Well, Good Morning! Today on your calendar it might say ‘Ash Wednesday’. Many of us may be heading to church today to have ashes put on foreheads in the sign of the cross. Last year I read a scripture that I would like to share with everyone that touched my heart.
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (Romans 14:5-8)
I think we should be extremely respectful of different styles of worships.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
With that said I think it is only fair to say that Ash Wednesday has NO Biblical origination. Does that make it bad? No. Many of our traditions began man-made so I think we need to examine each one personally to see Why we do them. For example, Hanukkah (celebrated by Jesus himself) was a Tradition from the Maccabees, Advent was created by the Lutherans in Germany many years ago in an anticipation of the Christ, and the Catholics created Ash Wednesday sometime between 6th and 12th century. All can be extremely positive reflections of Jesus.
The Catholics will save the Palms from the previous Palm Sunday and burn them. They will sprinkle what they call “Holy Water” and smoke it with incense. Now that you have read the Tabernacle you can picture in your head the Laver of Water and the Alter of incense. (Both symbols were fulfilled by Jesus so we must remember they can be symbols now, but have no value in worship).
The ashes are referred to often in the Bible as a symbol of repentance. However, many people (today) think it is the “act” of the ashes that cleanses and causes repentance.
When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,so that we may serve the living God! (Romans 11)
So if you confess and repent of a sin and want to symbolically put the ashes on your head to remind yourself that is was the shedding of the blood of The Christ that now does the cleaning instead of the ashes from a burnt offering, and that we no longer have to sacrifice an animal. Then celebrate that today.
On the other hand, a word of caution. It would be extremely sinful to think that anything “done” to the ashes or to our bodies does anything to bring forgiveness. For if that were true we are living as if Christ has not sacrificed His life for us, and that is extremely sinful. Tradition and remembrance is “unto the Lord”, so absolutely set apart this day with Ashes, however, “Self Acts” with the anticipation of forgiveness is legalistic and sinful.
I think the Lenten season could be a holy, set apart time for any family of any denomination, especially for children. I am planning on doing it with my family for the first time this year. Whether you celebrate Ash Wednesday or not it is still a time to start preparing or hearts for the tradition of Good Friday and Easter, the Holiest Days on the Christian Calendar.
- Reward for Obedience
- Punishment Consequences for Disobedience
- Redeeming what is the Lord’s
If you read Hebrews 8-10 without ever reading the Old Testament it would be so confusing. Well, depending on if you have read out the rest of the Old Testament will depend on whether or not you will hang on every word in chapter 26. I read it for the first time a few years ago and thought “Good grief, what a Warning!” However, I just read it and I could not believe what I was reading “EVERY Scripture can be Cross reference and proven fulfilled”. WHat I am saying is the next 7 months can be summed up in today’s read.
I hate getting personal but this is what is different about me: Last year I read it as a Warning: “Don’t obey me and >>>> and I will do this!!” That is sooooo not what the chapters are about. Listen to me, this is important. God has told us what He asks, and shown us in His reaction what pleases Him and what does not. God is not a God of wrath, He is a God of Love and with Love comes consequences. Chapter 26 should be called a ‘Chapter of Result’. Action/Reaction.
So on Sept 29th, 2010 I am going to ask you to reread this Chapter and your jaw will drop open when you see that EVERY scripture is fulfilled (Even the ones of them eating their children). So look for the re-read and you will not read any of this as punishment, but of an action of correction (like a time -out is supposed to be, but sometimes you just have to spank to get your point across).
You did it. You made it through Leviticus! Whoooo Hooooo.
The “click here” for the scripture reading this morning was wrong. Might want to check you read the correct chapters this morning. Sorry about that.
- Oil and Bread
- Blasphemer Stoned
- The Sabbath Year
- The year of JubilEe
Oil and Bread were put out as 12 loaves, for the 12 tribes of Israel as a reminder of their complete dependence on God’s provision. Here is what it looked like:
Blasphemer Stoned: This was like a ball out of left field. Why is this all of a sudden carved out? I mean, we are sitting here reading about Atonements, and Sacrifices and then all of a sudden BAM we are stoning a Blasphemer. Blashemy means:”a speaking ill, impious speech, slander,” to speak evil of.”
What is the Only Unpardonable sin??. Old Testament, New Testament, does not matter, SALVATION was the Same and DAMNATION was the same (ready for a little Brimstone!). GOD Never CHANGES! Every sin would be covered in the Old Testament on the Day of Atonement. But what is the one sin that God needed purged….Blaspheming His Holy Name. The way we use His Name is the way we Truly feel about Him in our Hearts. You all know my slogan….”what’s in the well, come up in the bucket”.
The Sabbath Year: I Pray that God gives all of you a Sabbath Year! A year of Rest. CLearly it is repeated over and over that we are to take a Rest in Him. DO notice that the Lord ways “when you get to the Promise Land…” (not if)
Jubilee…Such a fun word to say out loud isn’t it. I actually studied this over the summer while in the book of Ruth. I also recently heard it in a song at my Church and thought to myself, I bet so many people don’t know what they are singing right now (I barely did).
“The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land” (Lev 25:23,24)
Anytime you hear the word Redemption in Scripture is should catch your heart. Before we dig into Jubilee let’s just take a minute to remember not who we are but Who’s we are. Nothing we are or have is our own. When we are Redeemed we are going BACK to the Lord. We were separated when sin entered the World, but there was always a plan of Redemption, Jesus. We may have been separated from God, but we were always His. Just like the land, it always gets returned to the original owner.
Anyway, any sale of land amounted to a lease that expired in the Year of the Jubilee, when it would be returned to the original owner. It occurred in the fiftieth year. Not just land but people were also freed. Jubilee is a year of Restoration for ALL! Rich , Poor, Enslaved, in Bondage…All. If NONE of that made sense just take this away…we are all in slavery and we are all given an opportunity to come to Freedom. We all can yell JUBILEE if we know we are set free!
Seasons and Feasts
HANDOUT #13 on the right FEASTS
Unacceptable Sacrifices. One of the first church services I ever attended at my current church the Pastor told a story about a woman who found a Butterball turkey in the back of her freezer frozen. She was not sure if it was still safe to eat. She called the “800” number on the package and the company said it was old, but indeed safe to eat, BUT probably not worth baking because it would not be tasty.
So she donated it to the church.
What we bring to the Lord must be our best. When you think of God, do you think of the leftover…time, money, resources…or do we bring our best? God gave us His best. He gave us the most Unblemished Sacrifice. In the Old Testament, bringing forward their unblemished male demonstrated true worship and a foreshadow of Jesus as our unblemished male.
Feasts and Seasons:
The Sabbath:23:1-3 We have read about this several times already, after 6 days we rest on the 7th. Perpetually reoccurring. They were to rest, worship, and a day for them to remember the finished work of God’s creation (Genesis 2:2) We too are to rest and worship but we celebrate the finished work of God’s Redemption.
Hebrews 4:9-11 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
The Passover and Unleavened Bread. The Passover was one day a year. This feast reminded the Israelites of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Following Passover was a the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They would withhold the yeast from the bread for 2 reasons. 1. Yeast is a symbol of sin, this would represent moral purity. 2. If you go back and read Exodus Chapter 12 you will see that they left Egypt so quickly that they did not wait for the dough to rise. This is a reminder of that day. On the chart I e-mailed out you will see that Jesus is that Bread, and Jesus is the Bread f Life, so it is important to know that He remained Yeastless, Sinless.
The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were being celebrated at the time of the crucifixion. A true lamb of God. See Mt 26:17-19. Look at the Chart again, EACH and EVERY FEAST has a prophetic foreshadow of The Christ. I have 3 words for that…..A-MAZE-ING!
First Fruits: Giving to the Lord your first harvest of grain, rather than what is left over. A Festival of Harvested Crops! Today this is of food, time, money, self…we are to give to the Lord first, as God did for us. This was a reminder of God’s Provision for them (and for us). God Provided His First Fruit for you…
Feast of Weeks: You will see in verse 16 it says “On the fifteenth Day of the Seventh Month ” Are you paying attention…because it is about to get really cool….. If Jesus was sacrificed on the Passover (this as planned from the beginning of time), and The Feast of Weeks is to happen 50 days later, what is God preparing for? Fifty (pente) days after the Harvest (the Passover) is Pentecost. Jesus was crucified at the time of Passover, resurrected 40 days later and 10 days later the Holy Spirit ascended down to Earth. Feast of Weeks is Pentecost. See God had the plan of Redemption through Jesus the entire time. The timing was always set in motion. Read Acts 2 Regarding the Pentecost.
Feast of Trumpets: We know this day on the Calendar as Rosh Hashanah. New Year’s Day for the Jewish People. A day for the Lord. It seems far from now, but it will be here before you know it, when Jesus Returns, (and He will baby) He will not tip toe in. He will be ushered in with Trumpets!!
Day of Atonement: We have talked a lot about this (Lev 16) so I am just going to sum it us up a day of Forgiveness and confession. Confession to the Lord is the first step in fellowship with the Lord. Once a year the community would come together as a nation and the High Priest would make a large sacrifice and put the blood on the cover of the tabernacle to “cover” our sins for the whole year. Something we have the privilege of doing each day with God directly through His High Priest , Jesus.
Feast of the Tabernacle Also called the Feast of Booths or the Feast of Ingathering. This feast would be celebrated outdoors in booths. The entire family would sit and read the scripture as a reminder to living in the wilderness, wandering, relying solely on God.
In conclusion we are coming up to Easter soon. It will be such an amazing Holiday this year as we are saturating ourselves with the Word of God. Because of our Easter, we no longer have to wander in our own lives. He gives us a promise land. HIM. So as we read about all these Feasts and Holidays they are a great reminder of our Holidays for our days of deliverance and Redemption which were set in motion FROM these holidays.
Advent is a time of anticipating the Birth of the Christ. Let this Lent season be and anticipation of the Christ’s Sacrifice.
- Various Laws
- Punishment for Sin
- Rules for Priest
So what do we do with Leviticus? It seems so strange at times. First, you need to remember that this was the Law that was given to the Hebrew nation to set them apart, to make them….Holy. They are surrounded by every man-made religion and ritual you can imagine, plus God is about to move them.. That cloud and fire will not sit on the Ark forever, God will pick up after 2 years and start heading to the Promise Land (next week).
Many people ask me about the “marrying inside the family” since the day of Adam’s children. Well, remember that Adam and Eve’s lifespans and their children’s’ were like 900 years. Families were ginormous. This allowed people to marry, yes in the family, but truly not a next of kin. Second, we talked about sin as an erosion. I told you we would reach a point in the timeline, and God knows when, that this MUST come to an end. We are here. THis is where God says no more intermarrying,
Anyway, back to the Various Laws. So how do we know which ones still apply today and which ones don’t? And by the way, Vs 27 was not referring to a Mullet…but that should still be outlawed and considered a SIN!!!
First, all these laws may not have been part of our Covenant but what it shows is How God feels about our behaviors. For example, If a man sleep with his daughter-in-law they should be put to death. When you hear that phrase ‘put to death’ it needs to ring in our ears “WOW, God really dislikes this sin!” What I am sure you did notice today was ALL the 10 commandments were represented in the Various Laws, and we know that Jesus restated them too.
These laws showed concern for:
- the unprivileged,
- the poor,
- the foreign,
- the disabled,
- He wants us to be fair,
- and respectful.
- God wants us to be caring for the earth.
These laws were to His people to set them apart from others, and they still are today. What exactly still applies? The New Testament is the Covenant for ALL people. Jesus readdresses all of these laws as they apply to us now. If your Bible has the words of Jesus in Red in the Gospel…flip through some of them, you will see the principles behind them are laid out.
HOWEVER, with that said, you will see that since Jesus fulfilled the Law we are given Freedom from the Law. And for that we need to be thankful! Does freedom mean we can live as the world? No, 1Peter reiterates that we are to be Holy, but we now have a Grace that has been extended to us for our sins, not just once a year, but forever.
Many of you may have also picked up on what God considers one of the GREATEST commandment of all times, as it is written here in the laws.
Leviticus 19:18:….But love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 22:36…”Teacher (speaking to Jesus), which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
- Day of Atonement
- Sexual relations
The Day of Atonement: We have mentioned it several times so far, today you will see it on your calendar as Yom Kippur (September). This was the day that the High Priest would go behind the curtain in the tabernacle from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place and sprinkle blood on the ark of the covenant to make “atonement” (to cover) the sins of all their nation for 1 year. Then, the High Priest would take 2 goats, each one representing how God takes our sin from us. The first goat was sacrificed and God would forgive the sin. The people were to put all their guilt onto the second goat (guilt is very much alive in so many of our forgiven sins). The second goat was presented to the Lord and then sent into the desert. It was released!
This to me was an unbelievable read. I encourage you to read it carefully and soak it all in. So much symbolism in Chapter 16. The preparation before coming to the Lord, the atonement, the washing and cleaning after the forgiveness. But I think we all noted the Scapegoat. I think many of us ask God for the forgiveness but we never release the guilt. God loves us so much that He wants to cover the sin from us forever but He also wants us to “feel” forgiven. So spend some time killing some goats with confession to the Lord BUT don’t forget to let that second goat run straight into the desert and NEVER come back. (it is Hebrew tradition to actually FOLLOW the goats into the wilderness and push them off a cliff to make sure they did not come back)
We no longer come to the Lord for forgiveness through a priest, But Through Jesus. Hebrews chapter 10 is about how he made the final sacrifice once and for all, so that we may have direct relation with God thorough his son Jesus. We also have the privileged of doing this EVERYDAY. He gives us grace every day. Do we take for granted? I do.
Chapter 17 and 18: This is actually really important chapters. Just like when we read the 10 commandments God then laid out The Book of of the Covenant to help relate the rules so that people didn’t say “ohhh, I didn’t know you meant that too” Well theses next chapters are referred to as the “holiness code”.
Life is in the Blood. Spend some time on that.
Chapter 18: Course: Sex Ed. 101.
If any of you have teenagers and are about to have the “talk” with them, feel free to take notes. Just Kidding. Why is God laying this out? Look at 18:1-3
The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the LORD your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.
The Lord warns them that what was behind them (Egypt) and what is in front of them (Canaan) are unholy ways. The Israelites are to keep themselves pure and set apart. So to sum it up, they are not to have sexual relations with relatives, commit adultery, partake in child sacrifice, and bestiality (this was all happening in pagan cults in Canaan…..great , can’t wait to read ahead).
Many people I know are reading the bible for the first time and this is their first experience reading about homosexuality in the Bible, so let’s just talk about it very quickly. Then you pray about it.
Vs:22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable.
First, you can’t take any one verse out of this chapter and say “well that is different”….These are God’s words. With that said, let me just point out that God said THAT is detestable not THEY. The sin is detestable not the person. And I know someone is saying “well that is Old Testament”, nope…it is repeated in Romans chapter 1. Done. I am not going to talk about it because Jesus could write 500 hundred of my sins (just from 1 day) in the sand. Let’s move on. God loves all His children, even a wretch like me.
Verse 21. Child sacrifice. Molech was another God that was worshipped, I think regarding the strength of the “sun” (ironic pun). We will actually read about Molech sporadically throughout the Bible. But just to give you a quick recap the Canaanites would sacrifice their first born by “passing them through the fire” as an honor to their God. (uhhh have you seen Madagascar 2….pretty close idea)
Here is what one might look like. (now you know why making the Golden Calf was a “great sin”…look familiar??)
Yup started my diet today after all. Gross huh. Here’s the deal,these people are living in communities that are populated and close. Outside the camps there are all sorts of pagan medicines and witchcraft for diseases. God is educating His people on common problems so that they don’t mingle in any un-holy practices. Remember this chapter is about approaching a Holy God. He will not tolerate a “mix” of religions.
If you ask someone if they have ever read through the Bible and they said they had started it but never finished it, this is probably where they started losing interest. This is a great week to just read the chapters and then take a little break. Not much digging into cross references here. And that’s ok, it’s day 48 and I need a “day off” anyway. But don’t stop or slow down, there are some great readings just around the corner.
Tomorrow….Sex Ed Class 101.
- Instructions for the people
- Purification after Childbirth
- Regulations about Skin Disease
I am going to put this in my head for a minute (scary…I know). I am sure a scholar would say it is much much more than this, but here is my relation to it: Ready?
They are sitting at one big Bible Study! We go to a study to help us with the things of the past, to deal with what we have currently, and how to apply His Word going forward. We are breaking old habits and traditions, and we are going to be in circumstances in our future and God knows how easy it would be to fall into those choices again. Here is the deal: We have a Bible. They don’t. God has them in 1 place (the base of the mountain) learning how to be Holy. (remember there are millions of people here) (also, this is like sitting in a large Hight School Health Class….proper hygiene/sex ed in one class)
Today we read instructions for the People. Let’s just try to picture what is going on. God brought the Israelites out of Egypt. Egypt worshipped many God’s and had their own way of living. Ahead of them is the land that is promised to them, Canaan, a pagan nation. The Lord is teaching them to purify themselves of sins they have committed, and teach them how to live Holy going forward.
Chapter 11. Unclean animals. When you read all this do you ever think, “well how do we know that God doesn’t want us to still not eat those animals?” Jesus tells us (Praise God!)
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean……He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ (Mark 7)
Chapter 11 we come across a familiar verse: (I love when things are familiar) Verse 44: I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy. LOL, I don’t think I need to cross references that to make application out of that, but many of you are saying that is familiar! Who does not love 1 Peter…ohhh I just get stuck in it all the time its so good.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”(1Peter 13-16) (Go read that in your Bible!!)
Chapter 13 Skin Disease: Good Golly right? Know that Leprosy means any skin disease and it can also be a parallel to sin. Reading this chapter that way will open up a whole new place in your heart.
Confession time: I skimmed today (to keep from throwing up) BUT I did pick up on a few choice phrases. vs 8 THE PRIEST IS TO EXAMINE (not the people)…The Priest decided what is clean and unclean. Interesting huh? Even though one has all this stuff going on on the outside, we are not to judge or cast that person. Only the priest, (Jesus). Vs 23: IT IS ONLY A SCAR, PRONOUNCE HIM CLEAN. Think about that. Do we see their past and assume? and then VS 46 as long as he is infected he must live outside the camp. OK, I am sorry this is a long blog but you have to hear this. I spoke to a girl last week, Kelly Mills, if you knew her it is really really weird getting spiritual guidance from her because she LOOKS like an angel (I peeked when she left, nope no wings) We were talking about How do we know when to separate ourselves from people and when to be close and be a “light” to them. She said to me, When you start to look like them, and they have an effect on you and your relationship with the Lord, it is time to separate.
OK, I have talked too long today so I encourage you to read two very short paragraphs in Luke..they are really really good. Click on each one.
Luke 17:11-19 Think about that all day. Do we just walk on?
Luke 5:12-13 Are we willing??
- Instructions to the Priest
- The priests begin their Ministry
- Nadab and Abihu
At this point we have seen the priests as the mediator between the people and God. Chapter 8 we see the priests offering their sacrifice in front of the community for their own sins. Moses as the mediator. (Jesus is now our mediator).
Chapter 9: My Bible titles this chapter The Priests Begin Ministry. I want you to be able to picture who they are ministering to. Glance at Joshua 21:19. They are ministering to 13 cities.
If all of this is just ummmm, not quite understandable sometimes. Let me just recap for a second.
- Sin entered the world.
- The penalty for sin is death.
- God loves us enough to give us an alternative.
- Sacrificing an innocent animal as our replacement (in Old Testament) will “cover” the sin, allowing them to be “saved”.
- It is God’s Love for us that He gives us this. He has Moses record all this so that when Jesus comes we know He is the final sacrifice that will cover all our sins.
Chapter 10: The Death of Nadab and Abihu. Yikes. I just got done talking about God’s perfect love and then BAM…wipes out 2 priests. It says in the first verse why…Contrary to his command. Then Aaron said Nothing. WHAT AN AWESOME Chapter to remind us HOW HOLY GOD IS. How we approach the creator of the Universe…the One that Gives us MERCY AND GRACE. Are you Kidding me! How do you come before the Lord daily? In prayer? In Worship? He is THE One and Only True God……King of Kings! With a WORD he can do ANYTHING. A Single word! Approach HM accordingly!
My favorite verse in the read today was : 10:10 “You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean”. In my head I was reading quick and I dead stopped on the word ”common”. The word Holy means: set apart…am I blending in with the common? Or am I being set apart?
New Testament: Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)