February 23, 2010

Num 28-30: Feasts of Remembrance

Posted in Foundations, Prophecy, Revelation, Sacrifices tagged , , , , , , , , , at 8:24 pm by Steve

The list of sacrifices is very detailed and for our hurried minds seems pointless and too much to remember. But for people who were much more intune with spiritual matters this was a connection to Divine. God gave people a starting point from which to grow in their relationship with Him. But before we can move very far in our relationship with God must must face the painful reality of our sin and our desparate need for forgiveness. But what can we possibly do to cover our human sin and reach for the holiness of God. Through this laundry list of sacrifices, times, amounts and patterns we can begin to feel like the depth of our sin is being covered over and we can begin to know God personally. Then we can understand Grace, but not until we know how much it costs.

Regularly scheduled celebrations and atonement to the sovereignty of God.

Daily  /  Weekly  /  Monthly

Outline of Major Festivals

Old Testament                                                              New Testament

Feast of Unleaven Bread                                        Palm Sunday (fulfilled)

Passover                                                                           Good Friday (fulfilled)

Feast of First Fruits                                                   Easter (fulfilled)

Feast of Weeks                                                             Pentecost (fulfilled)

Feast of Trumpets                                                     

And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. Matthew 24:31

Feast of Atonement                                                 

Feast of Tabernacle

When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. Hebrews 9:11

February 13, 2010

Num 5-6: The Blessing

Posted in Consequences/Blessing, Priests, worship tagged , , , , , at 8:25 pm by Steve

The word benediction means blessing and the form of it below from Numbers 6 was prescribed in the law of Moses. This blessing was spoken over the people, the priest having uplifted hands, after every morning and evening sacrifice. The promise that it would be fulfilled by God was also understood and the people would say ‘Amen’ at the end of it, which really means ‘may it be so.’

The blessing, or benediction was also regularly used at the close of worship in the synagogues.

‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

 24 ” ‘ “The LORD bless you and keep you;

 25 the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;

 26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ‘

 27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” [Lev 6]

This is a very common passage that is quoted often during worship services as a final blessing upon the people of God. Each of the three verses speaks of the actions of “the LORD” not the actions of humanity. It speaks to our need for God’s intervention if we are to become the people we were created to be.

The three repetitions of “the LORD” express the triune nature of God.

God the Father is the great protector

God the Son offers grace and truth.

God the Holy Spirit gives lasting peace. The phrase “turn his face toward you” is in contrast to what God says to Moses when Moses asks to see God. God says that we cannot see His face and live. Through God the Holy Spirit we embrace the fullness of God’s face.

This is God’s blessings to the people of Israel. The people wear the name of God.

Mark 10:16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”

Luke 24:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.”

How do you experience the blessings of God?

How do you “wear” the blessings of God?

How do you share the blessings of God with others?

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.

February 9, 2010

Lev 24-25: Jubilee

Posted in The Law tagged , , , , at 8:34 pm by Steve

A young man who blasphemed God,  Leviticus 24:10-23.   [In Summary:  In the first test of the law against blaspheming God’s name, the Lord directed that the offender be indicted by those who heard the sin, then stoned by the Israelites.]

It is one thing to listen to the rules.  It is quite another thing to actually apply them – especially when it involves the death penalty.  Note carefully that those who made the accusations – who heard the man blaspheme – were required to be involved in the ritual of the stoning (v. 14).  This very practical part of the process made it difficult for individuals to accuse falsely.  They could not insulate themselves from the actual execution.

This incident underscored the holiness of God’s name.  It was not to be treated carelessly.  Jesus affirmed this principle in teaching the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9).  Although the death penalty is not applied for this today, the affront to the living God is the same.  We should not forget that fact.

Does anyone else find it strange that God offers us a Jubilee? What other religion takes such details to have one day of rest each week. One year of rest in every seven and a year of Jubilee in every 50 years. It was a year to re-establish equity and to prevent the creation of classes. Today we have the super wealthy, Bill Gates is worth an estimated 86 billion, and the homeless and masses of those living on less than one dollar a day.

God asks us each 50 years to reassess where we are as a people and what life was meant to be. No longer would people be consumed with unimaginable wealth at the cost of the life of other.

There is a quote I have always like, “for every wealthy person, there is one in poverty.”

What would you consider to be the major problems we would encounter about going to a Jubilee in our time and culture?

What would be the benefits?

February 7, 2010

Lev 19-21: Sacrificial bring Healing

Posted in Priests, Sacrifices, The Law tagged , , , , , , at 2:19 am by Steve

The Fellowship Offering was an act of thankfulness and worship. Certain portions of the animal were burned on the altar as a sacrifice to the Lord (chpt 3). The person and his family then ate the meat before the Lord in the area of the tabernacle. The Priest was to have gthe breast and the right thigh of the animal as his share (7:31-34)

The Sin Offering was, in most instances, for unintentional sins: for priest, leader, individuals, and the assembly of people.

The Guilt Offering is similar to the sin offering but also includes purposeful sins. When something had been deceitfully taken, restitution had to be made.

In the Latter two sacrifices, after pouring of the blood, the fat was burned on the altar. The hide, the head, and the intestines were burned outside the camp in a clean place (4:8-12). The meat of the animal was then given to the priest ot eat in the area of the tabernacle (6:24-30). If, however, the sacrifice was for a priest (4:3-12) or for the entire community (vv 13-21) the flesh of the animal was completely burned outside the camp.

Of the sacrifices at the tabernacle, only the fellowship offering could be eaten by the layperson who brought it. Leviticus 7:28-38 gives the regulations about what part of the fellowship offering belongs to the priest.

The Burnt Offering was to be made each morning and each evening on behalf of the entire people and was to be left burning at all times. An individual could also present a burnt offering. Not in 1:4 that the offering made atonement for the person who brought it. This was the only offering that was entirely burned.

The Grain Offering was offered as a present to the lord it was cultivated grain, made without yeast; after the “memorial portion” was removed and burned, the rest was given to the priest to eat.

February 4, 2010

Lev 11-13: Leviticus invites Holiness

Posted in Historical, Priests, The Law tagged , , , , , , at 10:54 pm by Steve

The theme of Leviticus is holiness. The term “holy” (set apart to God) is the key word of the book. Moses uses this word 87 times in Leviticus. Leviticus 19:2 is the key verse and states the theme of the book:

“You shall be holy, For I the Lord your God am holy”

(cf. Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 7:6).

After Israel had been set apart as God’s special heritage by the Passover and by the covenant at Mt. Sinai, they almost immediately broke the covenant through idolatry, the worship of the golden calf. Only the intercession of Moses prevented God from destroying the nation. But the Lord refused to go up in their midst to Canaan, warning, “You are a stiffnecked people. I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume you” (Exodus 33:5).

Israel gave evidence of their repentance by putting off their jewelry, and Moses again interceded in their behalf. Thus, the Lord promised, “My. Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14). He renewed the covenant with Israel. Then the tabernacle was built in which God was to dwell among His people and where they were to come to worship Him.

A key element of Leviticus, and of Old Testament worship, was animal sacrifices. Sacrifices were offered so the sinner might have access to God. They were to “atone” (cover) sin (Exodus 30:10) and to “sanctify” (set apart to God) the offerer (Exodus 29:33; 31:13).

The sacrifice was a substitute; it died in the place of the sinner. The steps in animal sacrifice were: (1) the selection of an animal with no defect or blemish, (2) the laying of the hands of the offerer upon the animal to symbolize that the animal bore the penalty for the offerer’s sin, (3) the killing of the sacrificial victim by the offerer to suffer the penalty for sin in his place, (4) the pouring out of the blood at the base of the altar as the symbol of a sacrificed life, (5) the smearing or the sprinkling of the blood by the priest upon the altar as a symbol that the sins of the offerer were atoned, (6) the burning of the sacrifice as a sweet-smelling savor to satisfy the judicial wrath of God for sin, and (7) the eating of the sacrificial meal as a symbol of fellowship with God (cf. Ephesians 5:2). Every sacrifice had to be salted (Leviticus 2:13). Salt preserved meat from rotting and was a symbol of an unbreakable covenant. The salt symbolized the purity of the sacrifice and the covenant of the Israelite with God.

Of course, these sacrifices could not in reality remove the guilt of sin (Hebrews 10:4) but showed Israel the need for a sacrifice which could do so and acted as a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Christ for all (cf. John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18-20; Revelation 13:8).

Are you pursuing holiness?

How are you in the Wesleyan tradition “pursuing perfection?”

January 31, 2010

Exodus 36-38: When Close Enough, Isn’t

Posted in Historical, Integrity, Miscellaneous tagged , , , , at 11:16 pm by Steve

Why all the details recorded in the Scriptures? Can’t we just skip over this part? I know it was probably important for

“Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made everything the LORD commanded Moses; 23 with him was Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan—a craftsman and designer, and an embroiderer in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen” [38:22-23],

But is it really important for us to know these lengths, weights and measures? Only if you believe there’s something more important here than just architect drawings. What does the Master Architect want us to know?

In our culture we often hear people say, “close enough” or “good enough for government work.” What they really mean is “we don’t really care.” Who’s going to know anyway.

I believe the Bible records all these facts and figures precisely because it does matter, it matters a great deal. This will be where God’s Spirit will reside, no detail is too small to be notices by God and no detail is too small that we should not give our best in all that we do.

When it comes to you relationship with God have  you ever caught yourself saying “Close enough.” Then read again Exodus 36-38 and know that for those who are gifted by God, called by God and inspired by God, no detail is ever “close enough.”

January 30, 2010

Exo 33-35: God of Second Chances

Posted in God's Character, Grace, Moses tagged , , , , at 10:52 pm by Steve

Have you ever taken on more than you could chew? What your eyes ever bigger than your stomach? Did God ever ask you to take on a task that was simply beyond your ability? We often think so and I think Moses felt like it too. Remember these were slaves he was leading. They weren’t used to making decisions let alone taking on the military powers that resided in Canaan.

“God did you really want me to take on the fortified cities in Jericho, Jerusalem, and Damascus with this ragtag group of misfits?”

But Moses knows something that makes him persevere. “I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.” [33:2]

So Moses, it will not be you who fights the fight, but God’s power. You just have to follow through. The fact that God will not travel with them highlights the holiness of God.

“The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” [33:11]

As Christian we all have the ability to speak to God like this. To have the kind of relationship that Adam and Eve shared in the Garden. Prayer opens the door to the Kingdom of God, our true home.

When Moses asked to see God he was not able to see God’s glory. The Glory of God is expressed in Jesus. If you want to see and experience the fullness of God’s glory, know and experience the person of Jesus Christ.

Second version of the 10 Commandment. This version is different from the version encountered in Chapter 20.

Why? What is being revealed here than is different from the original?

Share your thoughts.

January 28, 2010

Exo 30-32: Reverence and Awe

Posted in Fear, Moses, worship tagged , , , , , , , at 10:51 pm by Steve

(1)   Pay attention to Details!

Assume for a moment you’ve been invited to the White House to have dinner the President, the Vice-President and their families. What would you do? Perhaps you would buy a new dress or new suit, new hair styling, shoes, nails, etc. Every detail of your appearance would be analyzed and if possible, improved. You would arrive in Washington a day early and spend all day getting ready because after all this is the President.

When we prepare to meet the Creator of the Universe do we send much time with the details? Notice that every detail of the Ark of the Covenant is described, every weight and measure of the incense to be used and how often is recorded for the generations. It may seem to be in nauseating detail, but it is God’s way of saying this is to be unlike any other place on earth. It is to be God’s place.

When you prepare to encounter God at worship or private prayer, do you have the same reverence and awe that God if offering to the Hebrews?

(2)  Old Testament example of Spiritual gifts

31:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.

(3)  Golden Calf

After all that God had done to liberate these slaves from Egypt, why the Golden Calf?

I think that without Moses’ constant leadership and movement they pressure was off and people will naturally revert to what they are comfortable with even that means returning to Egypt. Why do battered women return to the same situation time and time again? Why do people go to jobs they hate day after day? Why do people fight to maintain youth when aging cannot be stopped?

The Golden Calf represents our hesitancy to trust God and have the kind of faith that moves mountains. A faith that has not been tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. This is the first time Moses leaves the people for an extended period of time with disastrous results. If we can create our own god, even though heartless and powerless, we will bow before something we can control.

What is your Golden Calf that when stressed, you will seek help besides God?

What is your greatest fear that would cause you to build a Golden calf?

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