Reading #1 – Leviticus 1
Reading #2 – Psalms 34
Reading #3 – Proverbs 16
Reading #4 – Micah 5
Reading #5 – 1 Timothy 4
Leviticus 1 – Sacrifice for Atonement – In the Old Testament, the priests were responsible for sacrificing animals for the sins of the people. While this seems very unfair that an innocent animal would be killed over a silly thing like sin, someone always pays the price for sin no matter how small or how large or even innocuous it is. The penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). The offering had to be done in a specified manner according to the Lord’s plans. Lay your hand on the animal’s head, and the Lord will accept its death in your place to purify you, making you right with him Then slaughter the young bull in the Lord’s presence, and Aaron’s sons, the priests, will present the animal’s blood by splattering it against all sides of the altar that stands at the entrance to the Tabernacle. Then skin the animal and cut it into pieces. 7 The sons of Aaron the priest will build a wood fire on the altar. They will arrange the pieces of the offering, including the head and fat, on the wood burning on the altar. But the internal organs and the legs must first be washed with water. Then the priest will burn the entire sacrifice on the altar as a burnt offering. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord (4-9 NLT). this was a very gruesome act to watch. the laying on of the hands was a gesture of transfering the sins of the person to the animal making it the offender. the purpose for such a gruesome act, I think, was to remind the people of the gravity of sin.
Psalms 34 – Personal Commitment to Praise God Always – According to the chapter notes, this Psalm was written when Davud was pretending to be insane while hiding in. the camthp of the Philistines (1 Samuel 21). David had nowhere to run to that would be a “safe haven” from King Saul. Yet even in the times when he wasn’t in fellowship with the nation and with his family, David says “I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell the Lord’s gratness; let us exalt his name together (1-3 NLT). Praising the Lord is not to be done just when life is at its best or when the wind as at our back. If only time we praise God is in the good times and then turn sour when the storms of adversity blow, our foundation is not very strong. From his youth, David had grown up in the admonition of the Lord God. It was prophecied by Samuel the Prophet that he would be the next king of Israel so he knew that he would make it through every storm that threatened his life. In a way, this Psalm is a Maskil which is a teaching Psalm because, “Come, my children and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it (11-14 NLT).
Proverbs 16 – Living a Godly life. God gives us autonomy to make choices for our life; What we do with those “choices” and the direction we take in life is the pathway for which we are judged. Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin. By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil (6 NLT). So living at peace with our world is more than just words, it is the purposeful steps of our life that either bring us towards or against “peace”. When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them (7). The High Priest of old wore a breatplate over his heart which contained 12 stones to remind him who served and who would be hurt by his actions should he commit sin (Exodus 28:30). In the same way, we need to live our lives to please the Lord because of the people we represent and who will be hurt by our actions. Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed (3). It is true that “living a life pleasing to the Lord” doesn’t equate to being “financially stable” or being the “money bags of the town”. However, it does mean that we will make every endevor to see that our loved ones are taken care of” (1 Timothy 5:8). As children of the Kingdom of God, we are required by God’s law to obey the laws of the land even if we disagree with them (Romans 13:1-2).
Micah 5 – The prophecy of the coming of Messiah. Yesterday (4/21) I mentioned that “deliverance always comes at a time of great upheaval”. The Messiah of God would come at time when Jerusalem would be under seige. Daniel prophecied thru the angels that many rulers would arise until the time of Messiah. From 539 BC to 1 AD, Jerusalem had been ruled by Babylon, Medio/Persia, Greeks, and then the Romans. Despite the dire warnings of the coming days of destruction, the Spirit says “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah are only a small villiage mong all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will ocme from you on my behalf (2). This “ruler” or King would lead Israel from this passage, one might ascert that the “Ruler” would come in on a whitehorse to wipe out the invaders but that did not happen; instead, as the Prophet Zechariah says, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Look your King is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey – riding on a donkey’s colt (Zechariah 9:9).
1 Timothy 4 – Directions for the Pastor. Paul continues his outline for Pastor Timothy. Timothy would face many obsticals in his ministry and among them would be the people of the community and the SanHedrin that was teaching “Law”. These false teachings would serve to be a rod seperationi n the chirch which was somehting Paul fought many battles over and for it would lose his life. Timothy had two choices, “live to please the Lord”. Timothy’s breastplate had the names of the parishioners and his family that would remind him to make wise choices and follow the leading of God upon his life.