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 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?”