Reading #1 – Leviticus 6
Reading #2 – Psalms 39
Reading #3 – Proverbs 21
Reading #4 – Nahum 3
Reading #5 – 2 Timothy 4
Leviticus 6 – Laws for Burnt Offerings – As I have said in all chapters in the five books of Moses, there is concern for the welfare of the community. Thievery, lying, stealing, and deception are all traits of the enemy. In order to bring the people back to the place of fellowship, or as is stated “and when⌋ he sins and is guilty, then he shall bring back ⌊the things he had stolen⌋ or ⌊what he had extorted⌋ or ⌊something with which he had been entrusted⌋ or the lost property that he had found, or ⌊regarding⌋ anything about which he has sworn ⌊falsely⌋, then he shall repay it ⌊according to⌋ its value and shall add one-fifth of its value to it—he must give it ⌊to whom it belongs⌋ on the day of his guilt offering (4-5 Lexham English Version).” The reason for the increased offering is to pay restitution. Being forgiven is not the same as having paid the price for our actions. For a community to remain intact, just as it is for families, there must be established rules. Rules bring about “consequences” for violating the rules. When the person receives the restitution, they are under obligation to forgo any right to harbor anger towards the person that violated them. The trespass offering is given to make things right with God through the death of the animal (future writings “Lessons from the Cross). Both offerings had to be made simultaneously in order to deal with the offense.
Psalms 39 – I said, “I will guard ‘my ways’ that I may not sin⌋ with my tongue. I will keep a muzzle over my mouth as long as the wicked are before me (1).” This personal commitment before God sets a course for our life. The one thing that gets us into the most trouble is always the “tongue”. This commitment sets the course for our life if we let it. The writer was going through a time of immense pain and it would have been understandable if he wanted to lash out, complain bitterly about his oppressive situation; however, he vowed before God and was going to see it through no matter what may come of it. “Let me know, O Yahweh, my end, and what is the measure of my days. Let me know how transient I am (4 Lexham English) .”
Proverbs 21 – Whatever you are looking for in life, you will find it. Whatever you want out of life, it will provide. The challenge is how we view life, is all we will ever see life to be. IF we see life as full of charlatans, thieves, despicable people, we’ll find plenty of evidence to prove our viewpoint. The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases. People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart (1-2 NLT).
Nahum 3 – The Great and Powerful Nineveh has Fallen – Once so powerful, her allies were a mighty horde but even with all of the strength from her allies, she was no match for the cruelty of Babylon which would destroy the puny Nineveh.
2 Timothy 4 – Future Battles for Pastor Timothy – Paul exhortation for the young Timothy was, “But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you (5 NLT).” This charge was not given like one would give a flimsy gift to assuage or brush off Timothy, it was heartfelt in that Paul himself was in chains awaiting his death sentence. The hard times of ministry were already taking place in the community. This was towards the end of the 1st century and Jesus had been gone from the earth for about 36 years. For the past 36 years, Hellenism was still in play, Hedonism was rampant, and “compromise” became a way of life for the communities of Israel. The remnant of “spiritual Israel” was small and struggling to keep its ways before the Lord God. The same struggles Timothy faced in AD 1 is the very same things we face today. So, I dare say that the very same charge Paul gave Timothy is the very same charge we have today. “But you _____________ keep your head about you and do not cave in and compromise your ways to match the demands of the world.