Saturday, March 31, 2012
However, there are times when I find I have done so. Working with the reading schedule daily on this blog is just one of those times. I did well with one book, but when I tried to incorporate the entire reading schedule - WOW! - Overwhelmed. So I have had to go back to the "drawing" board and see just what the Lord would appoint.
I believe I have heard Him. So we will be working with the book of Philippians in a detailed way and I will try to do that on a daily basis. It will not be a devotional. You may use it that way, of course, if you so desire. It will be in a study form and we will go verse by verse. So I invite you to join with me. and enjoy Philippians.
Personally, I continue with the daily reading. I have done so for years and will continue to do so. I will post about that when I get the schedule on-line. It has been on an old site, but I have not re-done that on our present one. It is time to have it digital again.
Thanks for reading, and Philippians #1 will follow shortly.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Reading: Numbers 11-12, Romans 6, Psalm 83.
My apologies for being delayed in getting Mannaword written during these past few days. I was out of state for a few days and purposely did not take a computer with me. It was a time of being "away." So I did not need to interact on-line. I know you all understand. I am back with it all now, and will be catching up on the daily reading with you. Most days, I will try to post two times, and in a few days, we will be back on the schedule as published. For those of you who do not have a copy of the actually schedule, I will try to get it up on our web site in a few days. That way you can print off a copy for yourself, or just check it if you wish.
Numbers 11 is a chapter we need to keep in mind. Living in this wonderful country with freedom of speech, we forget that in Jesus that freedom is removed. I refer you to Philippians 2:14 and Ephesians 4:29. We are called to be people who praise and encourage, not those who complain and tear down. Here in Numbers we have two chapters (11-12) which give us the consequences of such speech, but also our Lord's attitude toward what we speak. As we love Him and reflect Him more and more, our speech will be part of that reflection. It is a thing of hope and expectation - not of judgement and condemnation. Oh that we would hear the difference. He invites us to participate in His life of encouragement and love. What an absolute joy to accept this invitation and to be part of His movement on the earth.
Chapter 12 continues with the "speech" theme as Miriam and Aaron talk against Moses in an attempt to overthrow his authority, or at best, share in it. This, too, is very relevant for us. We are to be people who pray for our leaders and who keep ourselves out of the competitive spirit of this world. James 3:13-18 speak to this.
Romans 6 proclaims our placement in Christ as one who has died to sin. It reflects the understanding of 2 Corinthians 5, where we are told that when Christ died, we died. Therefore, "We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" Romans 6:2 NIV As we have received Christ and have been made a participant of all He accomplished, then it is ridiculous to continue to participate in sin. "For we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin -- because anyone who has died has been set free from sin." (6:5-7) These understandings are awesome and I pray receive an open heart in us as we process through this book.
Psalm 83 is a cry for vengeance from God upon the enemies of Israel. For us, as New Covenant blood- bought people, this is a bit foreign to our processing. We love our enemies and want the salvation of our Lord to be theirs. So we identify with the last verse more than the rest. It reads, "Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD-- that you alone are the Most High over all the earth." NIV
Next Reading: Numbers 13-14, Romans 7, Psalm 84.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Today's Reading: Numbers 9-10, Romans 5, Psalm 82.
Chapter 9 of Numbers is a beautiful reading. The first part is concerning the celebration of the Passover for all. We find that when anyone was on a trip or unclean from touching a dead body, they were to celebrate the Passover on the 2nd month instead of the 1st like everyone else. Everyone, whether Israelite or foreigner, were to celebrate it. This feast, that we found in Leviticus 23 is a shadow of the crucification of the Lord Jesus. He, of course, is the perfect Lamb of God. Israel offered this Passover Feast each year in celebration of what He would do. Of course, they did not know that, but we do. All things point to Jesus Christ!
The latter part of the chapter concerns itself with the movement of the 2-3 million known by the name Israel. There was a cloud above the Tabernacle. It looked like a cloud by day, and it turned to fire by night. (What an awesome night-light - but I digress). This was the essence of the LORD's presence. Verses 17 - 18 says, "Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the LORD's command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle, they remained in camp." NIV Then the last verse (23) states, "At the LORD's command they encamped, and at the LORD's command they set out. They obeyed the LORD's order, in accordance with his command through Moses." NIV
We have it much easier today in every way. The cloud was a shadow of the Holy Spirit. He lives in us and directs our movement (or at least would like to do so) from within. He is the fire and the mist (refreshment) in our Jesus. The cloud lives in us and is ever ready to let us know the wise thing to do, say and be.
Chapter 10 begins with the explanation of the silver trumpets. Oddly enough, we never really have instructions about the blowing of the shofar (ram's horn) trumpets until they are used in the Battle of Jericho in the book of Joshua. (We will discuss them when we get there). However, silver trumpets were to be used to call the assembly of the congregation, leaders, movement, or battle. Again we see the organization of our Father in making certain all would understand and move appropriately.
The remaining part of the chapter is about Israel setting out from Sinai. We find the order of march which we learned in Chapter 2, now becomes their action. Judah and its associated tribes set out, then the Gershonites and Merarites who carried the tabernacle structure and curtains set out.
Next was the tribe of Reuben and their associated tribes, then the Kohathites, carrying the furniture of the Tabernacle and the veil set out. The Tabernacle was to be set up and waiting for them when the furniture (altars, laver, lamp stand, shewbread table, and Ark) arrived. However, we find out that the Ark was placed at the front of their march, to find their way for them. (verse 33). Then the camp of Ephraim and their associated tribes. Bringing up the rear was the camp of Dan with their associated tribes. It must have been quite an amazing thing to travel with such a large group.
Again we are amazed at the LORD's order and care of them. What an awesome God!
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:1-2. NIV I love this chapter in Romans. The explanation of how we are justified by faith in this New Adam thrills my heart. Once we were all dead in our sins, but now made alive through birth into the family of God, "...because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." When we were powerless, Christ died for us. The rest of the chapter is an explanation of the "much more" that is ours in Christ as a result of His work for us. Death came through the first Adam, life comes through the second Adam - Jesus our Lord.
Go through this chapter and underline the "much more." you will find it again and again. Write them out and enjoy them with Him.
Psalm 82 is a court scene. We discover as we read the Old Testament prophets, that often God will set up just such a scene (especially in Isaiah) and call witnesses, like the earth to come and testify. Here we have an outcry from His heart about a lack of integrity among His people. He called them "gods" because of all He empowered them to be and do, but they choose darkness instead of light as they did not defend the weak and needy among them. So He said they would die like mere mortals.
We, as believers, are His children, His seed. We are not mere mortals at all. We have the Holy Spirit within, therefore are being imaged in the image of Jesus Christ. He would call us to allow the Spirit within to fill us with the integrity of God Himself, and live in that power and light. What a marvelous, high calling!
Tomorrow's Reading: Numbers 11-12
Reading: Numbers 7-8, Romans 4, Psalm 81
Numbers 7 is a description and counting of the Offerings of Dedication at the set up of the Tabernacle. "When Moses finished setting up the tabernacle, he anointed and consecrated it and all its furnishings. He also anointed and consecrated the altar and all its utensils. Then the leaders of Israel, the heads of families who were the tribal leaders in charge of those who were counted, made offerings." NIV Most of the rest of the chapter is counting those offerings. If you read carefully, you found that each leader from each tribe brought exactly the same amount of offerings, and the same kind of offerings. Once again, the same things is required from each one.
The last paragraph of the chapter is very important. "When Moses entered the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law. In this way the LORD spoke to him." NIV There are many and varied stories in literature about how Moses heard God. Some involve the breastplate lighting up, etc... However, the Word says clearly that the LORD spoke to him from the Mercy Seat (or atonement cover). Once again, we find a supernatural event. Our God has always been supernatural and He is constantly with and in His people. It is amazing what we are told in the Word.
Chapter 8 rehearses the setting up of the Lampstand and how it was made..."exactly like the pattern the LORD had shown Moses." This is followed with the setting apart the Levites, officially, for their service and it is explained they were to serve the Tabernacle from ages 25-50. Then they could assist the other Levites, but not the Tabernacle itself.
Our LORD is very orderly and no detail escapes Him. He is truly Wonderful!
Then we turn to Romans 4 and discover Father God who loves and provides for every human being. The Spirit had already discussed the sinful nature of the nations and then of the Jews themselves, (which represent to us all ethnic and religious distinctions). In Chapter 3, we were told that everyone has sinned, but God has made a way for all of us through Christ Jesus our Lord.
The theme of 2:28-29 is enlarged. That reads, "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." KJV Now we are told that the promise to Abraham, that he would inherit the world, was not made to the seed of the Law, but to the seed of Faith. So all, circumcised in flesh or not, could share in the righteousness of faith given to Abraham, and be known as the children of Abraham. This is awesome for all of us. Now it is no longer about what race, or religion one is birthed in the natural, but rather, the circumcision of the heart which is voluntary and occurs with a willing second birth - one from above. We are so blessed.
Psalm 81 is a precious praise and prophetic song between the Psalmist and God Himself. Our Father relieved every burden, but Israel of old choose other Gods. He would have fed them with the finest wheat and oil, but they would not. So He let them have the emptiness they had sought.
May our lives reflect the reception of every good and perfect gift from Him. Everything but relationship in Him, ends in emptiness and loneliness. Only Jesus our Lord can bring us all the Father is and desires for us to share in participation. How I praise Him!
Next reading: Numbers 9-10, Romans 5, Psalm 82.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Reading: Numbers 5-6, Romans 3, Psalm 80.
I missed writing here yesterday. My apologies for that. Every now and again I will have a day I have to miss. This coming Saturday will be such a day. I get my reading and time with the Lord, but do not get the extra time to write. So thank you for understanding and continuing to read with me. I will write two today, but only one this morning. It will have to be later for me to do the one for today. The Lord is so very good to allow me, at this point in my life, to have such times. Busy is good: Good for the Lord, good for the ministry, good for me!
These two chapters in Numbers are not difficult. The cover a number of topics and instructions. Allow me to point out a supernatural item. The uncomfortable passage with the husband (chapter 6) who has a "spirit of jealousy" and brings his wife to the priest. You will notice that the woman who has no fault in the matter is never harmed by the action of drinking the concoction given by the priest. However, if she is guilty of adultery, then the curse will come and her health will suffer. As we progress through the Old Testament, there will be opportunity to see and understand the flowing of the supernatural. This is one of those times.
Of course, as a woman, my thoughts immediately go to what about the husband??? Oh well, the culture then (thousands of years ago) was not always favorable to women. So we do not read into their culture what would be required in ours. Remember that as you read all through the Scriptures. The Lord address the people in their understanding and in their culture.
Romans 3 is wonderful! It basically tells us that all are guilty, for "all have sinned." Therefore, the God and Father of us all has taken action and provided righteousness for us through His own action in Jesus Christ - regardless of our nationality, or culture. What an absolutely wonderful chapter!
Psalm 80, likewise is good for our hearts. It is a cry from the Psalmist for the Lord to intervene in the life of the people of Israel. I love how it begins, "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel...." The Psalm is particularly poignant in the KJV.
I pray you are enjoying with me the preciousness of the Word, and finding that it is really not difficult to read and allow the Lord to teach us His own heart in His own way. We do not need to force Him into teaching using us. He does that at times, but His Word is the essence of His person. So as we receive our Lord, we must therefore find a way to receive His word. I urge you to read a translation/version that you can understand. I used the KJV as a child and young person, so I often return to be blessed with its familiar words. You use what is best for you and Him. That, after all, is what all of life is about! Enjoy your day.
The reading for today - I will write about it later in the day: Numbers 7-8, Romans 4, and Psalm 81.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Today's reading: Numbers 3-4, Romans 2, Psalm 79.
These two chapters in Numbers continue with the outline of the organization of God as the children of Israel, now 2-3 million strong are about to set out on their journey. In order for a family (or even me by myself) to travel it is imperative to do a bit of organization. I am especially aware of the clothing needs that must be thought through and the food needs etc... Well, the Lord is far ahead of them all, and He is outlining a way of "marching" through together than is a masterpiece of organization. In these two chapters, he concentrating on the Levities and their responsibilities before leaving a location.
In Chapter 3 the Lord instructs the order of their camp and their jobs as they move. The three sons of Levi - Gershon, Kohath and Merari are assigned living locations. They were to take care of the Tabernacle and all its furniture and furnishings. Moses was instructed to count them.
Gershon was counted first then they were assigned to live on the west, behind the Tabernacle. They had the responsibility of the care of the tabernacle and tent and all the fabric pieces, with the exception of the veil. Everything else in fabric form was to be cared for by the Gerishonites.
Next the tribe of Kohath was counted. They were assigned to live on the south side of the Tabernacle and had the care of all the furniture associated with the Tabernacle, and the veil. Then the tribe of Merari was counted and assigned to live on the north side of the Tabernacle. They were responsible for the frames of the the Tabernacle and everything else related to their use, all the bases, ropes, tent pegs, etc...
Moses and Aaron and their sons were to live on the east side of the Tabernacle, right in front of the Tent of Meeting. All the sons of Levi counted at the Lord's command (numbered from one month old) were 22,000. The remainder of the chapter is the process of "redemption" of all the Levites instead of the firstborn when they left Egypt, and the money used instead of people for the right number. It is interesting reading, and is tied intrinsically to the redemptive process of the first born. Of course, these matters are all shadows of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 2 continues from Chapter 1 where all the nations are referred to as those who do not seek God and behave in sinful ways. Here in Chapter 2 the Holy Spirit shines the light on the "religious" people who think they are O.K. because of their natural lineage. One of the key points is verses 28-29, "A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God." This chapter is also a bit hard on us, but these chapters set the stage to understand chapter 3. We will read that tomorrow.
Psalm 79 is one of those Psalms that we may grow uncomfortable with as we read. The author is crying out to God for vengeance on those who have wronged Israel. As we open to see here, our hearts are warmed with someone who was willing to bare their emotions for us to see. We become comforted that such strong language and feeling was not only allowed in prayer, for this Psalm is a prayer, but encouraged. It was an honest response to hurt. We, of course, would call for mercy and help for our enemies, but they lived in a different age. It is enough to know our God is not adversed to strong emotion being expressed and felt.
Keep reading with me.
Tomorrow's reading: Numbers 5-6, Romans 3, Psalm 80.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Today's reading: Numbers 1-2, Romans 1, Psalm 78
Numbers is just that, a book of census and numbers of people the Lord wanted Moses to take at this point in Israel's journey. The Israelites are still at Mt. Sinai, have received the Law and the Tabernacle has been erected. Now the Lord wants Moses to count and present an organized approach to their movements as a nation.
In Chapter 1 we have a numbering of the Captains of each tribe (12 men are named), the the second numbering is of all those who are 20 years old and above who can go to war, listed by their tribes. They number 603,550.
Please notice in 1:49 and again in 2:33 the Levites are not numbered with everyone else, by specific command. They will be numbered later.
In Chapter 2 we have the marching arrangement of the people. Note: with 603,550 men of war, we add the women, then those younger, etc... and we easily have a nation of at least 2 million. For them all to set out to move without some order, would mean great confusion. We know our God is not daunted by numbers, but He puts in place an organized approach for movement that is wonderful.
Four tribal banners are used. Those banners are the images of the Lion, Ox, Man and Eagle. You will remember these are the faces of the creatures that surround the Throne of God in Ezekiel 1 and in Revelation 4. Under each banner three tribes camp. To the East of the Tabernacle is the tribe of Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. To the South is Reuben, Simeon, and Gad. To the west is Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin, and to the North is Dan, Asher and Naphtali. The Levites take care of the Tabernacle itself and they march with the Tabernacle pieces after the tribes on the South march out.
So we can immediately see how very important these chapters are. They share with us the heart of the Father for the care of His people. He never leaves His people to wander about without the guidelines of that walk being outlined clearly. He truly is always working with the hearts of His people. What an awesome Father we have!
Romans 1 is a marvelous chapter. In 1:5 we find the phrase, "...for obedience to faith amount all nations." Again in 16:26 we have the same phrase. To me this sets the theme of the book. Paul's commission was to bring about this obedience into faith of all the nations. The Holy Spirit will begin to unfold for us this faith into obedience (lit.) as we progress through the book.
The proclamation of verses 16-17 is the life statement and covering for all of us. "I am not ashamed..." It would be good to memorize these two verses if you have not already done so.
Verses 18-32 then set out the nature of the natural, god-less person of the world. When we read, we see our world. Tomorrow in Chapter 2, the religious Jewish people of Paul's day are talked about, and we will find ourselves in one of these groups, but that is for tomorrow.
Psalm 78 is a marvelous history of Israel from God's point of view. Allow the Lord to flow over your heart in love and provision as you read.
Tomorrow's reading: Numbers 3-4, Romans 2, Psalm 79.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Today's reading: Leviticus 26-27.
Today is the last reading day in Leviticus. (And for those of you following my complete schedule, it is the last day in Matthew as well). I do plan to continue blogging each day on the reading. Right now I am planning on blogging on the daily reading in Numbers and in Romans. Since the reading is less difficult than Leviticus to understand, I think we can do both and enjoy it thoroughly. So thank you for reading and let's continue to read the Book of all Books - His.
Leviticus 26 is a bit of a "summary of the Covenant"chapter. It reminds me of many of the chapters in Deuteronomy. We will see that when we get there. This chapter outlines the basic Old Testament principle of "Rewards for Obedience," and "Punishment for Disobedience." Our legalistic minds are blessed by this and we would readily take it to heart.
While this principle is an "always works" principle, it is a lower principle than the one of grace. This is the basic, "what you sow is what you reap," principle which is repeated, especially regarding our money in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 8-9). However, in grace, there is a higher working principle. In Christ, we reap what He has sown. Our obedience is the product of faith through love and always brings a harvest of goodness to His glory. However, we do not give, nor love, nor behave ourselves for the reward of that action. Rather we do those things because we are those things in His love, provision, forgiveness and goodness. Again I am reminded of Titus 2:11-12, "For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It etches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions and to lived self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." (NIV) That is the action of grace in and on our lives.
Chapter 27 repeats and furthers the understanding of redemption under the Old Covenant. Redemption was a process of "buying back" a dedicated animal. It was the process by which all became the Lord's. It was on the basis of blood that all things were redeemed. Their animals were their participation in this understanding. To be "dedicated" to the Lord mean't everything - even the life. It was not a casual thing, but a life thing. It is also that today. However, He does not want dead sacrifices, but living ones. (Romans 12:1). He wants to live in us -- with us, enjoying life and bringing much joy in it. There are depths to be dug here, so I leave you with these thoughts. Enjoy Him today.
Tomorrow's reading: Numbers 1-2, Romans 1, Psalm 78. Join me.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Today's reading: Leviticus 24-25.
Chapter 24 includes further instructions for the two pieces of furniture of the Tabernacle pictured above. The first instruction is for the oil that was to be in the lamp stand and the care of that oil. The lamp stand was to be taken care of continually. (Every morning and every evening by High Priest). The oil was to be clear from pressed olives. This was to burn continually in the Holy Place (outer room) of the Tabernacle and was to provide light for three reasons: it was to burn before the Lord, it was to give light so the glory of all the furniture pieces could be seen, and it was to give light so the priests could see in this room. This was pure olive oil so it would burn well and without smoke. This symbolically was the light of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer - so the believer can understand and "see" the Word.
The bread on the Table of Shewbread (or simply The Table) was to be made of the finest flour and oil. There were twelve loaves - one for each tribe. This illustration shows them stacked up and down, many believe they were stacked side by side, with all showing equally. Either way, they were unleavened wheat bread stacked before the Lord every Sabbath. They remained there until the next Sabbath at which time they were replaced with fresh ones. The week-old ones were then eaten in the Holy Place. The Table itself was about as tall as our coffee tables. One would need to bend to partake and minister here. Symbolically the Table and its ever present bread represent the provision of the Lord(in all areas - especially emotional well being), continually present before the Lord and His servants. To eat, to minister one must bend or go to their knees.
The Last part of the chapter is uncomfortable for us. However, the standard God had set for the Israelites was high in regard to the words of their mouths. Here it is underlined and enforced. It should be noted that for the entire history of the nation of Israel (both united and divided) there were no prisons. There were "cities of refuge" to which an offender could flee until trial, but no prisons. Retribution was according to law and swift. It did its job to control the nation. Our mouths are to be those of praise.
Chapter 25 is a wonderful breath of fresh air as it deals with the Sabbath and its years. Every 7th day was a day of rest, every 7th year was a year of rest, every 49th year was a year of rest and every 50th year was a year of rest. (Yup - two years in a row at least once in a normal lifetime). We do need to get the picture! The Lord loves celebrations (The Feasts) and He insists upon rest. This chapter sets for the promised provisions for the days, weeks and years of rest that was to punctuate their lives.
Years ago, I spent many months seeking the Lord to understand what the Sabbath was really all about. Of course, it was instituted by God after creation, so I understood the importance of physical rest, but also understood that our God was saying something beyond that all through the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the Sabbath is referred to, but never in commandment form. So I was curious. When the answer came, I was on my face praying to the Lord and seeking His heart, when all of a sudden, I knew. Of course! The Sabbath, its days, weeks, and years all were prophetic statements of what the Christ would bring us in relationship. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matt. 11:28-30 NIV
This does not relieve us of the need to physically rest. When we choose to rest, we learn to hear Him much more clearly. His call is to come and "be." What a marvelous Savior!
Tomorrow's reading: Leviticus 26 & 27,
Friday, March 16, 2012
Today's reading: Leviticus 22-23.
Chapter 22 can seem very strange and foreign to us, but if we take it as a whole, there are some points to receive. The first part of it is a continuation of the instructions in chapter 21. It is addressing the actions and attitudes the priests (and some other people as well) have toward the required and free will offerings of the sacrifices. The main point is that what the LORD requires is perfection in an offering, and nothing "unclean" or deformed in any way could be the proper sacrifice. All of this had to do with the Old Covenant's emphasis on ceremonial cleanliness and perfection as defined earlier by the regulations for offerers and sacrifices.
Jesus is and was the perfect sacrifice in every way. He became all that would ever be needed in reference to every sacrifice, burnt, grain, fellowship, sin or trespass. He was the perfect lamb, slain for all the needs of man and the earth itself. These regulations in Leviticus lay the foundation "shadows" of understanding for us.
The second part of the chapter concerns itself with what was unacceptable in the way of sacrifices. The point is the same - foundation stones for what is now our redeemer. He was perfect in every way.
In the Old Covenant, man was responsible to interact with God by bringing the sacrifices for the offerings. His faith was in the bringing and in the obedience. In the New Covenant, God Himself has become through Jesus our Lord, the perfect, forever sacrifice. So our faith's action is to receive that and trust Him for all He is to become in us. The Old was concerned with man's bringing. The New is concerned with acceptance of what God has brought, given and released. Our obedience is the fruit of our faith. Paul in Romans refers to it as "the obedience of faith."
Chapter 23 is the list of all the celebrations the Lord required of the Israelites during the year. Each year's time was marked by their rejoicing in the "feasts" of the LORD in remembering all He is and what He has done. There are eight feasts listed: The Sabbath, The Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of the First Fruits, The Feast of Pentecost, The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. Each of these are distinctive pictures of the completed work of our Lord Jesus Christ, and are worth the time to study in depth. Many do not count the Sabbath as one, since it was weekly, not just yearly. However, in this chapter the Sabbath is the first one listed. In Biblical typology the number seven (7) is completeness/perfection and the number eight (8) is abundance. Please notice as you read through this chapter how many times both numbers are used. The last feast of the year was celebrated for 8 days, the 8th day being the "high" or most important day of the feast. "On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.'" John 7:37-38 NIV
All of these are pictures of the completed and abundant work of Jesus Christ for us and given to us. Everything the Father did of old for us is intended to "...teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope." Romans 15:4 NIV
The provision of our God is abundant and wonderful in every way!
Tomorrow's reading: Leviticus 24-25.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Today's reading: Leviticus 20-21.
Chapter 20 continues much in the same vein as chapter 18. I think a good summary of the true emphasis of the text is verses 7-8, "Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy." Also the last part of verse 24, "...I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations." NIV
The word "holy" means "set apart." So we understand the laws given here were to empower the people, who had made YHWH their god, to be like Him. It was always for fellowship's sake. He wanted them to know the difference between Him and other so called, "gods." He wanted them to be as He is. His laws were to inform them about His nature, and make a pathway for them to be the same.
In the New Covenant, we have God Himself living in us through the Holy Spirit to accomplish that "likeness" and "image." So, therefore, the things written here, for the most part, will be our joy to express in ways of life. We are not under law and we are not instructed to "keep" or "guard" the law. However, these words from the Holy Spirit through Paul in Romans speak volumes, "For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law, by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law." (Romans 7:28-31 NIV) Other translations say we "confirm' the law.
Since Jesus is the Word, and the Law is in the Word, once fulfilled in His flesh it remains fulfilled. It no longer needs me to do that. However, since He lives in me, my life will live it out in His grace and provision. We, as New Testament people, will live out this likeness and fellowship in His love.
Chapter 21 is filled with instructions for the Leviticual priesthood. They were to reflect the nature and purity of life of God Himself. There were not to dress, be stylish in the trend of the day or any such thing with their outward appearance as they were to reflect the nature of the God they were serving. He is always the same, and He is clean. These were very specific instructions regarding their lives.
We also live out His nature. We have instructions drawn off of these. We are the priesthood (2 Peter 2) and as such are to reflect the one we serve. Again, I refer you to the last part of Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians for similar instructions for us.
Tomorrow's reading: Leviticus 22-23. Only three more days and we have finished Leviticus!
Reading: Leviticus 18-19.
These chapters are concerned with the emphasis of the lives of God's people. Of course, the material is specifically to Old Testament Israel, but there are a few conclusions we can benefit from in this section.
First, as we walk in grace, the right things of God are expected from us. We know our acceptance in His heart is on the basis of grace and faith in Jesus Christ and Him alone. However, there is the expectation in the New Testament that we would be taught by grace to live holy lives (Titus 2:11-12 NIV). So we can look at the emphasis of these chapters and learn what that means.
Many times in today's world we do not know what it means to live a life reflecting the Lord's goodness. So such chapters are very important. Several thoughts come to the surface.
We are not to live with a constant sexual emphasis. This is just one of the items I see in these chapters. The Lord does not leave to our imagination or even our pleasure, who is to be our sexual partner. It is limited to a marriage covenant. Only there is sex productive and safe. In our society, we are so permeated with the emphasis of sex, that sometimes we think it is "naturally" the strongest drive in the human, and it must be satisfied. It is not the strongest drive, but is simply the tool used to abuse others many times and it just disguises the true strongest drive. The real problem is the desire for pleasure at all costs. With our own selves as our primary god, then only when we have what we want, are things at peace. (This is also true of materialism etc...).
I realize this is an oversimplification, but for the purposes of this blog - I need to leave it that way. We, as the holy, in-dwelt people of God, need the priorities of our mind and bodies rearranged into a peace in the Lord that enables thought transformation, so our persons are not consumed in directions of damage.
In chapter 19, the instructions of life on a different plane are further developed. Most of these are repeated in the New Testament (especially Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians). However, the instructions regarding tattoo's are unique to the Israelites. We must remember that they have come from a culture where these things were used to identify the gods the person was serving. They were going to dwell among cultures where that would be the norm. The Lord had asked them to live another way.
Do I believe the laws about tattoo's still apply? Since only grace through faith applies, we are rather safe on this point. However, I would say as a older Christian, I think it best to refrain. But that is just my humble opinion - nothing more.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Today's reading: Leviticus 16-17.
Chapter 16 covers the "Day of Atonement." Understanding this is crucial to understanding the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some, think this is yet to be - but nothing could be further from the truth. I encourage you to read Hebrews 9-10 to begin to understand this chapter.
The High Priest was to enter the Holy of Holies, with incense, and blood on one day in the year. On that day, he entered twice - once with the blood offering of the Ram for his own sin and that of his family, then the second time with incense and the blood of the sacrificed goat for the sins of the people, while the "scapegoat" went free into the wilderness. All of this is a picture of what our Lord did for us on the cross. We find in Hebrews 9: 7 "But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance." This entire celebration was a statement of grace. God was covering every mistake. He is like that. I am so grateful!
This was done for the outward cleansing of His people. Hebrews 9:9 "This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper." Then in Hebrews 9:14, "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!"
Notice back in Leviticus 16, the High Priest placed his white tunic, undergarments, turban (along with bold headband - "Holy to the Lord" and sash. He did not wear the blue garment, nor the garments associated with the breastplate, nor the breastplate. These were his references to the people from God. Before God's presence, he stood as a man for men.
In chapter 17 we have a new understanding given to us about blood. It has already been commanded earlier that God's people should not eat blood, now it is explained why. 17:11, "for the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." We know from modern medicine that the interior health (or lack of it) of a person can be read through the blood. The blood contains the life. If the blood is healthy, then the life body will be healthy and of course the reverse of that is true as well.
They were never to eat the blood of any animal. We can, of course, immediately know the health issues of this, simply because of the diseases etc... that we know are carried there. The only New Testament verse we have addressing this is Acts 15:29 in the letter the Apostles wrote to the gentile Christians about what would be bound upon them from the Old Testament and its laws. We read, "You are to abstained from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things." I think that last statement should be remembered. While what we eat or drink is never the criteria by which we are saved or judged, the advice of the Apostles and elders was that we would "do well to avoid these things." I think we would be healthier if we did, but that is a matter of personal opinion.
Tomorrow's reading: Leviticus 18-19.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Today's Reading: Leviticus 14-15.
We are over 1/2 the way through Leviticus. So see, if you are reading along, we are getting it done. This seemingly impossible book is getting conquered, at least for the moment and for this year.
Chapter 14 continues to concern itself with the skin diseases and how the Israelites were to deal with them. Also it concerns what to do with mold found in a house, or disease found on a garment, bowl or piece of leather. Again, this was long before clorox so the only way to disinfect was to work these ways. If we see the overall picture of working to stay clean and free of disease, and to help the corporate body stay this way as well, we will be better able to receive this chapter.
The one incident in the New Testament that occurred to me as I read this, is the removal of the gentleman from the general fellowship when he was living in a incestuous relationship. (1 Corinthians 5) The purpose of such discipline was and is to restore the person to their "first love," and to keep them from causing many to follow the same pathway. Such action in Spirit, never mistreats, but looks for the return and always protects the general body from such sin. This is difficult, but very similar to what was done in Leviticus in regard to people with diseases and with houses that were growing mold.
Chapter 15 is a continuation of addressing health issues regarding the body that is having a discharge. Again, remember we have 2-3 million people camping together, and things must be kept very clean in order not to foster a wide spread plague of some sort. So the LORD did not leave a stone unturned in their training in cleanliness.
All of this exterior cleanliness points us to an interior call and placement of being as He is. We call it holiness. To live a holy life in Jesus is His gift to us. To maintain the lifestyle that proclaims that cleanliness of heart is our gift to Him. Now, we all know we are unable to maintain such on our own, so our entire person is to be enmeshed in Him, moment by moment. He is our Holiness and we become His expression of that Holy nature in Him. It is His gift of personhood in us. Thank you Jesus!
Tomorrow's reading: Leviticus 16-17.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Today's reading: Leviticus 12-13.
Chapter 12, you will notice is very short. It simply explains the procedures for a woman after child birth in reference to the participation in communal life. I do not know why for the difference in days set as "unclean" for a male child and a female child. I suspect it has something to do with the health of the woman. Most of this type of regulation was for health purposes. It may not yet be know. But there will sooner or later be a health factor involved.
Notice that on the 8th day the male was to be circumcised. We know medically that is the best day for a newborn to have this done - safer, less bleeding etc... I find it interesting that this again is on the 8th day. We, in the New Covenant Church are an 8th day people. The resurrection of our Lord happened on the "8th day." Of course, the 8th day is also the 1st day. But watch the 8th day as you read through the Old Testament. It is important.
Chapter 13 is very lengthy. It is descriptive the skin diseases and how the priest (who was the physician of the day) could tell if a person was contagious or not. This was the "clean" and "unclean" principle here. If they were clean, they could participate in communal life, if unclean, they had to live outside the camp. This was to keep those with contagious diseases from infecting the entire camp. It, again, was for the health of the group. We see this today, especially in third world countries, in leprosy camps. It is an attempt to confine the disease.
I do not know of a New Testament correlation. Some of these matters were for then and the health of a nation of 2-3 million people camping out together.
Tomorrow's reading: Leviticus 14-15.
See, we are able to do this. Just two or three chapters a day and we are on our way. Before long Leviticus will be behind us. See how awesome it is to read and allow the Lord to show us "stuff."
Reading: Leviticus 10-11.
My apologies for this being a day late. That happens sometimes when schedules and energy (or the lack thereof) get in the way. However, here we go....
I want us to look at Leviticus 9:24 which actually picks up the setting up of the Tabernacle and the beginning of its service in Exodus 40. Notice what this verse says, "Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown." (NIV)
Everything was set up and ready for the sacrifices to be burned, and then the LORD Himself lit the fire in a most dramatic way. He did the same thing at the inauguration of Solomon's temple (2 Chron. 7:1), and also on the Day of Pentecost 33 A.D. with the tongues of fire. The LORD provides His own fire for the work of His priests. The priests did not light the fire for the Tabernacle and all its services, God Himself took care of the fire which was used and protected. Never was fire created by man used in the services of the LORD.
Now we begin to see the offense of Nadab and Abihu in chapter 10. They were exceedingly presumptions, but beyond that, seemed to have no regard for the work of God Himself. They choose their own fire and when they choose to bring it into the Holy Place to light the incense there, the scripture says "...the LORD consumed them." Fire came out from His presence and burned them up. They were carried out in their tunics. Notice what was burned - not their holy clothes, but only their persons. This story reminds me a bit of the extreme nature of the punishment the LORD inflicted upon Ananias and Sapphira at the beginning of the New Covenant Church. Our LORD was (and is) concerned with our attitudes and actions as we worship and live. He intends for us to honor and not be casual or off handed about Him and His nature in us.
Chapter 11 explains to the Israelites the differences in "clean" and "unclean" food. If we will follow it through we will realize that this was for their health and well-being in a world where cooking and storage methods could not make some food safe to eat. I am aware, we still do not make all foods good for our health. We know in grace, we can eat whatever we choose. Our walk with the LORD is never determined by our food. One teacher I heard said, "There is no problem with eating pigs. Feel free. It will not keep anyone out of heaven, in fact, you may get there sooner." Just some thoughts. These matters were very important for them as they were to live in health.
It was the beginning teaching on how to outwardly determine "clean" and "unclean." This gets translated later into other matters for us in terms of 'holy" and "unholy." We will work more deeply with that, when we get there.
Next reading: Leviticus 12-13.
Friday, March 09, 2012
Today's reading: Leviticus 8-9
It is important when reading any passage that is so removed from our awareness and understanding, and this is especially true of Leviticus, to use an English translation that gives us clarity when we read it. We may not understand, but if a "picture" can be seen, then at least we can begin to see what is being said. So if for some reason that is not happening when you are reading, find another translation. I am using the NIV for clarity. My daily reading is in another translation that I am using right now, but these sections are not clear in me as I read there. So I switch and read the NIV to have clarity. I have read this book many times and have even taught the book, but if the pictures are not clear - time to reach for another translation to help.
Chapter 8 is the ordination of Aaron as High Priest and his sons as priests to help him and serve under him. It is a chapter full of the symbolic understanding of our total dedication to our Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, our Lord Jesus was our complete and total sacrifice and all these items are a part of our acceptance of Him in us. We are washed, we are cleansed, we are dressed in robes of righteousness and given in our hands work to accomplish in His love.
Many of us think we are the"little" priests serving under our Exalted High Priest Jesus and that is what is mean't in 1 Peter 2:4-5. (Reading 1 Peter 1 & 2 would be good today to really see a NT application of our Leviticus chapters). However, since we are called the Lord's body, we are not "little priests" serving under the High Priest, but part of the work of the High Priest. It is important not to separate ourselves as "born-again" believers from Him in any way. We have been made and are being transformed into His image because He lives in us. These are amazing truths.
The priests (all of them) were to live in the sanctuary enclosure (Tabernacle of old) for seven (7) days. They were to really become familiar with the structure and their regulations. What else would you do during those days? Then on the eighth (8th) day - Chapter 9 - they all began their ministry. Take a few moments to read the chapters again and notice the details. Nothing is left undone in reference to them. The Lord covers it all and instructs them thoroughly.
I wanted to point out one important fact. This entire set up is total grace on the part of God toward the Israelites. But one item often escapes us as students. Leviticus 8:9, "Then he placed the turban on Aaron's head and set the gold plate, the sacred emblem, on the front of it, as the Lord commanded Moses." If we look back to Exodus 28:36-38 we find, "Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD. Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. It will be on Aaron's forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron's forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the LORD." In other words, this gold plate was the grace statement over the life of the High Priest. Whatever he forgot, the grace statement on his forehead took care of it. This is huge. It means there was no need for a rope on his ankle (none is ever found in Scripture) when he entered the Holy of Holy as it was already taken care of in the gold plate on top of his forehead. Much is unlocked in grace.
Another interesting study is to trace through Scripture the times the 8th day is used. It is very symbolic of our New Covenant. No space for that today.
In grace, all has been done and we are cleansed, covered, consecrated and our hands are filled with His work of love. Grace covers and releases in holy living. (Titus 2:11-12)
Tomorrow's reading: Leviticus 10-11.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Today's Reading: Leviticus 6-7.
Today's reading gives additional information regarding the Guilt (or Trespass) Offering, The Burnt Offering, The Grain Offering, The Sin Offering, then back to the Guilt and the Fellowship Offering. In addition it includes renewed commandments on not eating fat, and explaining somewhat the priest's share in the offerings.
As we ponder these Offerings, I think it would be helpful to look back and see that our Lord left nothing out. Everything was provided for in the series of 5 offerings. Every offense, sin, mis-speak etc... is made provision for. I am reminded to the passage in Hebrews 9 about Christ's sacrifice being effective one time for all sin. What an awesome reality! Each of these OT offerings were pictures, or visual aids, to help us understand the total and completed work of Jesus Christ. It was an amazing visual aid. These are called "shadows" in the NT because they did not do the work of Christ, they only gave a shadow of the work completed in the mind and heart of the Father, prior to the foundation of the world.
I mentioned the Salt Covenant a day or so ago. This is first mentioned in Numbers 18:19, "Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the Lord I give to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your off-spring." This is spoken to the priest who were serving at the altar. If we read its context, we find that the Lord was promising them that as along as they gave Him what He asked on the altar, they would always have plenty. Their prosperity was based on their obedience to His heart about the offerings. The Covenant of Salt is also mentioned in reference to David regarding the eternal Throne of God. So we have a covenant of preservation for those who serve. This is worth some thought and meditation. (David's style - thinking on the Word, over and over and over again).
Now the offerings have been explained including their purpose and just how it was to be done. So now the Lord begins to explain some other items to us. See you tomorrow.
Tomorrow's reading: Leviticus 8-9
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Today's Reading: Leviticus 4-5.
This passage gives us data on two further offerings, both related to unintentional sins committed either by leadership, corporate body or the individual.
The first addressed is the Sin Offering. This offering was specifically for anyone who violated one of the Lord's commandments unintentionally. The sacrifice was on a sliding scale, with the Priest paying the highest cost. It seems that the Lord considered leadership before before the people, God ordained and anointed, carried a high responsibility to love the Word of God and to keep it. So if they, even unintentionally violated the commandments, they had a more expensive sacrifice than the normal person.
All of this sacrifice was offered in two different locations. It blood was sprinkled in front of the veil and placed on the horns of the Altar of Incense. After each economic strata is identified and explained, we find this phrase, "In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven."
When they realized they had sinned, they were responsible to offer the appropriate sacrifice. It was their personal involvement of taking responsibility for their actions. It always cost them to do so.
The second sacrifice is only partial dealt with in Chapter 5. This is the Guilt offering (or KJV - Trespass Offering). This was for those who unintentionally were unfaithful in regard to anything other than the direct commandments, i.e...in regard to the Lord's holy things, anyone deceiving a neighbor, if they cheated their neighbor... etc... This offering was always a "ram from the flock"
We will find more information as we move forward in the text over the next couple of days, as the text regarding them and various regulations regarding them continues through chapter 7.
Of course, we in the New Covenant are fully aware that these are only shadows of what our Lord would do for us on the cross. He became each one of these collectively and became the one sacrifice for all for all time. Hebrews 8, 9, and 10 would be good to read at this point.
Tomorrow's reading: Leviticus 6-7.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Today’s reading: Leviticus 1-3.
Leviticus is really just an continuation of Exodus. It is addressed to Moses and contains more material attributed to God as the speaker than any other book in the Bible. It contains the guidelines for a relationship with God in matters of worship, celebrations and holy living. What can be seen, is the over arching desire of God to have relationship with His people. He chose to live among them, dialogue with them, provide for them, protect them and talk with them. He was giving them revelation that would later unfold as the work of His Begotten Son, Jesus. So everything has meaning, then more meaning, and then more meaning beyond that.
So as you read, allow the Holy Spirit to unfold matters for you. These posts will not attempt to do it all for anyone. These are just encouragements and ways of thinking that might help in “seeing” the book in a fresh way.
Remember as you read that God our Father is not trying to produce a “How-to” book at all. You will not find little goodies to apply to your life. If you do, then it is a special unfolding just for you. This book is tough on Americans, where the church is obsessed with application. This book is about watching the thought patterns of Almighty God. He is sharing Himself with us. So the call is not to apply but to listen and receive. Much will seem foreign, yet all is symbolic of what we have been given in Jesus our Lord. He has accomplished and completed each one of these sacrificial expressions.
You might want to also read Isaiah 53 where most (I believe all) of the sacrifices are mentioned as the work of the Suffering Servant, Jesus Christ. This passage is good to have that in your mind as you move through the descriptions here in Leviticus.
Leviticus 1 is concerned with the Burnt Offering. It had many expressions, some personal and some corporate. The lamb that was on the altar every morning and evening is a Burnt offering, always covering the corporate body of Israelites. The one described here is one brought by an individual.
All requirements of offerings are based on a sliding scale. The rich provide bulls, the very poor provide birds, etc... The Lord never requires of us what He has not already given to us. It is a good principle to remember.
The Burnt Offering is the only one that was completely burned up -- all offered -- all dedicated -- all burned. There seems to have been an expiatory nature assumed - that of covering, provision, protection and identity with God. It was an offering of dedication - Romans 12:1 “...offer your bodies as a living sacrifice...” echoes this offering. “Jesus gave it all, All to Him I owe.”
Chapter 2 concerns itself with the Grain Offering. Part of it was burned on the altar with oil and frankincense, and the remainder given to the priest. Again, the understanding arises of God being our total provision.
No yeast or honey was allowed, but it was always to be offered with salt. The Covenant of Salt to the Levites is explained in Numbers 18:19. We are deeply involved in this Covenant in Jesus Christ. He provides for His own.
Chapter 3 is about the Fellowship Offering. Our Father, from the beginning, desired and made a way for fellowship with God and man to exist and to be deeply involved in one another’s lives. Part of this offering was burned, the remainder given to the offering priest to enjoy with his family and friends. As we read with openness these OT scriptures, we find the Lord loves to have celebrations with His people. He provides for them and loves to participate in them. Fellowship, Fellowship, Fellowship!
I pray this opens an old dry passage just a bit - to see that it is certainly not dry and not old either, but alive and worth every moment in exposure.
Tomorrow’s reading: Leviticus 4 & 5.
Monday, March 05, 2012
Making Sense out of Leviticus #1
This will not be so much of a commentary, as a way of looking at the text so the Holy Spirit can begin to unfold its treasures into our beings. So I will be posting as often as I can, and pointing out various ways of “seeing” the text. In Habakkuk 2:1 the prophet says that he will stand on his watch in the watch-tower to “see what He says to me,…” There is an element in reading and working with the Word, that enables us to “see” in our inner beings the things that are being said. We do this all the time in every day life. We see it as it is spoken and then we do not forget it. This happens each time we read a novel, mystery etc… We see the people, action and feel the emotions. So as we expect the same (even more) as we read the Word we will begin to “see” what He is saying. Then we begin to go beyond understanding into “knowing” what is being said.
The Hebrew text above is simply “And YHWH called…” keeping in the Hebrew tradition of naming all the books by their first words. The book is a “calling” to draw near and to embrace the sacrifice provided. The first seven (7) chapters enumerate the various designated sacrifices that were to be given for and over the Israelite community. They are an in-depth look at the work our Lord Jesus accomplished on the cross, because all five (5) were completed in His death. That is what this part of the book is really about. To read, study and meditate on Leviticus is to spend time examining the sacrifice of Jesus and just what it did for us. That is the overall treasure of these first seven (7) chapters. As we read and allow the truth of all to immerse us in the provision of the Lord Jesus, we will be able to bless Him and enjoy Him deeply.
Use any translation of the scriptures that you will read.
Reading for Tuesday, March 6: Leviticus 1-3; Matthew 16; Psalm 65.