Reading #1 – Leviticus 3
Reading #2 – Psalms 36
Reading #3 – Proverbs 18
Reading #4 – Micah 7
Reading #5 – 1 Timothy 5
Leviticus 3 – The peace offering. It was a voluntary sacrifice given to God in three specific instances. First, a peace offering could be given as a freewill offering, meaning that the worshiper was giving the peace offering as a way to say thank you for God’s unsought generosity. It was basically just a way to praise God for His goodness. The second way a peace offering could be given was alongside a fulfilled vow. A good example of this was when Hannah fulfilled her vow to God by bringing Samuel to the temple; on that occasion she also brought a peace offering to express the peace in her heart toward God concerning her sacrifice—it was a way to say, “I have no resentment; I am holding nothing back in the payment of my vow.” The third purpose of a peace offering was to give thanksgiving for God’s deliverance in an hour of dire need. None of these three reasons to sacrifice had anything to do with propitiation, with appeasing God, or with pacifying Him (Gotquestions.org). “If you present an animal from the herd as a peace offering to the Lord, it may be a male or a female, but it must have no defects (1). The peace offering, as mentioned above, is offering given to “bury the hatchet” if you will. In doing this, the person offering the sacrifice brought his or her very best offering. In the New Testament, it is recorded that “So if you are presenting a sacrifice[h] at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God (Matthew 5:23-24 NLT).
Psalms 36 – The rod that seperates the properties. In this world, there are the wicked and the upright in heart; between them lies a boundary stone. Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all. In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are. Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do good. They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil (1-4 NLT). Remember this, scripture was not written so that the world would know the truth, it was written for the people that call themselves by the name of the Lord God. For this reason, we cannot hold up scripture as the defined boundary line until we live within that boundary and produce fruit in keeping with our liberality. When people see the fruit we produce, they will want to know the God of the Universe whose love is beyond measure and unlike anything that can be produced in the world today. When we see the world producing what looks like good fruit, we are not to be afraid, nor envious, nor fearful rather, we are to trust our Lord even more and hold tighter to his hand. Pour out your unfailing love those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to rise again (10-12 NLT).
Proverbs 18 – Which Friend is Really Your Friend? Everything in this world produces fruit of one type or another. Some fruit is good to eat and, given the right amount of seasoning, will give the fruit a better taste. Yet, there is also the type of plant that all It does is take up space, eats the nutrients, and spawn offspring to take up the land we call this plant a “weed”. Weeds, just like bad friends, grow their roots deep into the land so that they are not taken out very easily and require more determination than we think we possibly must remove them. Even after digging out the plant, some part of the weed remains in the ground and will grow back if we are not careful to remove it. Now weeds grow best in dried out and untilled earth. The same can be said of the friends we keep around us, when we have no water in our soil and we allow the weeds of bad friendships to fester within us, our heart teems with weeds of anger, remorse, depression, frustration, and self-loathing. Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction (20).
Micah 7 – Misery Turned to Hope – Of all the things that can happen in this world, severe destruction like the aftermath of Tornadoes, Hurricanes, and earth quakes always seem like the end of all that we knew and we have a hard time believing that anything good can come from it. The Devil will always try to get us to focus in on the destruction so that we become downhearted and believe we will never again see anything good in our life. Then something happens and the soil of our heart comes to life again as new growth takes root. How miserable I am! I feel like the fruit picker after the harvest who can find nothing to eat. Not a cluster of grapes or a single early fig can be found to satisfy my hunger. The godly people have all disappeared; not one honest person is left on the earth. They are all murderers, setting traps even for their own brothers. Both their hands are equally skilled at doing evil! Officials and judges alike demand bribes. The people with influence gets what they want, and together they scheme to twist justice. Even the best of them is like a brier; the most honest is as dangerous as a hedge of thorns (1-4 NLT). When Elijah had been threatened by the vile queen, he ran all of the way back to the mountain of God and tried to tell God just how bad thing were on earth and how God should take him out of the world. After all, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too”. Elijah put up a good defense but, he wasn’t ready for what came next from the mouth of God, “Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi to be king of Israel and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. 17 Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him (1 Kings 19: 14-18 NLT)!” If we can just hold on to God’s hand through the storms that confront us, we can make it to the otherside no matter how bad things look.
1 Timothy 6 – Living Your Life in the Light of God’s love – Each of us, no matter who call “lord of our life” has his or her autonomy. We have no authority to tell anybody how to live their life and nor should we ever seek to try. The reason is, we can try as hard as we would like to make a pitch that would change the world, but we will only end up falling flat on our face just like Moses did and ended up being the scapegoat for the nation. Yet, should we live to please God, good fruit will come from it and you won’t have to say a single thing yet, people will come running to hear what you have to say. For Timothy, it was much the same. The community where he ministered was being overun with bad theology, wickedness, and death. Paul’s charge to Timothy in the face of growing “Helenism” was, “But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so, run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again (11-14 NLT).