Reading #1 – Leviticus 4
Reading #2 – Psalms 76
Reading #3 – Proverbs 14
Reading #4 – Micah 4
Reading #5 – Galatians 3
Leviticus 4 – The Law of Sin Offerings. There are two different kinds of sin, intentional and unintentional. This chapter covers “unintentional sins” meaning, it happened in the course of daily life and is mostly unavoidable. Consider the case of Paul when he spoke about “acting on our liberty but not to the detriment of the weak Christians (1 Corinthians 8:5-7). The thing is, even though we do things we later find out had hurt someone, the power is in our hands to heal the wound and make things right in G_d’s eyes and in the eyes of the people we hurt. You will notice that when the priest, ruler, or elders commit unintentional sin they have to provide a male whereas the populace would bring a female. In Hebrew culture, Torah and Old Testament speak about the male being made first so their best stock would make a dent in their pocketbook (2-4, 13-15, 22-24, 27-29). The second thing that stood out in my mind is the priest had to spray the blood seven times; seven is a special number because it implies “perfection” or “completion” (6). The implication, in my mind anyway, is “Lord I have gone to the utmost point to make this issue right although I did not intend to commit a sin or absentmindedly hurt the other person.
Psalms 76 – The Victorious Power of the G_d of Jacob. When we make room in our hearts for this G_d we serve with reverent wonder, He becomes the theme of our worship (Psalms 22:25). When He becomes the sole theme of our praise, His peace inhabits our life. Because the G_d of the Universe inhabits our heart, it doesn’t mean that the troubles in the world subside it means, that the power that the world has over us no longer holds sway (5-6, John 16:32-33). It is the same power that fills our life with peace that helps us to make amends for our mistakes in judgment (1-4). The thing we need to keep in mind is, no matter how close we get to the Lord or how mightily he moves in our life, we will always have our ardent critics and sometimes, it is from members of our home or family; however, if we can just hold on a little while longer, the fruit of our life will put their arguments to rest (7-12).
Proverbs 14 – Contrast the Upright and Wicked. Building upon G_dly precepts means applying them to our life even when nobody else is committed to that course of action. Calling ourselves by the name of the Lord or “Children of Abraham” is not the same as allowing Him to become the Lord of our life, judgment, fear, and/or use of resources. The quality of our walk with the Lord is a factor of the work we put into developing it and our motivation for doing so (1-2). If our motivation is driven by the quest for power or acceptance, we will eventually walk away and come away as empty as the day we entered the walk; sometimes we walk away full in our faith and return empty like Namoi/Mara (Ruth). When we read about these two character types, we may tend to think that they are two different people when they could be one and the same under two different circumstances like Solomon.
Micah 4 – Peaceful Latter Days. For now, the kings of Samaria and Judah ruled their lands but a day was coming when that autonomy would be taken away. In the two kingdoms, there were both wise and foolish people and both types were being cajoled by the kings to commit sin. The encouragement here was for the righteous who had cried out to the Lord and that message was, “Hang in there a little while longer, don’t surrender to sin (1-2). For the coming King to judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31), he would have to live according to the Word of His Father, not like one that uses a checklist but that rivers of living water flowed from him that flowed to his kingdom. The by-product of the rivers is, “peace” not like the world’s version that comes with the caveats “if you give me ____” and/or “if you quit ____, I will let you hang around me” (). For now, the gentile nation of Babylon and later the Persians and Medes, followed by the Greeks and culminating with Rome until the work is completed or has reached the pinnacle of power only to have it taken away from them when they least expected it (). When the two kingdoms went into exile, everyone except for a very few was removed from the land. At the end of 70 years, a remnant would return to rebuild the broken walls (Jeremiah 29:10, Daniel 9:5-7). The overarching point, to me anyway, is that on the surface, this prophecy sounds fantastic because it meant the mean old gentiles would be crushed and G_d would restore Jerusalem (12-13) The problem is, all of this would take anywhere between 200 – 600 years in time for the prophecy to come to fruition so, the people would not recognize the coming of the Messiah.
Galatians 3 – Faith Brings Righteousness. The church at Galatia’s proverbial wheels came off of the axel because of the proposed word of false teachers declaring “obey the law of Moses”. Now, there is nothing wrong with the law because those who honor the law by walking in step with the Lord do not fear the possibility of intentionally disobeying Him. The church Galatia had forgotten these things most likely under the flawed teachings of the one who wanted to derail the church (1-5). “Have Faith” is not a mantra, it is a code by which Jesus can live vicariously through our lives (7). Living under the law is liken, to me anyway, to being hit over the head “You are a no-good look, you can’t even go a day without sin”. Living by the law doesn’t require faith, it requires large hands to carry the book and a back that is willing to bend over and submit to the pressure (10-12, ). Our freedom in Christ Jesus was purchased in His blood and is something to respect and honor just like our nation’s independence (13-14). The law and the promises of Christ are weighed in the balance of the Kingdom; believing the promises without obeying G_d’s commands will not bring us any closer to the Kingdom than it would be if we honor the law but doubt the promises (21-24).