Reading #1 – Leviticus 7
Reading #2 – Psalms 40
Reading #3 – Proverbs 22
Reading #4 – Habakkuk 1
Reading #5 – Titus 1
Leviticus 7 – Preparing the Guilt Offering – The guilt offering is given to the priest to sacrifice after the stolen item is returned with a 1/5 of the value added to it. Restoring what was stolen, lost, broken, or lied about heals the relationship between the victim and the victimizer but, the guilt offering restores the relationship with the Lord of Heaven and Earth. TO do one or the other alone would not fully restore the relationship. In the same way, when we hurt someone, lied about them, lost something that belonged to them, or broke something that belonged to them, bringing a guilt offering would only make the victimizer feel better about himself or herself but would do nothing for the victim which leads to vengeance. Restoring what is stolen, lost, or broken without the guilt offering would make it seem like the offender was saying, “ok you got me; here I’ll return it to you” but not feel any guilt about his or her actions. The cross of calvary was a “guilt offering” and while it heals the relationship between God and man, it does little to heal the relationship between the victim and the victimizer. It is our job to be sure to clear up the trouble we caused. The priest ate the guilt offering as his and his son’s compensation.
Psalm 40 = While We are Waiting – Waiting the Lord to release us from the mess we are in or the one we caused is not easy. Coming to the Lord does not imply, “Get out of jail free” rather, it is about what we do while we are waiting. I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord (1-3 NLT). In Leviticus, the first thing that has to happen is the restoring of what we took and adding a 1/5 or about 20% of its value to the whole amount occurs before the guilt offering is made (Leviticus 6:4-7). While we are waiting for our redemption, we need to “be about our father’s work” showing by our actions the truth of our heart. You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand[a]— you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings. Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart (4-7 NLT).”
Proverbs 22 – Reputation over Expediency – Our reputation is something no one can dictate to us, take from us, or force us to give it away. IT is like a gift that we purchased and paid in full for. While the gift is in our hands, it belongs to us when we give it away, it no longer belongs to us; that is, we can never take it back again. When we have worked hard to keep our reputation clean and honest, and then give way to dishonesty, we no longer have that reputation it has been soiled. Our reputation is the soul of our being and for that reason must be carefully guarded (Proverbs 4:23). The Devil’s greatest lie is, “its only once and it is necessary”. Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold (1 NLT) .
Habakkuk 1 – Habakkuk’s complaint – Imagine having your entire world turned upside down. For Habakkuk, his world was the community in which he lived and served. He served as prophet around 612BC which was about 18 years before the time of exile to Babylon. The spiritual Israel had long since disappeared from the world as it was known. In its place was the “physical Israel” who had long ago turned to idol worship. In the same way when we look on our nation the USA, we remember a time long ago when the world seemed drastically different from the way it is or the way it should be. To add to the problem that already exists, a time was prophesied about the pending invasion by Babylon. “On they come, all bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind, sweeping captives ahead of them like sand. They scoff at kings and princes and scorn all their fortresses. They simply pile ramps of earth against their walls and capture them! They sweep past like the wind and are gone. But they are deeply guilty, for their own strength is their god (9-11 NLT).” Now Habakkuk has a new concern one that supersedes his first concern.
Titus 1 – Titus’ mission to Crete – Crete is one of the biggest of the Greek islands. Because of its size and prominence, it was also a place of deity worship; something Paul dealt with many times in his ministerial journeys. Titus was left to finish Paul’s work of building the church by ordaining elders who further propel the church and lead many to Christ Jesus. If there was no form of worship, Titus’ job might have been extremely easy but in the light of the whole Hellenistic movement and presence of deity worship, ordaining people to lead the church would become much harder. For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money. Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.” This is true. So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth (11-14 NLT).