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

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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.

January 18, 2010

Gen 43-45: The Hidden Call of God

Posted in Israel, Redemption tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:54 pm by Steve

One of the first things I noticed about this passage was that the writer now almost exclusively refers to Jacob as Israel. The change has been made from just a family problem to a national identity.

The fact that Joseph is overcome with emotion and looks for a place to weep lets the reader know that Joseph is not just playing games but his heart is sincere. People may say many things and do things that on the outside look one way or another, but tears reveal what’s really in the heart.

The main point of the Joseph Story: Our Perspective is limited when God’s Grace is

“it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you” 45:5

Joseph finally shares with his brothers that Joseph’s life in Egypt, their evil [notice Joseph doesn’t hide this fact], and the sorrow they have experienced has had a divine purpose which none of them could have foreseen. Joseph’s dream has finally been realized but in way he could never have imagined.

Have you ever asked God for a blessing? Did you ever want to be in a position of power, authority, and prestige? Be careful, for the road to success, in God’s plans, is usually paved with sorrow and a new understanding of what it means to be great!

“The greatest among you must the be servant of all” Matthew 23:11

Father God, when we are troubled, anxious about tomorrow, or doubt whether You grace is sufficient to save us, help us to remember Joseph and that even in the midst of storms in our lives, You have never abandoned us, but have placed us where we can do the most good. Help to gain a new perspective, to serve where we can serve, to give what we can give, and wait for the revelation of Your plan in our lives. This in pray, humbly, in Jesus’ name. Amen