Reading #1 – Leviticus 14
Reading #2 – Psalms 85
Reading #3 – Proverbs 24
Reading #4 – Zephaniah 1
Reading #5 – Philippians 1
Leviticus 14 – Laws of Cleansing a Leper or House with Leprosy. Although the writing seems to be a headscratcher because of the depth it goes into, it is important to note that leprosy was/is a communicable disease. Knowing this, the Lord relayed through Moses the necessary steps to cleanse the individual(s). I would surmise that if the process was not enacted, fear and panic would spread through the community as we’ll find out with the 12 spies that were sent into the land. You will notice that the priest was to sprinkle the individual being cleansed “seven times”, the number “7” in scripture is the mark of completion or “G_d’s” number (7). The people bringing the offering were to bring an offering commensurate with their income (21). The number 8 signifies a new beginning, a new day has dawned and the man/woman is free (23, Revelations 21:5).
Psalms 85 – Prayer for G_d’s Mercy Upon the Nation. Sin destroys a nation from the inside out. If the sin was a blight on the outside, it could be easily cleaned by rubbing the spot off. However, when blight is on the inside, it can be hard to decipher the truth from the lie. The Lord is most certainly willing to heal the land but He will never do it unless we ask for it (Psalms 86:5). Once we are forgiven, it is incumbent that we strive with all earnest to never return to folly (8). The thing is, G_d’s restoration plan takes time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). When we come to the Lord and repent of our sins, it must be with the only intention being “I want the relationship renewed even if it means living in the mess I created as long as I have peace with You” (6-7).
Proverbs 24 – Precepts and Warnings. The writer of this section addresses key areas that will keep the listener from trouble. What is missing is the reasoning behind the warnings. When it comes to G_d’s precepts and warnings, He never explains why such nonsense was written. When we are disobedient or obedient, we find the answer to “Why”? (3).
Zephaniah 1 – Day of Judgment on Judah. The prophet Zephaniah prophesied the coming destruction of Judah in about 610 BC or about 26 years before the fall of Jerusalem in the time of Josiah (1). Although Josiah turned the nation back to the Lord, it was just the last ray of sunshine before the nation fell. When Jerusalem was destroyed, it was completely destroyed so that the only thing one could hear would be the “creak of the doors” (2-6). G_d would not accept an excuse for misbehavior from the Israelites and nor will He accept one from us (7). The entire nation would be sent into exile and they would be utterly humiliated (12). The wealth of the nation would be stripped away, the vineyards that were planted would yield fruit for the invaders, and the houses they built would be emptied (13). This prophecy was the final warning and it was dire (14-18).
Philippians 1 – Thanksgiving. The church at Phillipi was on fire for the Lord and in every way possible, it provided for Paul’s needs, for the church at Jerusalem, and for its community. Paul prayed daily for this church that it would continue to grow in the face of worldly pressure to conform (3-7). Although in prison, Paul was spiritually free and his imprisonment spurned growth in the churches he planted (12-14). In Paul’s time, just like in ours, some people preached out of selfish motives and others out of love for the Lord. Paul’s encouragement for the church was “do not worry about the motives because G_d uses both to further the kingdom (15-18). Paul’s source of joy was the Lord so he did not get caught up in worldly arguments (21-23). Just like today, the community was constantly changing which meant that cultural norms would also change, for this reason, the church was admonished to live for the Lord and honor Him always (27-30).