Reading #1 – Leviticus 4
Reading #2 – Psalms 37
Reading #3 – Proverbs 19
Reading #4 – Nahum 1
Reading #5 – 2 Timothy 2
Leviticus 4 – Procedures for the Unintential Sin Offering – Just because we are forgiven by Christ Jesus for blood guilt of our sin, it doesn’t mean that the price has been paid for it. In Old Testament law, people brought a sin offering usually an ox, lamb, or a goat depending, I suppose on what you have in your house that is of the highest quality. In this section, the procedures were for “unintentional sins”. One may wonder why God would be concerned about “unintentional sins” and the answer comes down to the “affect sin has on the community”. When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong (Ecclesiastes 8:11). Remember, everything God had said in the law was about “people living safely in a community” and “maintaining a godly peace”.
Psalms 37 – Do not be Infected by Evil that Surrounds You – There are truths about this orld that we need to understand and to come peace in our heart over. First, “evil exists” (12); second, “evil is relished by the closed eyes of the world; third, “evil behavior has a limited time shelf-life” (10). Righteousness and Godliness will deliver you from the fears of the wickedness of the world if you will only allow the seeds of it to be planted in the fertile part of your heart. Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun (3-6 NLT). While this may sound like “pie in the sky” theology, consider the fact that the writer was not speaking some outlandish thoughts, he was speaking from personal experience. In the same way, when we share with our kids about the righteous acts of the Living God, and have not lived it the message will fall on deaf ears; yet, let there be fruit to show and our kids will glom onto it like starving wafes looking for food.
Proverbs 19 – Two of These Things Just Don’t Belong – The children’s show “Sessame Street” used to play a game called, “two of these are sort of the same but one of them doesn’t belong”. The writer, Solomon, speaks about a couple things that also don’t belong together. The fool that lives in luxury, the slave that rules over princes, and the false witness that will not go unpunshed. What is the one thing that doesn’t belong, “righteousness”. IF a community is righteous in all of its ways, the Lord will direct their paths and the three items will be cast away. If a community is unrighteous in all its ways, those three will always exist in one form or another. Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives (18). If the desire of your heart is to have the good of the land, you must take active steps towards obedience and faithfulness (Proverbs 16:6). Righteousness is not something that can be legislated into existance, it is a personal decision that must be made every day and every day you must live out that decision in and out of view of the world that surrounds you. You must be prepared, though, that living righteously before God will not earn you a seat of honor in the presence of the world; instead, it will earn you the “fool’s seat” and you will be laughed at. Just as there is a price for foolishness, there is also a price for “righteousness”. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;[c] then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin (Hebrews 12:3-4).
Nahum 1 – God’s Anger Towards Nineveh – when you read the book of Jonah, there is an important part of the story that is missing and that is, “why did God even bother to send Jonah and, what had the nation done that was so wrong? In the book of Nahum, we find these answers. You see, God’s word is and always has been a “puzzle that needs to be put together”. Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city that ruled over Jerusalem with an iron fist. The city was located in present day Mosul. The missing part of the puzzle in this case is, “how on earth did Jerusalem get themselves tied in with Assyria? The answer is found in 2nd Kings 16 where king Ahaz calls for help from Assyria because his nation was being attacked by King Rezin of Aram so he calls for assistance from Assyria help him offering the king Pelizer a bounty if he will just muster his army to help him. While the help from Assyria benefited the nation, it also put the nation under the curse of being a “vassal nation”. Assyria had controlled the nation Israel from about 722 BCE until its eventual destruction by the Babylonia army in 612 BC or about 90 years. In that time, two kings had come and gone for both Assyria and Israel. How this encouraging? The answer is, “everything has a shelflife” that is, nothing lasts forever, and we need to grasp hold of the hand of God through the bad days so that we can enjoy the good days.
2 Timothy 2 – A Good Soldier for the Christ Jesus – Living for Jesus is not a passive thing that is, it all takes active steps to accomplish the mission for our lives. In order to live Godly lives, we must have people around us who are living for Jesus and show it by the fruit that comes from their actions. Having people around us who are more concerned with arguing over words leads to unproductivity. Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. This kind of talk spreads like cancer,[a] as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus. They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith (15-18 NLT). Keeping our lives pure requires continual attention to what is going on in our life, the things we allow into our lives, and the output from our lives (20-26)