Reading #1 – Leviticus 2
Reading #2 – Psalms 74
Reading #3 – Proverbs 12
Reading #4 – Micah 2
Reading #5 – Galatians 1
Leviticus 2 – Law of Grain Offerings. When the people brought the grains to the altar for a burnt offering, it had to be the very best or, “finest grains” mixed with olive oil and frankincense (1). All of the items come from working the land. This was an agrarian culture or one that worked the land. The people who did not work the land probably did not eat and most likely did not have anything to show for what they were given (Proverbs 22:29). The “memorial portion” was burnt in thanksgiving for the bounty the individual or family had worked so hard to achieve (2,16). The remainder was given to the priests and was considered “holy”, not because it was “super-spiritual”, but that the person offering it had put in his/her’s hard work into it was eaten with respect (3). If the person offering the grains wanted to roast it before offering it, he/she could do that but the same rules apply concerning the product’s quality the only difference was that person had to separate out the memorial portion from the priest’s portion (4-10). The caveat to this offering was that yeast was not to be added to the grains because, according to the AMP version, it represents the spread of sin nor could it contain honey because it was subject to fermentation (11-14).
Psalms 74 – Appeal Against the Devastation of the Land. This is a didactic Psalm that reflects back on the fall of the infamous city of David “Jerusalem” and the Temple Solomon built Psalm. Jerusalem the Holy City, was invaded and every square inch of the temple was destroyed and all of the precious materials were taken to Babylon. The writer is appealing to the Sovereign G_d’s help to defeat the enemy after they so callously destroyed the nation’s handiwork (1-4). The invading hoard placed their idols and symbols in the Holy place as a way of saying “this is what we think about your G_d Israel” (5-8). When Babylon was through ransacking Jerusalem, there wasn’t one brick upon another to remember the nation that dwelled in the land since the time of Joshua (9-10). Unfortunately, G_d didn’t come riding through on a Whitehorse to vindicate the nation that day in fact, but not because He couldn’t but that He has His perfect timing; the resurrection of the Temple, according to G_d’s plan, would not happen until the time of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (11-23, John 2:18-22).
Proverbs 12 – Contrast of the Wicked and Righteous. The reason for the rise and fall of the nation Israel, just like the rise and fall of churches and families can be found in the confines of this segment of Proverbs. Solomon, the wise albeit the foolish king talks about the two different characters “Wise” and “Foolish” and how the end results were dictated by the differing actions. Regrettably, the actions of the two characters do not always reflect just on the individual but on the group as well. So, I can do what is right in G_d’s eyes and still have trouble in my home because of someone else’s ill-advised actions like the case of Achen (Joshua 7:19-21).
Micah 2 – Woe to the Oppressors. A storm of epic proportions was its way to the gates of Jerusalem and Samaria that the people would not be able to bail themselves out of (1-3). The incoming hoard would sneer with great contempt as they rejoiced at Israel/Jacob’s demise (4). The crown would be removed from the king and he would be taken into captivity for the first time since the time before Saul (5-7, Judges 21:25). G_d’s plan was for Canaan to belong to Israel for all ever but along the way, the leaders and the priests fell headlong into Balaam’s trap; Jerusalem’s moral corruption was aided by King Solomon and Hezekiah’s intermarrying with pagan women (Numbers 31:11-16). The moral collapse of a nation occurs over a lengthy period and is a culmination of many unrelated events. The problem is, when a family, city, state, or nation collapses morally, the first person to be blamed is G_d “you did this G_d” (8-10). When the Prophets no longer warn the people but choose to give “feel good messages”, failure is not far behind (11, Jeremiah 5:31). Where there is moral rot, everything is affected by it and the only recourse is to completely remove it and start over by building the foundation (12-13).
Galatians 1 – Introductions. The church at Galatia which is located in present-day Ankara Turkey was founded by Paul during one of his missionary trips. Paul had given a lot of himself to make sure the church was built on a solid foundation. Unfortunately, while he was away, of course, the church became corrupted by false teachings leading to moral decline (6-7). Because Paul’s only connection to the church was through letters, false teachers presented “spiritually minded messages” which is the Devil’s building model (8-9). The difference between Paul and the false teachers was the outcome of his ministry (10-24).