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.

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January 18, 2010

Gen 48-50:The End of the Beginning

Posted in Anxiety, Israel tagged , , , , , at 11:19 pm by Steve

Have we come to the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?

 Since Genesis 1, just think how far we’ve come. Here’s a short list of what we’ve learned, experienced and marveled at as its unfolded. We will have to contend with this list and its meaning for the rest of the year.

  •  God’s Sovereignty and purposeful design
  • Man’s propensity for self-delusion and self-aggrandizement
  • Sin’s consequences
  • God’s Covenant
  • Abraham’s faith
  • Human frailty, and
  • God Providence

 If you have other’s I’d love to hear what they are. Please add to this growing list.

 Christ is revealed in the following blessings of Jacob’s son Judah.

 “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs  and the obedience of the nations is his.” [Gen 49:10]

 The father blesses his sons, but the “blessing” is less of a look to the future as it is a reflection of the past. I can’t imagine Reuben being particularly thrilled when Jacob reads the family will and Reuben’s behavior is revealed.

 What legacy or blessing have you received from your parents and what blessing are you creating for your children?

 Faith is a tough for Jacob’s family. As soon as he dies the brother’s fear Joseph’s vengeance. Don’t they know him yet? Hasn’t his heart been revealed, or has their distrust said more about their hearts and than his?

Father God, You have blessed us when we were in rebellion. Through the example of your son Jesus Christ, we learn that we can trust Your heart. I pray for all those who still doubt, still wonder, and still wait. May we be your voice of hope. In Jesus’ Name we Pray, Amen.

January 13, 2010

Gen 35-37: Family Feud

Posted in Human Nature tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:51 am by Steve

Remember (v)  — to keep in mind for attention or consideration, to think again

 I have a terrible memory when it comes to my blessings, and a sharp keen memory when it comes to problems, hurts, and failures. Why is that? After Jacob meets with his brother Esau and experiences grace and brotherly love, God says build an altar here that  you may remember what has happened. An altar was built of stone and would stand the test of time. Whenever people would pass by this mass of stone, they would remember what the Lord had given to Jacob. We need to remember what God has given us and we celebrate it every Sunday through worship and the sacraments.

If we fail to remember our blessings, we will become a feverish little clod focused on what we think we deserve not what we’ve been given. If we are to move on the place of bitterness, we must remember the moments of transition and transformation.

37:4 “When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.”

Wow what strong language. They HATED Joseph! What had he done to deserve this family rejection and the events that follow?

All people desperately need love and to feel that others are loved more than you is almost unbearable. Throughout the New Testament, it is made very clear that God loves all His children. Our names are written on the palm of His hand, even the hair on our head are known to Him. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,” writes the psalmist.

But for Joseph’s brothers, their second place status is more than they can stand and they hate Joseph, their own brother. Nations play this same game on the world stage, each vying for the top super-power status or to bring down those who are doing well. The recent scandal involving Tiger Woods demonstrates that when there is blood in the water, people are more than interested in the downfall of an icon.

Joseph will pay dearly for his brother’s treachery and for Joseph’s pride. Joseph has a dream where his brother’s bow down and serve him, when in actuality, Joseph will deliver his brothers and the fulfillment of this prophecy will take Joseph through some of the most darkest moments in his life.

Are you really sure you want this prophecy Joseph?

Do you understand what it means to be used by God?

Have you ever wanted the limelight without the dark night of the soul that comes with it?