Reading #1 – Leviticus 16
Reading #2 – Psalms 87
Reading #3 – Proverbs 26
Reading #4 – Zephaniah 3
Reading #5 – Philippians 3
Leviticus 16 – Law of Atonement. After Nadab and Abihu died when they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord (Leviticus 10:1-7). From that issue, a new was implemented by the Lord identifying specific times when Aaron could go into the Holy of holies (2). Entering into the Holy of Holies was to be done with the utmost respect for the holy things of G_d which involves the dress code, attitude, and physical condition (3-5, Leviticus 21). The scapegoat is the one that all of the sins were confessed onto by laying on of hands. Once the sins have been transmuted onto the goat, it is taken out into the wilderness and let go into the wilderness. The day of atonement or the Annual Atonement is around the middle of September and was instituted while the nation was in the wilderness so that it would learn the requirements and carry them with them into Canaan (29-30). Atonement is making peace with G_d which requires a sacrifice or the shedding of blood (29-34, Hebrews 9:22).
Psalms 87 – Privileges of Citizenship in Zion. Zion is a synonym for Jerusalem which is the city of David. Zion was a special place to the Lord, it is where the two temples were built, it is also the place David set as the capital of his kingdom. Rahab and Babylon found out the hard way who is G_d and who is a worthless idol thanks to David’s unending devotion to the Lord (3-4). Because we are covered in the blood of Jesus, we have been welcomed into the Kingdom of G_d and He knows those who belong to Him because His children listen to Him and remain obedient (5-7, John 10:27-28).
Proverbs 26 – Similitudes and Precepts. Learning to speak words of wisdom is not hard because all it requires is for the individual to listen to wisdom and utter the words like a Macaw. Allowing wisdom to saturate your life, on the other hand, requires time and obedience (12). In the same way, accepting an assignment and following through are two different things like the illustration of the two sons (13, Matthew 21:28-32).
Zephaniah 3 – Woe to Jerusalem and the Nations. One of the harshest indictments a nation, kingdom, or church can receive is to be indicted for mismanagement of materials that do not belong to us (Luke 16:2). Jerusalem was the capital city of David’s kingdom and was the designated city for Solomon’s temple. The problem was, the priests in cooperation with the evil kings had stolen from the Temple and led the people down a dark road. What the people were not aware of was that the kings and priests had an agenda and the populace was simply a stepping stone to getting what they wanted “absolute control” (3-4). What we fail to understand about G_d’s righteousness is that He will allow mankind to go only so far before stepping in. The priests and kings thought they would always have Jerusalem so they took great strides to accomplish their misguided agendas only to have it all stripped away when they were on the precipice of accomplishing their goals (6-7). When the remnant returned, they were being charged before the Lord to do what is righteous and just (13-20).
Philippians 3 – The Goal of Life. As children of G_d’s Kingdom, we are called to walk in the path of our Savior. It was no secret that not every person who called themselves by the name of Jesus was walking in the pathway but were simply troublemakers or “Judaizers” or “legalists”. Paul was warning the people so that they would be on their guard at all times. Paul was himself a scholar in the law of Moses and was singularly qualified to speak to the problems such scriptural misunderstanding could cause in a group (1-4). The good news for the church was that if even the great Paul could let go of the hold he had on the people in favor of growing in Christ, then “all things were indeed possible” (7-11, Matthew 19:26). Of course, growing in Christ is not without its “flops and oops”. If walking in Christ meant “instant perfection, G_d would have never sent His son (12-16). The church leadership is tasked with the responsibility for the flock and that means keeping an eye out for false teachings and troublemakers because they would always be there sometimes being merely sleeping waiting for the right time (17-21).