Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 20 Feb 18:
1. Leviticus 10:1, 2 – “Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.” Nadab and Abihu were given tremendous responsibility to lead communal worship and maintain God’s standards of holiness. God gave strict instructions for worship and demanded obedience. Nadab and Abihu dishonored God, and God held them accountable. If this appears to be an extreme punishment, it can only be because of a misunderstanding of the severity of treating the Almighty’s holiness with contempt.
– Nadab, Abihu, and Saul were extremely committed and active in religious service. They were all very influential religious leaders. They had all convinced themselves that they were righteous before the Lord. However, they were practicing the false religion described in Colossians 2:20-23, having “an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility….” Their prideful, misguided approaches to God dishonored God, led people astray, and only resulted in death and destruction. Jesus said, “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:19-24) Worship is the purpose for which Christians were made — and only the redeemed can worship the Father in spirit and in truth. True worship can only come from reliance on the Grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit within us. True worship must be must be grounded in and accountable to the Word of God. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship (Rom 12:1).”
2. Leviticus 10:3 – “Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’’ And Aaron held his peace.” Aaron understood the significance of the sin committed by his son’s – he did not dare challenge God’s punishment.
3. Leviticus 11 – The world is full of ‘unclean’ people who do not know God, common people who know God, and holy people who lead worship; likewise, the Law designated unclean animals, clean animals, and animals worthy for sacrifice.
4. Proverbs 20:6 – “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?” Fidelity is proof of love and one of the most valuable character traits. God seeks a rare commodity: a faithful individual.
– Genesis 24:49 — Now then, if you are going to show steadfast love and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left.
– Numbers 12:6-8 — And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”
– Deuteronomy 28:1 — And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
– Joshua 24:14 — Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness.
– 1 Samuel 2:9 — He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail.
– 1 Samuel 12:24 — Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.
– Psalm 25:10 — All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
– Psalm 31:23 — Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
– Psalm 37:3 — Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
– Psalm 85:10 — Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
– Psalm 119:30 — I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.
– Proverbs 3:3 — Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
– Proverbs 12:22 — Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
– Proverbs 16:6 — By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
– Proverbs 20:28 — Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.
– Proverbs 28:20 — A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
– Matthew 23:23 — Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
– Matthew 25:21 — His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
– Luke 16:10 — “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
– Acts 11:23 — When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,
– 1 Corinthians 4:2 — Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
– 1 Corinthians 4:17 — That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
– Galatians 5:22 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
– Ephesians 1:1 — Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
– Colossians 1:2 — To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
– 1 Timothy 3:11 — Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.
– 2 Timothy 2:2 — and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
– 2 Timothy 2:13 — if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
– Hebrews 3:5 — Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant
– Revelation 2:10 — Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
– Revelation 17:14 — They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
– Revelation 19:11 — Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
5. Proverbs 20:11 – “Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.” What you do reveals what you really believe.
6. Proverbs 20:15 – “There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.” Few people truly speak wisdom, and truly wise people use words most sparingly.
7. Proverbs 20:30 – “Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.” Some people can only learn the hard way.
8. Acts 9:1 – Saul used the church to persecute true followers of Jesus Christ.
9. Acts 9:4 — “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” To persecute disciples of Jesus is to persecute Jesus himself.
10. Acts 9:6, 12, 15, 17-20 – God gave Saul directions on step at a time. You must be willing to be faithful, one step at a time, regardless of outcome. Many people are obsessed with knowing the future, mainly because they want something to believe in today. The Christian walks in faith, hope, and love (love being the greatest attribute). Faith trusts God today, hope trusts God with the future, and love is the source of that faith and hope, the reason for faith and hope. Those who genuinely know Him, trust Him and will obey without need of understanding the ‘why’. Paul had powerfully experienced God. That was all the motivation He needed.
11. Acts 9:13 – Saul was praying when God spoke to Ananias.
12. Acts 9:13, 19 – God incorporated Saul into a church fellowship that feared him.
13. Acts 9:15, 16 – “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’”
– Jesus chose Saul; Saul did not chose Jesus. Saul was the least likely candidate from man’s perspective to carry the name of Jesus to both Jew and Gentile. Leadership in the Kingdom is not about power, pride, and prestige but rather about calling, humility, service, sacrifice, and suffering. In the Kingdom, leaders are not self-appointed but are chosen and equipped by God. Saul, the career Pharisee, the self-appointed leader, made himself an enemy of God in the name of God, relentlessly pursuing ‘righteousness’ without relationship with God or the authority of the LORD. God would teach Saul to suffer. God would transform the proud and ambitious Saul into the living sacrifice, Paul, who would be willing to say, “For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13) Are you ready to suffer and die?
– The account of Saul’s (Paul’s) conversion and calling shows us much about the ways of God. First, as mentioned above, God chose Paul while Paul was not seeking Jesus (Acts 9:1-7). In fact, Paul was “anti-Christ,” greatly feared among the believers. Next, God reveals to Saul that the persecution of believers is in fact persecution of Jesus directly (Acts 9:4). Notice that God does not reveal to Saul the “plan” but rather gives him instructions to follow one step at a time. He also makes proud Saul dependent on others rather than independent (Acts 9:6-9).” Immediately upon calling Saul, God began preparing the hearts of others to help Saul; in fact, it appears the God revealed to Ananias more about Saul’s mission than He did to Saul (Acts 9:10-15). God gave Saul the mission of glorifying Him, and this mission would require great suffering (in which Paul would later rejoice, seeing suffering as an essential part of God’s perfect plan). God surprised everyone by calling Saul, an infamous enemy of the church, to salvation and service. Many in the church could not accept what God was doing with the life of Saul. Meanwhile, Saul’s former circles despised his conversion and wanted to kill him. However, God provided Saul with a small group of mentors and supporters. Notice that Paul, though still being mentored by the apostles, began preaching immediately, though most refused to accept his message. Paul’s mission started as a struggle and only got more challenging with each day; yet Paul’s joy and impact only grew. What, through the account of Saul’s conversion and calling, is God revealing to you about your conversion and calling?
14. Acts 9:18 – “Then he rose and was baptized.” Just like the eunuch before him, Saul was baptized immediately.
15. Acts 9:20 — ‘”And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’” Those who have truly experienced Jesus don’t hesitate to proclaim Jesus even to the most skeptical.
16. Acts 9:25 –“His disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.” God protected Saul through the efforts of people. God is in control, but we must act wisely in every situation.
17. Acts 9:29 – Revival included bold preaching in Jesus’ name that spread to other churches.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 20 Feb: Show your gratitude to Jesus by proclaiming His name to as many people as possible today.