Reading #1 – Leviticus 17
Reading #2 – Psalms 50
Reading #3 – lamentations 1
Reading #4 – Zechariah 3
Reading #5 – Hebrews 7
Leviticus 17 – Forbidden Sacrifices. There is nothing more important to G_d then to understand the importance of sacrificing in “the one” place. For the peoples all around the nation, there were as many altars as there were gods. This case just like the following may raise many questions in your mind like, “who would do such a thing” or “Isn’t that barbaric”? It is not uncommon for mankind to put the 21st century thought into this 15th century BC words. Every word and command in this section was for a purpose meaning, “someone had been doing these things in that time” and G_d called his people to be separate or to be “the difference”. G_d knew what lay in store for the nation in the promised land and much of it was “no good” and the reason it would cease to exist. 8 “Say to them: Anyone from the house of Israel or from the foreigners who live among them who offers a burnt offering or a sacrifice 9 but does not bring it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to sacrifice it to the LORD, that person must be cut off from his people (8-9). If we were to change these detestable practices with modern-day practices like, “working to our death” or “spending everything in the face of harming our family’s well being”, you would come up with the same results. Doing “these things” separates us from G_d although we call ourselves by his name.
Psalms 50 – G_d as Judge. The Psalmist is presenting the Judge like one would in the court of law. The admonitions in this Psalm were written directly against the nation Israel who had been calling themselves by the name of “Chosen People”. Unfortunately, G_d’s chosen people were not acting like children of G_d. You may have wondered why this admonition or any other admonition of G_d against the nation has anything to do with you. If you were to take out the actions spoken of in here and put in modern-day behaviors like overspending, fearful living, and being judgemental, you would come up with the same results and that is, “G_d calling us into his court. Today, the church struggles with the demands of the world to change their ways so that they can continue to exist or face being ostracized. Equally, the church has been an outspoken advocate against the Gay community while all of the time having ministers in its cadre who were acting just like the world. It must be understood that not everybody in the group of “Israelite” was doing detestable things just as not every person who calls themselves “Christian” or “Muslim” is evil. There still many thousands of people that have not “bowed a knee to Baal” or marched in step with the Devil. 3 Whoever sacrifices a thank offering honors Me,whoever orders his conduct, I will show him the salvation of God (23).” In Revelations it says, Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water as a gift to the thirsty from the spring of life. 7 The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. 8 But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars — their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death (Revelation 21:5-8).
Lamentations 1 – According to commentary, these paragraphs are “elegies”. An elegy is a sad poem written to express sorrow and praise to God. These elegies are read even today. The elegies are an acrostic beginning with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet “Alef”. The writer was Jeremiah who prophesied during the time of Josia who was the 2nd to the last king of Judah before the exile. Acknowledging one’s sins must be accompanied by contrition or “accepting the blame”. Accepting the blame and repenting of our sins will not stop the onslaught of the “consequences”. Judah has gone into exile following affliction and harsh slavery; she lives among the nations but finds no place to rest. All her pursuers have overtaken her in narrow places (3).
Hebrews 7 – Melchizedek the Priest. Melchizedek was not a priest in the order of Aaron so how could he call himself a “priest”? This priest was a “new covenant” in which the sacrifices and practices of many centuries earlier have no value. The salvation offered by Melchizedek was not predicated on the quality of our sacrifice nor the oaths that we take. Instead, it is the power of salvation from repentance to atonement. The former priesthood had to sacrifice animals once a year for the nation. The new Priesthood of Melchizedek sacrificed once on the Cross of Calvary not only for the people of the 1st century or the disciples but for all who would come after them or, “believed in their message” (John 17:20). The same sacrifice on the Cross over 2000 years ago still holds power today for those who will believe in him. The Devil will always poke at our conscience and cause us great pain when we think back on the things we have done. Yet, we can remind him of the Cross and the shed blood that covered that sin and allowed for us to reunite with the people we have offended with full confidence that we can work through the issues that separate us because the “bloodguilt” no longer holds power over our lives. Like the events that separated Jacob from Esau, G_d’s eternal forgiveness will open the doors to healing relationships if we chose to act on them; otherwise, the wounds can be re-opened.