Reading #1 – Leviticus 5
Reading #2 – Psalms 77
Reading #3 – Proverbs 15
Reading #4 – Micah 5
Reading #5 – Galatians 4
Leviticus 5 – Law of Guilt Offerings. The guilt offering, unlike the fellowship offering, is given when we are guilty of an offense against G_d’s laws. When we are found guilty of action, we are held accountable and must bring a guilt offering to the priests to be offered on the altar (1-4). Before the guilt offering is accepted, that person must confess their sin like the case of Achan (5-6, Joshua 7). The offender must bring an offering commensurate with what he/she can afford. If the person can afford a lamb or a goat, he/she must bring it to the altar. If the person cannot afford a lamb or goat, he/she must bring two turtle doves one for the sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. If the person cannot afford two turtle doves or two young doves, he/she must bring a 10th of an ephah of fine flour(9-13). The purpose of documenting the words of the Lord was to preclude the infamous excuse “But I didn’t know”. Even though we commit a sin but are not aware of it, we are still guilty and will be held accountable for our actions (17-19).
Psalms 77 – Comfort in Trouble from Recalling G_d’s Mighty Deeds. Unfortunately, trouble will always find its way to our doorstep, we never have to go look for it. If the disciples were promised that they would face trouble in this world, we are not immune from its influence. The thing is, how we deal with the trouble will greatly depend on how long we stay in “trouble’s jail” (2-7). It seems we can either become the victim or the victor depending on our point of view (8-11). We can either meditate on the problem or meditate on the solution. If we meditate on the problem, the pit we are in will seem bigger and darker. If we meditate on the solution, the Kingdom of G_d, and all that He has done in our lives, a new day will dawn (12-15). In scripture, we not only have G_d’s promises, but we also have examples of G_dly men and women who have conquered real-world issues under the power of the Lord (18-20).
Proverbs 15 – Contrast the Upright and Wicked. Trouble begins in the mind of mankind. The upright in heart will ferret out the truth where the wicked keep going to their harm (24). Of course, this is easier said than done because each person is correct in their viewpoint. The dividing line will be the fruit that comes from living a righteous life. The Devil will promise us the moon and stars knowing full well that he has no intention of giving it; all he wants is for us to commit our soul to the lie (Proverbs 1:11-19, Mike Krier).
Micah 5 – Birth of the King in Bethlehem. One of the hardest things to comprehend, for me anyway, is G_d does His best work in times of immense struggle. When life is at its very best, it is seemingly incomprehensible how a strong nation or individual could possibly be compromised. Sennacherib was about to lay waste to Israel and ultimately Judah in 701BC (1). After this, the prophet prophecies the coming of the Messiah which was about 800 years in the future (2). It is unfortunate that when we go down Sin’s road, we will never know how deep we are in sin until the axels come off and our lives fall apart. When we end up sitting in the mess we created like the young man in Luke 15, only then do we turn our eyes to the Lord (3). From the ash heap, He calls us and reaches out His scepter to restore our lives for His glory (4-5). The thing to keep in mind in this play is that not everyone in the two kingdoms was “morally corrupt” or Jacob/Israel would have been destroyed in a single day just like Soddom and Gomorrah with a scant few being escorted out (Genesis 19). In the end, Assyria and Egypt would be captured by the hoard from Babylon making them vassal nations to become “TransEurphrades” (6-9). In the post-exilic period, a remnant would return to Jerusalem to re-establish the Law of the Lord but the troubles that would come for the nation would be unlike anything they had ever known (10-15).
Galatians 4 – Sonship in Christ. As children, we take in what we are told even if it is bad information because, in our childish minds, we hope that our parents and elders have our best interests in mind. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. When the Judaizers taught the church at Galatia about this “Law of Moses”, they had an agenda which was to bring the church into bondage to an inflexible law (1-3). The problem with the “Law”, as I see it, is that it began with a singular purpose and through time developed a plural purpose. The singular purpose was, “Holiness to the Lord”. The plural purpose was, G_d is _______ and we are the way and this is what the church did not understand. Jesus was sent to establish a new covenant in his blood, tear down the curtain that blocked the entrance to the Holy of Holies, and pave the way for everybody to come in to covenant with him through his blood (4-7, Matthew 26:26-29). When we are in bondage to anything or anyone, we cannot see G_d’s avenue to deliverance until we turn our eyes to Him and trust Him through the process. The church was free from the bondage of pagan idolatry only to go back to them because of the onslaught of worldly religion (8-11). Paul was telling the church the truth as he had always done after his meeting with Jesus. The problem was the “truth” was too simple and lacked the panache of worldly religion (16-20). The church was presented with both arguments and they had to make a choice to be a servant to bondage or a servant to freedom in Christ Jesus (25-31). The choice she made would greatly determine the path she would go and be either like the church at Berea or the nation crossing over to take possession of the land without the presence of the Lord G_d (Acts 17:11-21, Exodus 33:5).