Reading #1 – Leviticus 11
Reading #2 – Psalms 82
Reading #3 – Proverbs 21
Reading #4 – Habakuk 1
Reading #5 – Ephesians 4
Leviticus 11 – Laws about Animals for Food. While scripture tells the nation what foods were impure and which ones were permissible to eat. What it does not tell us is, “why they were impure”. The search I conducted used the term “totemism” or the making of totems to resemble an animal that the nation worshipped, for example, Egypt worshipped the horse. Another part of the equation is “sanitary” that is, cooking in such a way as to keep people from getting sick; remember, this was a nomadic people who had to carry everything with them (Jewish Encyclopedia) plus the people did not have a way to store the food so it had to be burned up if any remained for more than 1 day.
Psalms 82 – Unjust Judgments Rebuked. The nation Israel, just like the church, is a lesson in what happens when our judgments are flawed and the wrong people are executed (1-2). When Jesus stood before Pilot, the same people who cheered him on would turn on him and side with the Sanhedrin. Caiphas, a man who thoroughly destained Jesus, said “Don’t you realize that it is better for one man to die for a nation than for the whole nation to die” (John 11:49-50)? When the nation was on the precipice of being exiled, they asked the question “why is G_d unhappy with us didn’t we fast when we were told to”? While yes, they did fast and pray at the set times, they missed the weightier of caring for the nation especially those who had needs (3-5, Isaiah 58). The thing is, we are called “G_d’s children” but, we will die like men and fall like any of the princes; the implication is that if we do not live according to the full letter of G_d’s design for our lives, we will pass into history just all of the other kingdoms of the world (6-8).
Proverbs 21 – On Life and Conduct. Interestingly, we can live our life any which way we want to. We can do whatever we want and still go to church on Sunday as long we are alive. The trouble is, at some point in time we will be accountable for our actions (1-2). When we sin, something or someone will be sacrificed on the brazen altar and it is usually the innocent person “our children”. Consider the case of the man who spends long hours at work pretending he is doing it for his children when it is in all likelihood it is to fill the greed that drives him on. When this happens, the child becomes bitter, angry, and rebellious (3-4).
Habakkuk 1 – Chaldeans Used to Punish Judah. Habakkuk prophecied from 625-600 alongside Jeremiah. What Habakkuk saw was a tragedy of epic proportions that was 500 years in the making. The Lord showed the prophet what would soon take place (1-4). Of course, the words of Habakkuk were nothing new because the prophets before him tried to warn the nation with little to no success. The Chaldeans, Babylon, would be the Lord’s judgment gavel that would be the final verdict (5-11). The Lord most certainly could have stopped the coming judge and jury but, then he would not be respected for who He is and the Kingdom He rules (12-16). Babylon’s destructive path would not stop until all of the lands were subjective to them (17).
Ephesians 4:1-16 – Unity of the Spirit. Paul’s appeal to the church flew in the face of the conventional wisdom of the world. The world says, “live to please yourself and do what feels right” but Paul’s word commends the people to live a G_dly by using a strong moral compass (1-2). For the Spirit to operate in our life, we must be at peace with the Lord G_d in all that we do (3). In the church, there should be one Spirit, one foundation, and one Baptism so that there is no room for discord among believers (4-6). When we operate under the rule of “flesh”, it is very difficult to please G_d because our motives will be on “what pleases me”. Because it is very difficult to put the flesh to death and keep it that way, we need the Spirit of the Lord operating in and through our life. There is no offering that could ever pay for the sin that we have committed because, no matter what we sacrifice, it would only be justified payment. For this reason, Jesus died on Calvary, not for something He did but to restore the relationship between G_d and man (7-10). Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, the church can be a light in a dark place or a beacon for the world as long as she remains in the right relationship with the Lord. This gift of salvation was not cheap because it cost Jesus everything and for this reason, we need to take it seriously (11-16).