promise Land, God provided for them His guidance.  God provided for them a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to “lead them along the way” (Exodus 13.21).  This cloud was to remain with them on their journey and would not depart from them (Exodus 13:22).  This was something that they could count on to be a part of their day to day routine that would never lead them in a direction that would be dangerous or cause them harm.  Wouldn’t it be great if God did the same thing for us today; something that would lead and guide our lives through this dangerous and evil world so that we could safely arrive at our Promise Land of Heaven? Well…you are in luck, because God has provided us with such a thing.  In fact, you probably already have one.  It is called the Bible!  We knew that our Bibles were the Inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).   We also knew it was a weapon that could be …

"Passover, Through the Eyes of Jesus"

BIBLE READING: EXODUS 10-12
As they walked up to the steps of the Upper Room, Jesus was aware of the importance of what was about to happen.  He had been a part of tons of Passover Feasts, but none of them were as important as this one; this one would be His last.  The disciples had all experienced Passover and were aware of its importance, but for Jesus this was different.  You see, the Disciples were only able to read about it or hear stories from the oral traditions that were passed down, but Jesus got to experience it as it happened.  We sometimes forget that He knew what the blood on the wood of the door post looked like, what the cries of those parents sounded like as they woke up with a dead child, the look on the face of Pharaoh as he finally let the people go.  Yes, for Jesus, Passover was a little different.  As you read the account of the instructions for the Passover feast, try to read it through the eyes of Jesus as He prepared to shed His blood on the wood of the cross.  …

"God's Wrath"

BIBLE READING: EXODUS 7-9 The Bible is very clear that one day our Lord will return to this world and reward those who have served him; but it is also clear that on that day the Lord will execute His wrath on the wicked (2 Thessalonians 1.5-11).    Whenever we read the New Testament about the wrath of God, we are reading about His judgment.  The wrath of God is not something that any of us would ever want to experience. God does however, reveal to us a taste of what this wrath looks like in the plagues that He inflicted on the Egyptians.  But in like manner, within the account of the plagues, God also reveals to us what His redemption looks like as He spared the Israelites. Just as He spared the Israelites, He also offers us a way to avoid the wrath of God through His Son Jesus. “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” (-R…