Reading #1 – Leviticus 17
Reading #2 – Psalms 88
Reading #3 – Proverbs 27
Reading #4 – Haggai 1
Reading #5 – Philippians 4
Leviticus 17 – Blood for the Atonement. When people brought sacrifices, the blood was poured out at the base of the altar and the meat burned. The people were required to bring their sacrifice to the Lord to the sanctuary (2-4). The reason for the new law was due to the nation sacrificing to idols in the open fields (5). By bringing their sacrifices to the sanctuary, the goal was to bring peace between the Lord and the nation (6-7). This law was established for the entire nation including the temporary residents for the express reason that the temporary residents would not lead the people into sin (8-11). The animal was sacrificed for the sins of the people and as such would be “holy to the Lord” and the people were to respect the blood. In that time, the nations taught the Israelites about the requirements of their idols and this is where G_d’s laws clash with mortal laws (13-16).
Psalms 88 – A Petition to Be Saved from Death. This is a didactic or, “a moral instruction as a moral ulterior motive”. Sin’s purpose is to lead its prey to his/her death (1-4). As long as we live, we will always have hope but as humans, we tend to waste the time we are given (Ecclesiastes 9:4). When we enter into covenant with sin, we are entering into covenant also with death; of course, that covenant with sin and death is broken by the power of the cross but it is not without problems for the person coming to the Lord (5-8, Isaiah 28:17-19). When we go to our graves, everything we had planned, everything we had said, and every promise we made will be for naught (9-12). For this reason, we need to make every effort to make our election sure “to have stability and permanence” while we yet can (13-18, 2 Peter 1:10).
Proverbs 27 – Warnings and Instructions. Receiving correction is difficult especially when it hits below the proverbial “beltline”. As parents, teachers, and Pastors, we are not here to win popularity contests. When we point out issues to our children, students, and flock what we have to say will not always be pleasant. When Paul corrected the church at Corinth, what he had to say was not pleasant but he did so with humility. Of course, we can reject wise council but it will be to our detriment eventually but in the long run, it will solve problems (4-7).
Haggai 1 – Haggai Begins the Temple Building. In the 2nd year of the Persian King Darius, Haggai along with Zerubbabel and Joshua son of Jehozadak, the time had come to rebuild the temple (1-2). The Prophet points out how life was before the exile and the years in exile compared to G_d’s eternal plan (6-11). As the nation embarked on the construction, the warning from the Prophet was, “consider what you do and the choices you make during the construction (12-13). Rebuilding the Temple was just the beginning of G_d’s plans being enacted similarly, Christ’s bloodshed on the cross is just the beginning of G_d’s plan for our lives (14-15).
Philippians 4 – Think of Excellence. The church at Philippi was a church that was on fire for the Lord. The works that the church accomplished proved their love for the Lord (1). Walking in the Spirit means walking in agreement with Him and by His power, the Devil is defeated (4-7). Paul is not asking this church to do anything that he has not, is doing, or will not do. To accomplish the mission, the church had to redirect its mindset onto G_d’s priorities (8-9, Proverbs 4:3-4). Paul was not so much encouraged by the gifts sent to him while in Thesolonica as he was encouraged by the motivation of the heart (15-17). Giving to the Lord is the first priority (15-19, 2 Corinthians 8:1-5). When it comes to our gifts whether it be to the church or to the individual, we need to check with our heart to see why we are giving and if it is out of selfish motives, we need to stop and repent.