Reading #1 – Leviticus 8
Reading #2 – Psalms 79
Reading #3 – Proverbs 18
Reading #4 – Nahum 1
Reading #5 – Ephesians 1
Leviticus 8 – The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons. Aaron and his sons were to be consecrated or “set apart” for ministry. The congregation was gathered as witnesses to the consecration. Because of the way Moses conducted himself since the day they left Egypt, the people listened to him. So, when Moses said “This is what the Lord has commanded us to do”, the people did what they were told to do (2-5). The process began with washing the Priest which is where we get the practice of Baptism which prepares the way for the service of the Lord. Then, Moses put on the priestly clothing on Aaron and then his sons (6-9). The bull that was offered resembled sin. The priests put their hands on the animals which transferred their sins to an innocent animal (14-17). The first burned offering, the Ram, resembled laying their lives and self-interests on the altar which would burn until there was nothing left of it sort of like what happened in Abraham’s time with Isaac (18-21, Genesis 22). The second ram was for the consecration offering. Moses put a dab of blood on the priest’s right ear, toe, and thumb because it indicates that the sin is dealt with and it no longer holds power over the individual (22-23). The reason, I believe anyway, for the priests to be sequestered for seven days is to put to death “self” and to install the Lord on the throne of their lives (33-35).
Psalms 79 – Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Prayer for Help. Jerusalem was ransacked in 586 leaving nothing standing and the people were reduced to that of an animal (1-3). The nations that surrounded Jerusalem taunted the people by making fun of their precious temple and their practices (4). The people knew that the events that unfolded were a direct result of their actions leading up to the collapse (5). While they asked for the Lord to avenge them, there had to be understanding that if He destroyed Babylon, He would also have to destroy the Israelites (6-8). The thing is, all of the destruction, all of the taunts, and the cries for revenge would never bring about peace; only by repentance and forgiveness is the sin atoned for and for that, the people needed the Lord G_d operating in and through their lives (9-13).
Proverbs 18 – Contrast the Upright and the Wicked. The contrast between the two is an outcome-based study. The wicked person will separate themselves from G_d and the assembly. Self-indulgence is giving way to selfish desires rather than hearing the truth that will set them free. Certainly, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion however, in the confines of our words we hide our true intentions (1-4). The outcome for the wicked is death or, living in the destruction we created. To see the contract for the righteous, you’d have to flip the statements in 1-4 around.
Nahum 1 – G_d is Awesome. Nineveh which is located in current-day Mosel Iraq was at one time part of the ancient Assyrian empire. In the confines of this chapter, we find out what the people of Nineveh had done to warrant their destruction. As a city in Assyria, the nation laid siege to Jerusalem and imposed taxes on the nation. While Assyria was a formidable foe, its power paled in comparison to the Kingdom of G_d and He can do above what we expect (2-6). The thing is, G_d never moves on the behest of an individual much less a nation unless there has been a time of fasting and repentance. In the time of Manasseh and his son Amon, the nation was reeling from the sinful practice of the two kings. When Josiah became king around 600 BC, a light shined for the nation and it turned from its sinful practices and repented which spelled the end of Nineveh’s hold on the nation (10-14, 2 Kings 22). Because the nation went all of the ways to repentance and forgiveness, a new day dawned and the king of Righteousness and King of Peace reigned over Israel (15, Isaiah 9:2-7).
Ephesians 1 – The Blessings of Redemption. Ephesus is an ancient city located about 80 KM from Izmir Turkey around the Agean sea. The city was founded in the 10th century BC and abandoned in the 15th century AD. Paul established the church while visiting Ephesus. What Paul is attempting to do in this letter is to teach the church about what “a life in Christ Jesus means and what it entails” and how he derived the authority to speak to this church (1-6). The church could not be successful in their ministry unless the Lord was G_d of their church and the Lord of their lives (7-10). When the church accepted the gift of forgiveness and the Holy Spirit indwelled the church, their lives were remarkably changed (11-14). Paul gave thanks for the power at work in the church because another candle was lit and it shined in a dark place (15-17). Accepting the Holy Spirit into the church was just the beginning of the work that would need to be done (18-23).