February 26, 2010

Num 35-36: A Place of Refuge

Posted in Grace, Restoration tagged , , , , , , at 9:29 pm by Steve

There is a lot written in chapter 35 about cities of refuge for someone who kills another by accident. Imagine how radical this idea would have been. It is the beginning of mercy and grace. Suppose you are working in the fields or in the forest and a tree falls and kills your co-worker. Family and tribal honor would be at stake and the entire family would be out for revenge.

Consider the long family feud in Kentucky of the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s. How many years and how many lives were lost over this feud? On death begets another, and then another. When does it stop?

The LORD says to establish cities where people can go for refuge, to seek sanctuary and in the end salvation. This principle will be the foundation of what God is offering through Christ.

“Come to all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest [or sanctuary]” Matthew 11:28

Have you ever felt like because of bad judgment or circumstance beyond your control, you wish you could find sanctuary?

Do you know someone who needs sanctuary from everyday life?

How would you define Sanctuary?

February 12, 2010

Num 3-4: Redeemed!

Posted in Grace, Priests, Restoration tagged , , at 9:20 pm by Steve

Number all the firstborn males of the children of Israel

The firstborn – which was always thought to be the best and the favored – always belongs to God; so instead of giving the firstborn of Israel to God in sacrifice, the tribe of Levi was “given” to God as in place of each of the firstborn sons of Israel.

All the firstborn males, according to the number of names

However, there were 22,273 firstborn sons in Israel; and there were only 22,000 Levite males (Leviticus 3:39). The extra 273 were given a monetary value (five shekels for each one individually), and the money was given to the tabernacle as redemption money.

The number of firstborn sons is low if accounted for all the nation; it would mean that only one in 27 sons were firstborns – an unlikely percentage. It is more probable that the 22,273 firstborn sons were those born in the thirteen months of the Exodus.

New Testament Connection

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.” Luke 1:68

February 10, 2010

Lev 26-27: New Beginning

Posted in Forgiveness, Restoration, Sacrifices, The Law tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:44 pm by Steve

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.” Lev 26:12

Does this sound at all familiar? What can we learn about the purpose of God through all these Law, rules and rituals?

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day” Genesis 3:8

The passage in Leviticus reminds me of this passage in Genesis when God walked with us in the Garden. Could it be that God is trying to bring us back to that unity where we walk with God again? Is the purpose of all these regulations to set the boundaries where we can walk with God without fear, guilt, or shame?

Leviticus is filled with all kinds of regulations about guilt offerings, burnt offerings and cleanliness rituals. God is trying to remove the guilt and shame we all feel yet cannot quite be free from. Imagine working all day in the garden, hands dirty, body sweaty, and hair matted against your forehead. But there’s no way to get clean. So you pull back the covers and crawl beneath the sheets.

Does that sound comfortable and cozy, or nasty and irritable? I have to think the latter. God is providing a way for us to come clean. To feel comfortable around God and each other. To know that the inside is able to heal and come out of the shadows and know who God really is and trust His heart enough to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.

Leviticus has a lot to teach us about the heart of God.

The Land and the Covenant with a Treacherous and Hostile People.

Posted in Adolescent, Consequences/Blessing, Consequences/Curses, Covenant, Faithfulness, Father, Forgiveness, Love, Restoration, Sin Nature, Teacher, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:08 pm by webpastormike

40 ” ‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers—their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees. 44 Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the LORD their God. 45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the LORD.’ “

The land will lie desolate without them.

Seventy years of desolation is the closest thing to rest that the land could have while the punishment of the covenant was justifiably doled out to the treacherous and hostile people whom the LORD had chosen.  He made the covenant and refused to break the covenant because of His relationship with Himself.  He could not be unfaithful.

While you and I go through our times in the land of our captivity, the land of our promise is being healed.

The land needs it healing because of what we and our fathers have done in and to the land.  We have been little schemers.. treacherous and hostile toward those whom we were and are required to be in right relationship with. Right relationship with God and right relationship with the poor and the widows and the orphans and our families, and our employees and all our other neighbors.

Have you ever had a family member take advantage of you?  I have.  Have you ever taken advantage of a person who needed your grace instead of your greed?  Can you recall the treachery of a trusted friend or spouse?  All of these kinds of things add up to hostility and treachery toward God, the land and God’s people.

You may linger in an adolescent attitude of “fairness” and whine on about how you should not be struggling today, it is not your fault that people who are supposed to be living as covenant people, instead chose to be selfish and idolatrous.  “Why should I have to suffer?”

Well here is a revelation.  We are connected.  What I do impacts others, and not just close people, but people who I will never meet, both in space and in time.  You never met a Nazi, but what a few people did (and are doing) has consequences for you.  The same thing is true for the woman who is cheating on her covenant of marriage… a covenant made with God, a covenant made with her husband, and a covenant made with the children of that union, the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, classmates, friends and spouses of those children.  The woman makes a covenant with her grandchildren at that moment before the man of God in the house of God in the inheritance God gives.

We are living fools.

Treachery and hostility cannot be contained.God makes it plain that what you do hurts people.  There is no such thing as a victimless adultery.  Your little fling, your little indiscretion, your secret affair, your whispered ear tickling words… KILL.  Yes a gossip is a covenant breaking evil that destroys lives.

40 ” ‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers—their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant … I am the LORD.’ “

YOU do not need to wonder where all the prosperity went.

YOU do not need to be anxious about whether or not there will be prosperity tomorrow… count on it.. there wont be prosperity until we confess and repent.  We must turn away from everything that is not an all out Love that imitates Jesus Christ.

YOU are witnesses to the destruction that this government is perpetrating on us.  Well consider that we are getting what our sins deserve.  And the land is getting what it deserves… rest.  We have been carried into captivity by the very desires that we cherished in our little houses of self worship.  Well now the great adolescent is in charge, the king of our captivity.  And I am not talking about the fool we elected to the white house, I am talking about the fool we elected to serve in our hearts.  Yes the king of fools is you.

De throne that idiot.

Let’s pray:

Our Father in Heaven.  We have played at life and let a little loudmouth brat play king of the hill with Your precious Inheritance.  Now we are paying the price for our stupidity.  I know so little about being in covenant with You or even being in covenant with my neighbor, and it is costing me this war.  What little I do know, I have rejected for some ridiculous fleshly desire, some temporary triumph.  I have given up what I need, in order to gain what I do not want.  I am a sin-filled-fool.  Now that I am here in the land of my captivity, I see, just a glimpse of the sin that put us here.  For that, and the sin that I do not see, I confess.  My sins and the sins of our forebearers, the plans we made were our own and the selfish ways we lived created the hell hole that is now our impossible captivity.  We hated you because you did not cherish our brat-selves.  Forgive us, forgive me.  I want to know you.

7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

You must have a plan that will bring us back from captivity, into a land that has had its desolation-rest.  Like Daniel I pray, and like Paul I pray that this life and this nation’s life will be brought back from captivity with a new heart that is righteous in Christ by faith.  Do Lord, whatever is in your heart in and through this pitiable life through the Spirit and not through the flesh.  Amen.