Category Archives: Leviticus

Leviticus 26-27; Numbers 1; Acts 13

In the beginning of Leviticus 26, God encouraged the people of Israel to obey Him by expressing the great rewards they would receive from their obedience. And then He said this:

Leviticus 26:13 (ESV)

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves. And I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

He then shifted gears, and spent far more words warning of the consequences – the pain – they would experience if they disobeyed. The pain of acting in pride. The pain of acting in their own strength, in their own understanding, and in their own power.

The pain of forgetting God.

I think that’s why the transition between the promises of blessing to the promises of pain was a reminder of what God had done for the people to deliver them from bondage.

The single biggest factor in our obedience is remembering what God has done for us. If I could just remember how God has delivered me before, I’d have no trouble believing Him for this time. If I could remember how God answered my prayers before, I’d have no trouble asking Him for what I need now. If I remembered God’s faithfulness in the last trial, I’d find it easier to be faithful to Him in the current one.

But I forget. My fear takes over. Insecurity, pride, frustration, and the temptation to take matters into my own hands causes me to act like more like the Israelites than I’d like to admit. And it lasts longer than I’d like to admit, too. Because, while God offers so many promises and incentives for obedience, I find that I tend to respond far more to painful consequences than positive incentives.

I don’t think I’m alone in that. In fact, I think that’s why God spent more time talking about the painful consequences than the pleasurable ones. Because we tend to change only when the pain of staying the way we are becomes greater than the pain of change. That’s why pain is God’s biggest tool in our lives. He gets us out of the mess by pain.  And then, when we repent, as He promises in last section of the chapter, He can restore us and lavish on us the blessings of obedience that He’d promised in the first place.

If only I didn’t have to learn the hard way.

If only I could be faithful in seeking Him
before I find myself stressed out and overwhelmed.

If only I could decide to be kind
before my mouth gets me into trouble.

If only I could give forgiveness
before bitterness affects my other relationships.

If only I could learn to eat right
before I outgrow all my clothes.

Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. What’s the key? Remembering God.

Father, forgive me for trusting in myself and what makes sense to me instead of obeying your directions for my life. Help me to remember what You’ve done for me, how You’ve proven Yourself to me, and how You’ve proven your ways are better than mine. I want to be faithful to you just as you’ve been faithful to me. I want to be motivated by Your promises, not the by the pain of ignoring you. Help me to live in Your presence and in the light of Your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.  

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Leviticus 24-25; Acts 12; Psalms 25-26

“‘Count off seven groups of seven years, or forty-nine years. During that time there will be seven years of rest for the land. On the Day of Cleansing, you must blow the horn of a male sheep; this will be on the tenth day of the seventh month. You must blow the horn through the whole country. 10 Make the fiftieth year a special year, and announce freedom for all the people living in your country. This time will be called Jubilee (Hebrew word for a horn of a male sheep.) (Lev. 25:8-10) NCV

54 “‘Even if no one buys him back, at the year of Jubilee, he and his children will become free. 55 This is because the people of Israel are servants to me. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Lev. 25:54-55) NCV

The readings for today had me thinking of the word “freedom” and how important it is to God. It was He who declared the fiftieth year as a year of celebration for the Israelites. On the Day of Atonement, after seven years of seven, the rams horn would be blown, and it would be the beginning of a year of freedom—freedom from slavery, freedom from debts, freedom from bondages, and atonement for sin. Of course, as you read the verses there were still transactions that needed to be followed through. But in the end was redemption!

It is such a picture of Jesus! Through no work of our own, He paid our debt! He forgave our sins! He released us from bondage—all because we are the children of God. There are no transactions, nothing more needs to be done. He paid the price once, for all who choose to believe.

And then there’s Peter:

So Peter was kept in jail, but the church prayed earnestly to God for him. (Acts 12:5)

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Other soldiers were guarding the door of the jail. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shined in the cell. The angel struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Hurry! Get up!” the angel said. And the chains fell off Peter’s hands. (Acts 12:6-7) NCV

Freedom! Peter was physically set free from prison. I am not sure this was the outcome he expected. I thought of all the emotional chains God has broken from me. Chains of shame, chains of guilt, chains of sin, and chains of rejection . . . I could go on. They were chains that held me in prison as well. Prison. It was never a place God intended to keep Peter. It was never a place God intended to keep me.

Acts 12:5 confirms the importance of corporate prayer. God heard their cries and in answer to their prayers He supernaturally released Peter—to their utter amazement. I loved Rhoda’s response—at first she didn’t believe it was him but then she was so excited she forgot to open the door and let him in. I think I would have been overwhelmed at how God answered that prayer myself! There have been times when the realization hit me that God had answered my prayers—big prayers. It’s happened to me twice. My reaction both times was to start laughing in delight with tears streaming down my face at the same time, a mixture of joy and gratitude. I don’t know if I can even adequately describe the emotion I felt, but I think Rhoda running to tell the others out of excitement is a pretty good picture of it.

15 My eyes are always looking to the Lord for help.
He will keep me from any traps.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
because I am lonely and hurting.
17 My troubles have grown larger;
free me from my problems.
18 Look at my suffering and troubles,
and take away all my sins. (Ps 25:15-18) NCV

Heavenly Father, I surrender myself to you alone for in you is great freedom. Jesus paid much too high a price for me to have that freedom. Help me to always keep looking to you when anything that might ensnare me comes my way. I am so thankful I can come to you immediately to be forgiven of my sins; it isn’t only once a year, or every 50 years. I can be set free because Jesus already paid my debt. Thank you for the chains that you have supernaturally removed from my soul. I am eternally grateful for all you have done in my life. In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Leviticus 15-18; Acts 9

To be honest, I never thought much about the word scapegoat until today.

“Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord.Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle. He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the Lord and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the Lord. 10 The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the Lord. When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the Lord … 21 He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. 22 As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land. (Leviticus 16:6-10; 21-22 NLT).

I thought about how people choose another to be the scapegoat in communities and circumstances, banishing and blaming someone.

Saul, pre-Paul, was a hater and hunter of Christians, but he had a transforming encounter with the Lord (I am particularly moved by his blindness and then vision not only restored but with added Kingdom focus) that changed him, igniting him with passion.

21 All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?” (Acts 9:21, NLT)

Jesus has the power to change everything and equip us for tasks we never imagined. He desires change in us, turning from former ways, to follow him with whole hearts. His easy yoke. His burden, light. Free. New.

Father God, I’m grateful when you look at me, you see my heart. You know the plans you have for me. You sing over me. Jesus took the sin of the world so that I can be a daughter. When I look at what my life was before Christ, I am amazed at your transforming work. Thank you that when I look up at the stars at night, I can actually see them, but even more, that you have given me a Kingdom focus. I pray I always keep my eyes fixed on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Leviticus 12-14; Acts 8

I think I take it for granted that the priests in the Old Testament were taught everything they needed to know by God. The fact that He spent two chapters on leprosy amazes me this morning as I think about the specifics of how God can instruct us on things we know nothing about.

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,  “When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a case of leprous[b] disease on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests. – Leviticus 13:1-2  ESV

I cannot think of a current individual living today who asked God to reveal the secrets of the universe to them, but my favourite from a past generation was George Washington Carver who asked God to reveal the secrets of the peanut. He obtain 300 different uses for the peanut and credits God for giving each one to him.

He would begin each day with prayer that God would reveal secrets to him about plants and vegetables.  It is reported that once Carver prayed, “Mr. Creator, show me the secrets of your universe.” “Little man, you’re not big enough to know the secrets of My universe, but I’ll show you the secret of the peanut,” was the reply.

I think I need to live in this hope again.  I also think I need to see Jesus able to work, actually, get involved in transformational work when it comes to people. I know that it is hard to visualize enemies coming into our church and finding a relationship with Jesus. More difficult to have someone in the church becoming a deadly betrayer even though none could be worse than Judas was to Jesus. That cannot be the end of the story.

Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. – Acts 8:3  ESV

I am reminded of this in the life of Saul who later is transformed and called Paul. Even a deadly persecutor, and maybe in my world today,  it could be people group in the Middle East, as an example, can become great allies and partners in the cause of Christ. That is the way God works. That is the kind of power He has.

Father, why do I settle for so little? Why is my prayer life so timid? You are amazing. May I change the way I see You today for who You really are – a revealer of the secrets of the universe and the transformation power behind lives changed! Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

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Leviticus 8-11; Acts 7

“So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord had commanded through Moses.” Leviticus 8:36 NLT

Moses and Aaron were obedient to God’s call on their life. They might not have always understood it, but they kept showing up.

“After that, Aaron raised his hands to the people and blessed them. Then, after presenting the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering, he stepped down from the altar. Then Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle, and when they came back out, they blessed the people again, and the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community. Fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.” Leviticus 9:22-24 NLT

They saw the fruits of their labor. Glory was revealed to them.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when he said, ‘I will display my holiness through those who come near me. I will display my glory before all the people.” Leviticus 10:3 NLT

How many times have I been tempted to give up before God’s plan is revealed? Or I spend too much time questioning his calling on my life, instead of walking faithfully where I am?

God found Moses where he was. He sent him back to people who once rejected him. His willingness to walk into hurt and pain, lead him and others to victory that they wouldn’t have otherwise known.

Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he went to take a closer look, the voice of the Lord called out to him, ‘I am God of your ancestors- the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses shook with terror and did not dare to look. Now go, for I am sending you back to Egypt.’ So God sent back the same man his people had previously rejected when they demanded, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ Through the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush, God sent Moses to be their ruler and savior. And by means of many wonders and miraculous signs, he led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and through the wilderness for forty years.” Acts 7:30-36 NLT

Dear Father, I pray that I would take time to listen to your voice and guidance. Give me faith to move forward when I don’t understand your plan. Thank you for your faithfulness. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)


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Leviticus 26-27; Psalms 112; Hebrews 10

How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; An entire generation of Godly people will be blessed.  They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to take care of them.  They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.  They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.”  Psalms 112:1-9 NLT

Legacy fills my mind…

A question that Courtney asks in her  post  sticks with me. “How will my children remember me?”

A dear family lost their husband and father in a tragic car accident ten years ago.  I reflect on this man’s faith. It has left a Godly mark on his six children. His time with them was short, but left an eternal impact.

A friend told the story of how her dad read a Billy Graham book and was saved. This changed the course of her family.

“I will look on you with favour and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. I will put my dwelling-place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.” Leviticus 26:9-13 NIV

I am thankful for the story of restoration and redemption  that God is writing in my family.   I am getting to see first hand how he brings beauty from ashes.  God is using two broken people to reflect His glory to the four children that he has entrusted us.  When I start to feel overwhelmed by it all, I come to him again.  He promises to be with me.  And to finish the work he has started.

“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35&36 NLT

Thank you Father that you are the lifter of my head , that your yoke is easy.  Help me to carry my burdens to you and to teach my kids to do the same. Thank you for your faithfulness, mercy, kindness and forgiveness. Amen.

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” Hebrews 10:23

Amy(amyctanner)

 

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Leviticus 23; Psalm 30; Ecclesiastes 6; 2 Timothy 2

Holidays interrupt the ordinary activities of my life and give me an opportunity to revitalize my commitment to God or holidays can draw my spirit into contemplating my recurrent need to depend on God. Such interruptions can lead to restoration and hope of blessings. Leviticus 23 lists the times of many God-ordained holidays, reminders of God’s deliverance, provision, forgiveness, and mercy. His presence is the gift in the midst of community, and the same is true during Christian holidays. I didn’t know how much I missed community until this past Easter. I have felt like a nomad these last 10 years, moving from state to state, changing jobs, changing churches, leaving the bones of loved ones in strange lands.

Ecclesiastes 6:2, written by my soulmate, Solomon, says, “A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it…this is vanity, and it is an evil affliction.” Solomon contrasts this scenario with his earlier statement that every man to whom God prospers and gives the divine gift of enjoyment receives blessings, indeed. Holidays have a way of slowing down my soul’s race to acquire the object and turning my eyes toward the Giver of my soul’s redeemed desires.

Interruptions in my work week can illuminate the threads of discontent or the tears in the fabricated beliefs I’ve entertained. The simplicity of following Christ needs no interpretation – if I am faithless, Christ remains faithful; he cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). I am therefore unafraid of the future, and I am free to “pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart.”

So Lord Jesus Christ, resurrected Savior and lover of my soul, I am pleased to be interrupted with holy days that urge me to focus on You. Like King David, I can praise (Psalm 30:11, 12).

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my        sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise            to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

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