Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday, February 29: Numbers 10:11-13:33 By Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 10:11-13:33

Scripture: Numbers 13:30-31 30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”
Observation: Sometimes we don't see the good in situations and we only see what could go wrong and focus on that.

Application: When the spies entered the land of Canaan, it was easy to see that the land was plentiful. How could it not be when it takes two men to carry a bunch of grapes?! However, it was the obstacles that stood in the way of them occupying the land that they focused on. It didn't seem to matter that this was the land that God had promised them. I think that tends to be our concern today too. When things seem too big to overcome, it almost encourages us to give up before we even begin instead of trusting the God who can make the impossible possible.

Seven years ago, almost exactly, I was told that my first teaching position (and my dream job) would come to an end in June. The school was eliminating a teaching position and since I was the last person to be hired I would also be the first one let go. (I posted this on that day) Like the spies in Caanan, I could see all the good things in my school--the Christian environment, the wonderful families, the amazing coworkers, the support of administrators...literally a job flowing with milk and honey. It didn't seem to matter to me that God had placed me in this job at that time for a reason. I could only see what I believed would never be mine. Just like the spies, I was relying on my own devices and only on the knowledge of everything that I knew at that point. It truly seemed impossible for me to be able to stay... I felt myself being overcome with despair and I too believed: “We are not able to go up against the [odds], for they are stronger than we are.” It was impossible....or so I thought....or so the spies thought. However, nothing is impossible with God.

Now here I am in my 7th year of teaching at that same school, in that same grade, and still believing that I have my dream job. (Details here if you want to know how God worked out an impossible situation) We serve a God who is still in the habit of making the impossible possible. I'm so thankful that we do. Overcoming hard situations is His specialty and causes us to draw near to Him. It takes the kind of faith that Caleb had to believe that He can and will. Even when we don't (because I know 7 years ago I sure didn't!!) God can use situations to grow our faith.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are the God of the impossible. We don't often believe it fully and our faith is tested and tried as we struggle with what we believe we are capable on our own. Help us to realize that we can do nothing without You and the You can make the impossible possible. Amen.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year PassageNumbers 14-15

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday, February 28th: Numbers 5-6 ~ Jay

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Numbers 5-6

Several key thoughts jumped out as I read through today's passage.

1) Just as God lived among the people (Chapter 5 vs 3) and expected them to be "clean" he too lives in us and as a result expects us to be "clean".  
Now obviously this refers to diseases and infections in the passage, but similar principals apply with sin.  Instructions were provided to make sure that anyone who was unclean or had the potential to be unclean, be removed from the camp so as not to infect others.  We are forgiven by acceptance of Christ's sacrifice and so are now "clean", but we need to be careful to provide some isolation of ourselves from those that continue to sin.  We are in the world, but instructed not to be of the world. 

2)  When we wrong another individual, we essentially wrong  God (we are unfaithful to God). Numbers 5:6:  “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any man or woman who wrongs another in any way[b] and so is unfaithful to the Lord is guilty and must confess the sin they have committed. They must make full restitution for the wrong they have done, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the person they have wronged.
I'm not sure I often think of things this way (wronging God if I wrong another individual), but certainly if I operated with this thought in mind, I would likely think more carefully when dealing with others....putting aside selfish motives.
On the payback portion of the verse, it is not enough to say sorry, and even to make full restitution...we must go above and beyond to right the wrong. 

3) We worship a very intelligent God who knows and fully understands us -God takes faithfulness in marriage very seriously.
When I read through this passage at one point I had visions of a cauldron and cooking up a secret potion. God had already stated in Leviticus (20:10) that if a person was unfaithful to their spouse, they would be put to death- so the quick out from being put to death is lying (who would ever know).  Yet God has this ceremony where the priest would make bitter water out of Holy water and dust.  The priest would then write a curse on special paper and then makes the woman recite the curse as well. He then washes the words off the page and the curse becomes reality if she is lying. Harm comes to her physically and she is essentially shunned / cursed by the people. I mention that God understands us, because he knows our human nature.  This "proving ceremony" that he put in place would have re-enforced the sacredness of marriage and the fact that there are no secrets.  God expected purity from his people and put procedures in place to ensure purity.

4)  Being set aside for God's special purposes, such as the Nazarites, involves personal sacrifice. 
The Nazarites chose to make a promise to God, to be used of him, and during that time there were several rules that they were to abide by.  There are certainly things in our lives that may hinder us from doing all we can to further God's kingdom.  The things God asks us to sacrifice may not be as extreme as the Nazarites, but I should spend time with God asking him to show me areas of my life that I can eliminate, in order to be more effective for him.         

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday, February 27th: Numbers 3-4 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Numbers 3-4

In chapter 3 we read about how the Levites are to assist Aaron with the duties at the tent of meeting and doing the work of the tabernacle. We see twice how God says that if anyone else approaches the sanctuary they are to be put to death (verses 10 & 38).

In chapter 4 we continue to read about the duties that the Kohathite and the Gershonite branches of Levites had to do.

When reading these portions of scripture we sometimes find they are not as easy to read as other parts of the Bible, but they are obviously important because they give us foundational information that we use when later reading other parts of the Bible that help us to understand.

The Israelites needed to follow what God said closely, or they too could face death like Aaron's eldest two sons (verse 4).

Chapter 3 ends with God explaining to Moses that He will take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of the Israelites, the numbers were fairly close, as well as all the firstborn livestock of the Levites in place of the firstborn livestock of the Israelites (verse 41).The difference in numbers could be redeemed for 5 shekels. This money was given to Aaron and his sons.

All Israelites were God's creation, but the first born needed to be redeemed. In the same way all people are God's by creation, and need to be redeemed, this can only be done through the sacrifice made by Jesus by dying for our sins and us excepting this gift of forgiveness. True christians are His by redemption.

Just like the Levites were given specific jobs and duties, we as christians should also look to see what we can do for Him.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Numbers 5-6

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday, February 26th: Numbers 1-2 ~ Conrad

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Numbers 1-2

In today's reading, attendance is taken and we read about the "numbers" of the Israelites.   I was wondering the importance of the census while I was reading it, and then this thought came to me.  The number of the descendants of Jacob who entered Egypt was 70 (Exodus 1:5).  Now the total number was 603,550 (not including the Levites), and this was also only the men who were over 20 years of age.

This amazing growth from just 70 was evidence for the Israelites to see God's great blessing and His faithfulness to His covenant with Abraham.  This is also evidence for us to see how God blessed His people and grew a nation that became so numerous that they were regarded as a grave threat to the security of Egypt.

It caused me to question whether or not I truly give God the credit He is due?  And do I really trust God and His promises to help me to get through the tough times?

"The Lord spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt." Numbers 1:1

The Lord spoke to Moses.  In the 36 chapters of Numbers, "the Lord spoke to Moses" is stated over 150 times in more than 20 ways.  I know that the Lord spoke to the Israelite's through Moses which is why it is mentioned so many times, but God obviously wants to speak to us too.  Do I take the time to listen for His voice?   What would I do if I hear His voice?

" So the Israelites did everything the Lord commanded Moses;"   Numbers 2:34

Not only did Moses obey God's instruction, but all the Israelite's obeyed too.  Not some or most of the commands, but every single one!  A major accomplishment for a people so numerous and who were recently enslaved.

Ask my wife Pamela, the hottest grade 1 teacher I know, if her classroom runs smoother when her grade 1's know their tasks?  Even at an early age, we require direction.  Things need to be organized.  When people live in a community, leaders need to be appointed, jobs assigned, and inventory taken.  Moses spoke these instructions to the Israelites, and they listened.    

God called the Israelite's to live a life of obedient faith.  He has called us too.  My prayer is that I would listen, and respond willingly to His instruction.  

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Numbers 3-4

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday February 25: Leviticus 26-27 ~ Cameron

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 26-27

I found it interesting in a book…scroll I guess…that has gone into many details on mandatory sacrifices and rituals spends the final chapter on voluntary vows. More specifically, on the prices for breaking those vows. In this context a vow was a promise to dedicate someone/something to the temple beyond what was required by the Law in exchange for some good fortune. This chapter is not a good commentary on mankind's ability to make and keep promises.

The prices to pull out of a vow were not cheap…but it was possible. As a reference, the average wage of a worker in biblical times was about a shekelof silver per month.
(Gordon J. Wenham, The Book of Leviticus (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979), p. 338.  From <> )
So an adult male wanting to be freed from an oath would pay nearly 5 years in wages to the temple! That would make me think twice before I opened my mouth (Proverbs 17:28).

Additionally. the values specified correspond with the standard rate of a slave or prisoner (2 Kings 15:20). We can sometimes feel trapped by our own words but that does have to be the case. If the Law had provisions for redemption, how much moreso do we in Christ? This does not absolve us of the responsibility to measure our words but we are never bound by destructive promises.

I recalled the story of Jephthah and his vow to sacrifice the first thing to walk out of his tent when he returned from a victory (Judges 11:29-40). I had to look up the exact passage but I knew the story. He was a judge in Israel and appears to have been well off. He could have spared (literally redeemed) his daughter (and himself) from his foolish vow for thirty shekels of silver (Leviticus 27:4)! Ten shekels if she was between five and twenty years old (Leviticus 27:5)! In this context, the story takes an ominous tone about a foolish man running his mouth and having too much pride to admit his foolishness. We are a fallen people and God knows we will make promises we can't, and sometimes shouldn't, keep. That is why Jesus counsels us to let our 'yes' be 'yes' and our 'no' be 'no'. Anything beyond that comes from the evil one (Matthew 5:37).

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Numbers 1-2

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesday, February 24th: Leviticus 24-25 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 24-25

Leviticus 24 shows us the importance of ritual in developing our spiritual maturity. The lamps and bread were to be tended exactly the same way all the time. Justice also to be a matter of ritual and was to be carried out consistently every time. So, too, we should develop spiritual rituals. Of course, rituals can become meaningless if we do them without thinking. But that doesn't mean there is a problem with the ritual itself. Indeed, we all know the power of forming good habits in our daily life, how much more so in our spiritual lives! 

Notice the harsh judgment for blasphemy - cursing God.  Society today treats the names of God and Jesus as curse words.  If that same judgment befell all who abused God's name the population of the world - or, at least, North America, would shrink considerably!  We need to be careful to treat God with reverence.  He is holy.  He is Lord.  

There is a huge emphasis on justice here.  The punishment should fit the crime, but it should not go beyond.  

I love God's plan of the Sabbath Year and particularly the Year of Jubilee. What a tremendous display of God's mercy, compassion, and generosity - which means it's also hugely convicting for us to display those same characteristics in our lives as believers.

Unfortunately, there's not much evidence that the Jews every actually carried out the Year of Jubilee. People's natural reaction when others are down is often to take advantage of them for their own gain, instead of helping them out with generosity, expecting nothing in return. What a challenge for us. Are we willing to help others when they are in need, or do we look for a way to gain from their loss? Are we willing to give without expecting anything in return, or are we more concerned about our bottom line?

Truthfully, there should be no poor among us - not because God guarantees everyone riches, but because the church should rally around those who fall on hard times, despite their best efforts. We shouldn't enable those who are lazy to continue in their irresponsibility, but we also shouldn't be looking for a loophole in order to get out of helping each other.

Do we have a spirit of mercy, compassion, and generosity? And do we live out what we say we believe?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Leviticus 26-27

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday, February 23rd: Leviticus 22-23 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 22-23

My thoughts after reading these chapters are of what all God expected (or maybe better said “desired”) of the Israelites.

We had already read about all of the required sacrifices earlier in Leviticus.  Now, in chapter 22,  are directed back to the sacrifices, but this time God outlines what he considers unacceptable.
“Do not bring anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf”  Lev 22:20
They had quite a list of necessary sacrifices to perform & had to give of their very best.  I keep thinking of the value of these animals & how hard at times it must have been to give away the best of their flock (& not just 1 or 2, but countless).
The bottom line, though, was without these sacrifices, they were separated from God. So was it worth the cost?  Definitely!!  Today we aren't required this kind of sacrifice, but if we value our possessions on earth above our relationship with God, we too become separated from him.

In chapter 23, we read of the different holidays & feasts the Israelites were to remember.  These were not just quick family dinners, but full celebrations. We learn of seven holidays which together consisted of 19 days.  This in addition to the weekly Sabbath.
I read this & my first thought was “how did they have time for this?,” considering that there are Sunday's when I wish I could just stay home because I'm tired from the week (or still have things to do!).
Of the seven feasts, only 2 were intended for confession.  The other 5 were to be joyful, celebrating who God is & what he’s done.
I can’t imagine our culture stopping everything for 7 days at a time just to celebrate God & his goodness, but what an important reminder for us to take time to reflect & recognize what God has done & thank him for it.

“Keep my commands & follow them. I am the Lord. Do not profane my holy name. I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who makes you holy & who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord”  Lev 22:31 & 32

The verses in the Bible where God states his Lordship are so powerful to me. He is God & definitely worthy of our very best & our praise & thanksgiving.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Leviticus 24-25

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday, February 22nd: Leviticus 19-21 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 19-21

I am the Lord your God.
I am holy.

These two phrases show up over and over in this passage.

God gets to set the rules because He is God.  Things are good because He says they are good and they evil because He says they are evil.  He is Lord, He is in charge, what He says goes.  Our opinion, quite frankly, doesn't matter.  He is holy, we are not.  He is Lord, we are not.  If we disagree on anything, we are wrong and He is right.  Always.

The commands in this passage vary widely! A few that jumped out at me.....

5 “When you sacrifice a peace offering to the Lord, offer it properly so you will be accepted by God.This reminded me of Cain's sacrifice.  We don't know exactly why it displease God, but clearly he had offered it improperly - either in attitude or in deed.  We don't get to offer God whatever we want.  We need to bring Him the offering He requires.

15 “Do not twist justice in legal matters by favoring the poor or being partial to the rich and powerful. Always judge people fairly.This is a reminder to treat people fairly, no matter their economic status or race or culture or gender or age or anything.

16 “Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people.This one doesn't seem as serious as not making your daughter a prostitute (v29) but the fact of the matter is that sin is sin.  Spreading slanderous gossip is extremely damaging and is not something believers should ever be a part of.

13 “If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. This one is not popular in our society by any means.  But the Bible is clear, from beginning to end, that the homosexual relationship is not glorifying to God.

As Rayburn puts it:
We are in a section of Leviticus that deals with the holiness of God’s people and the importance of their practicing and preserving that holiness of life. Why? Because their Lord is holy and he saved them to be holy. Their relationship to him laid them under the most sacred obligation to live a very different life, a much better life, a kinder life, a more grateful and reverent life, a purer life, a more other-centered life, a humbler life before God and man, than most people do and certainly the peoples nearby to Israel did!...
If the people had to be holy, the priests still more so. And so it was that various forms of perfection were required of them because they were of all Israelites the nearest to God and the most often in his presence and in that they were a lesson to all the rest.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Leviticus 22-23

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday, February 21st ~ Kelora

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is:  Leviticus 16-18

In these passages there are many instructions given regarding sacrifices and sacrificing. Aaron was given specific instructions what was required before he could could enter the Most Holy Place. I think with these instructions God was looking for obedience and to not forget that God is Holy. Aaron had to spend a great deal of time preparing to meet God but through the sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins we can approach God anytime. 

In chapter 17 the passage talks about being forbidden to eat blood. In the Life Application Bible, I found 3 reasons to help explain this which I found interesting. It said that God forbid eating blood because "(1) to discourage pagan practices, (2) to preserve the symbolism of the sacrifice and (3) to protect the people from infection because many deadly diseases can transmitted through the blood. "

With these instructions and requirements that God put in place it is a reminder that God is wanting the best from us and is concerned for our well  being both spiritually and physically.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Leviticus 19-21

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Saturday, February 20th: Leviticus 14-15

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 14-15

Disease is, of course, a consequence of the fall.  Infected individuals and homes have to be removed from God's presence, but thankfully He provides purification rituals to cleanse and restore them.  We, too, must have our impurities removed through the cleansing of the Son in order to restore us to right relationship with the Father.  Our sin separates us from Him, but when we turn to Christ in repentance, we are cleansed and reunited with Him.

Chapter 15 ensured that the Israelites would separate sexual intimacy from worship, unlike the pagan religions around them.

It is important to note that these ritual or ceremonial impurities were not sinful or morally wrong (unless you refused to undergo the prescribed purification ritual in disobedience).   Rather, these rituals pointed to a deeper and more important holiness, living with moral purity in every aspect of life.  Sacrifices, however, removed both moral defect and ritual impurity.

Thankfully, we no longer need to abide by the ritual or ceremonial laws, and even more thankfully, Jesus' sacrifice enables us to experience forgiveness from sin in a way only pointed to in the OT.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Leviticus 16-18

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday, February 19th: Leviticus 11-13 ~ Conrad

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Leviticus 11-13

Today, I chose to do the S.O.A.P. format.......

"I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy."  Leviticus 11:45

God is the Holy One of Israel, the God set apart from all other Gods, the One so powerful and so majestic that He alone deserves to be held in awe.

To be holy is to be set apart for God.  As God's people we are holy because God has declared us holy in His sight because of Jesus.  Yet, we are called to keep growing in holiness, as we work at separating ourselves from sin in our everyday lives.

The word "holy" appears more in the book of Leviticus than any other book of the Bible.  Israel was to be totally consecrated to God.  Her holiness was to be expressed in every aspect of her life; to the extent that all of life had a certain ceremonial quality.   We are no different today.  We are to exhibit the same dedication of holiness in our lives as the Israelites were commanded to back then.

Leviticus 11:47 says, "You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean,".  In this passage, it is referring to clean and unclean food, however, I believe we need to apply this logic to every aspect of our daily walk.  We need to be mindful of what it is that we are allowing to enter inside us.  Whether it's the movies we watch, or the music we listen to, what we take in will affect and shape who we are.

Dear Lord, thank you for who you are.  You lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and you continue to lead us today.  You have asked us to only concern ourselves with the "clean" things that surround us and to avoid the "unclean".  I pray that as I take on my daily routines that I would be mindful of what I am taking in, and that I would continue to have the desire to grow closer to you.  I pray that I would give you the glory that you deserve, and remember who you are and what you've done both in my life and in others.  I ask that I would be willing to fully dedicate myself to you, and that I would make progress in holiness, and not toward holiness.   Amen.  

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Leviticus 14-15

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thursday, February 18th: Leviticus 8-10 ~ Jeannine

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 8-10

As I'm reading this I was thinking about how being a priest at this time in history would not have been a big occupational desire for me.  The pressure to follow all the instructions God gave perfectly or risking death seems a bit extreme for me.  I'm thinking that there would have been a small group of people willing to take on such a role.  And after the deaths of Nadab and Abihu I would think that all the other priests were a bit nervous as they completed their tasks.

A couple things stand out to me from the passages about the death of these two priests.

First, we are told that they sinned by "offering strange fire before the LORD".  We are not told precisely what kind of sin this was but it clearly shows that this was an act of direct disobedience to God. I think likely we are not told of the specific sin so that our focus is not removed from the underlying sin of disobedience.

 Also, they must have agreed among themselves that this was what they should do, as they were both put to death for it. Just because we can find others who agree with us does not make us right.

When I read the accounts here in Leviticus of the perfection expected by these imperfect humans I think that the people of that time must have felt that there had to be a better way (at least that's what I would have been thinking).  I appreciated this comment in this article Principles of Priesthood.

Israel would be painfully aware of the limitations of this Aaronic Priesthood. Thus they would be prepared for and looking forward to a “better Priest and priesthood” which would be the result of the New Covenant and of the coming of the Christ. The Aaronic priesthood was shown to have failed at its very outset. It is as though an unsinkable ship was launched, and at the first instant it struck the water it sank. If these two priests, Nadab and Abihu were so sinful as to be struck dead by God, how could anything they or any other sinful priest did bring people to perfection? Any system which had an imperfect priesthood could surely not bring the people to perfection. The flaws of the old covenant and its Aaronic priesthood pointed to the need for a new and better covenant, with a better priesthood. The Aaronic priesthood was only a provisional, imperfect priesthood. A sinner was the high priest, and his sinful sons were priests as well. There was no basis for unbridled optimism in the Aaronic order.

I'm so glad that this Levitical Priesthood came to an end with Jesus and that a new priestly order of all of those who accept Him as their Savior can be united with Him through faith.

Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near (Heb. 10:19-25, emphasis mine).

“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matt. 23:8-12).

You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. … But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:5, 9).

And He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen (Rev. 1:6).

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Leviticus 11-13

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wednesday, February 17th: Leviticus 5-7 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 5-7

Leviticus 5:17
“If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord's commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible."

How often do we sin and not even know it? Often times I've thought about something after the fact and realized later that I was wrong.

Did I go back and make things right? Not always, in fact more times than not I've asked God to forgive me and left it at that. Should I then go and make things right with the one I've wronged? I would think the right answer to that question would be "yes", but as we all know circumstances don't always allow for us to go back and make things right. In fact, sometimes we don't want to bring up old memories or events that may bring back emotions that would cause us or others to sin again. Each case is different, and it's up to us personally, through prayer, to decide how to handle this.

In our reading today, we see that there were laws to follow in all of these cases, and the Israelites had to pay close attention to follow. The consequences were severe to those that didn't,

7: 20-21 "But if anyone who is unclean eats any meat of the fellowship offering belonging to the Lord, they must be cut off from their people. [21] Anyone who touches something unclean —whether human uncleanness or an unclean animal or any unclean creature that moves along the ground - and then eats any of the meat of the fellowship offering belonging to the Lord must be cut off from their people.’

I'm amazed at how much attention to detail is listed here. They had to follow closely and were not allowed to "forget" or "not pay attention". Do we take following God this seriously today? Do we pay close attention to what we're doing, in order to stay on track?

Another point I found interesting as I read a commentary on chapter 6 was how difficult it must have been for an Israelite to give up one of their best lamb or goats for a sin conmited , but it had to be done in order to gain forgiveness. It symbolizes how great the love God has for us that He (gave) sent His son to be a sacrifice for our sins! We are all pathetic sinners, but God still loved us enough to sacrifice His son so that we could gain a pardon for our sins, if we ask for that forgiveness, and then gain power and victory over sin. He didn't have to do this, but did because He loves us.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Leviticus 8-10

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday, February 16: Leviticus 1-4 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus1-4

Today’s passage covers the details of the sacrifices that the Israelites were to offer to God. I read this passage & found the commentary fascinating as to the reasons behind the sacrifices.  Each & every small detail had important meaning.  
 Burnt offerings- 
Speak to the Israelites & say to them: ‘When any of you brings an offering to the Lord, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock’.   Lev 1:2 
The burnt offering required a male animal without defect.  This animal was to symbolically take the sinner’s place & pay the penalty for sin. The animal’s death represented one life given so that another life could be saved.  The unblemished animal symbolized the moral perfection demanded by a holy God & the perfect nature of the sacrifice to come –Jesus Christ.  He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, & it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him” Lev 1:4 The person laid his hand on the head of the animal to symbolize the person’s complete identification with the animal as his substitute.   
These sacrifices were meant to teach: 
  1. reverence for a holy God by requiring perfect animals & holy priests.  
  1. total submission to God’s laws by requiring exact obedience 
  1. the high cost of sin & the sincerity of the people’s commitment to God by requiring an animal of great value 
Grain offerings-  
There were clear instructions for the grain offering as well: 
Every grain offering you bring to the Lord must be made without yeast.  Lev 2:11 
Yeast was not allowed in the offerings because it is a bacterial fungus or mould & is, therefore, an appropriate symbol for sin. It grows in bread dough just as sin grows in a life.  A little yeast will affect the whole loaf, just as a little sin can ruin a whole life.  
Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.  Lev 2:13 
The offerings were seasoned with salt as a reminder of the people's covenant with God. Salt is a good symbol of God’s activity in a person’s life, because it penetrates, preserves & aids in healing.  
Fellowship offerings- 
If he offers an animal from the flock as a fellowship offering to the Lord, he is to offer a male or female without defect.  Lev 3:6 
This offering was an expression of gratitude to the Lord. The animal sacrificed was to emphasize that peace with God or thanks to God was to be considered a cheap or unimportant gift 
Sin offerings-  
Say to the Israelites: ‘When anyone sins unintentionally & does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands.  Lev 4:1 
Although we may do something wrong without realizing it until later, a sin is a sin. God intended to make the Israelites aware of their sins (even when unintentional) so they could be forgiven for them & to keep the people from repeating them.  
We have been freed from the law because of Christ’s death on the cross, but this freedom can cause us to have a casual attitude toward the cost of sin.  God’s laws & sacrifices were intended to bring out true devotion of the heart & though we don’t have to perform these rituals, we do need to have an attitude of repentance & seek restoration.  
I felt it a good reminder as to how serious sin is & the real cost to it.  It is easy to quickly say a prayer of “forgive my sins” without really considering what they were or if I'm really repentant & making an effort to change.  Whether my sins are done willfully or unintentionally, I need to reflect, count the cost & work to change.  

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Leviticus 5-7