Reading #1 – Leviticus 6
Reading #2 – Psalms 78
Reading #3 – Proverbs 16
Reading #4 – Micah 6
Reading #5 – Galatians 5
Leviticus 6 – Guilt Offerings. The guilt offerings were offered when an individual commits a sin against the community. The most likely reason this rule of law exists is that sin tears down a community by causing fights between its members. When an individual or group of people, like the Sanhedrin for example, lie, steal, cheat, and/or offer false testimony, it creates problems not only for the individual but for the nation as a whole. For this reason, when a person or people were guilty of the above acts, they had to bring a guilt offering. To make things right with the party that was offended, the individual or group of people had to restore the thing that was lost and add 1/5th more to the value before the guilt offering was accepted (1-7). When the priests burned the guilt offering, they had to keep the fire going all night (8-9). The ashes from the offering were considered “holy” and were treated with respect by removing them from the altar the next morning and taking them to a ceremonially clean place. The priests would change out of their priestly clothes before taking and put on other clothes before taking them from the tabernacle (10-13). When a guilt offering was offered in the form of grain, the priests would take a handful of it and burn it in the fire as incense as a memorial offering to the Lord. The remaining portion of the grain would be eaten by the Priests in the form of unleavened bread (14-17). By telling Aaron and his sons that they are to eat the offering on the day it is offered, to clean the pot if it is bronze, and destroy it if it is made of clay, the implication is that this offering was sacred. The person who offered it was making amends for the sin he/she had committed and the person is square with the house (25-28). The life of the offering of the blood had to be burned at the altar because sin is now dead and is no longer an issue (29-30).
Psalms 78:1-37 – G_d’s Guidance of His People Despite their Unfaithfulness. The Bible is more than a set of instructions for daily life, it is a history lesson of a nation that is given everything but still was not content. Teacher Asaph, like Teacher Jesus, used parables to convey an important truth (2-3). For the teaching to be effective, the student must first be willing to learn or, the listener would walk away thinking “that was a nice story told by a good storyteller” (1, Matthew 11:15). Asaph did not gloss over history because for the people to learn, they had to know the truth (4-8, John 8:31-32). This Psalm is balanced teaching that sought to capture both sides of the argument so that the students would be encouraged to remain faithful to the Lord despite their character flaws (Zondervan Commentary). Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob laid the groundwork for the nation by being faithful to Him (Deuteronomy 7:9). Israel, just like all nations, had her share of foibles but they did not keep the nation from walking in His presence (13-17). If it had not been for Moses standing in the gap for the nation, the nation would have been a forgotten people. G_d met the needs of the people even though they had complained bitterly about their hunger and thirst instead of “asking” (20-24). The nation’s needs were met given their complaints because they received more than we bargained for (29-31). After seeing many of their sons dying in the wilderness because of sin and the rewards of faithfulness, it should have cemented in their minds the importance of remaining faithful to Him but it didn’t (32-37).
Proverbs 16 – Contrast the Upright and the Wicked. An argument can be made that each person is right in their opinion. The problem is that we justify the basis of our actions and how we define the environment. Consider the case of Saul how he lost his kingship because of disobedience (2, 1 Samuel 15:16-21). No matter what argument we present to G_d for our ill-fated incidents, it will not hold water in the Kingdom even if we intend to present the booty we stole to the Lord because the Lord desires obedience more than he wants sacrificial animals (3-5, 1 Samuel 15:22-23, Psalms 51:16-17).
Micah 6 – G_d’s Indictment of His People. One of the harshest words Micah had to speak to Israel/Judah was G_d’s indictment. Remember this message was spoken at the height of Ahab’s reign and before Ahab died in battle (1-2). All the good that was done in Israel/Judah was because of the Lord not because of the king’s prowess for leadership making the Lord the jilted lover (3-4). When the people walk in the shout of the Lord, not even the prophet Balam could curse them (5). G_d’s requirements for our life are small in comparison to the blessings He provides (6-9). The world offers trinkets in place of blessings and does so to entrap its prey (10-16).
Galatians 5 – Walk by the Spirit. Choosing the path we walk is up to us, we can remain in bondage or walk in the Spirit (1). Before Paul had a meeting with Jesus, he walked in bondage to the law. Being circumcised was a requirement in the law of Moses so the Sanhedrin compelled the gentile church to be “circumcised”. The problem was that circumcision didn’t make you holy any more than water baptism will get you into Heaven (2-6). Paul had great dreams for the church at Galatia but along the way, flawed theology had gotten into the church and didn’t take much to change the course of the church (7-12). I believe part of the problem was that the perpetrator of the problem said something like this “Paul teaches circumcision was necessary for salvation”. Naturally, anything that Paul did had to be right so they did it without checking with him (13-15). An integral part of walking in the Spirit is not letting our human tendencies get in the way of His very best and honor the two great commandments as a way of life. When we do this, the fruit that comes from our life will enrich those around us, and more will want to know the G_d we serve (16-26).