Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 26 Feb 18:
1. Leviticus 22:1-9 – God expected all His ministers to obey all purity laws and not function as a priest if they were for any reason unclean.
2. Leviticus 22:9, 31-33 — “They shall therefore keep my charge, lest they bear sin for it and die thereby when they profane it: I am the Lord who sanctifies them…. So you shall keep my commandments and do them: I am the Lord. And you shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies you, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord.” God made it very clear to His people that He expected them to honor His Holiness and Sovereignty, and that disobedience was to profane His Holy Name. Half-hearted worship and followership is unacceptable to the Lord because it underemphasizes the “worthy-ship” (meaning of worship) of The Almighty (Leviticus 22:17-33). Jesus reiterates this point in the Book of Revelation: “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:16).” And as mentioned in Leviticus 22:32, God’s reputation is based on how His people represent Him to the world. In Old Testament times, God’s demands for reverence, holiness, and obedience were even greater on the priests for what should be obvious reasons. In the New Testament, all Christians are considered priests (1 Peter 2:5-9, Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10). Our New Testament readings today reaffirm God’s call to obedience – “I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will (Acts 13:22).” Revival in the church requires repentance and a return to reverence, holiness, and obedience – none of this is an affront to grace but rather a validation.
3. Leviticus 22:14 – “And if anyone eats of a holy thing unintentionally, he shall add the fifth of its value to it and give the holy thing to the priest.” God’s plan for restitution is that you give back more than you took, even if your act was unintentional. This is a practice that applies to all relationships.
4. Leviticus 22:18 – God expects and invites aliens to worship Him.
5. Leviticus 22:19-20 – God expects His people to give him the first and the best, not the leftovers and unwanted of their offerings.
6. Leviticus 22:30-33 – Knowing who God is should change the way you give offerings to Him.
7. Leviticus 23:10 – Festivals are connected with work cycles and give opportunity to celebrate the fruits of one’s labor and share these fruits with God.
8. Leviticus 23:42, 43 – “You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” Living in booths reminded the people of their history experiencing God’s miraculous provision under seemingly impossible circumstances, and it reminded them that both their history and their future was in God’s hands. Living in booths for a week reminded God’s people that they didn’t need many comforts to experience the blessings of God; it brought the people closer together in supporting relationships, and it kept their camping skills up in preparation for crisis. Church communities today should consider annual celebration of the Feast of Booths.
9. Proverbs 26:3 – “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools.” Some people live like animals. Those who are not led by the Spirit act merely like smarter animals. They will only respond to pain and pleasure.
10. Proverbs 26:4, 5 – “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” These verses apparently contradict each other, though we know they don’t. They are written together intentionally and likely mean we should seek to counter the foolishness of others, for their sake, while being very careful not to act foolish ourselves in the process. Don’t stoop to their level or parrot their behavior. Don’t lose sight of your mission of reconciliation, of bringing them closer to Jesus through your words and deeds. If your words, tone, mannerisms, and behavior aren’t leading them towards Jesus, you are being foolish too.
11. Proverbs 26:6 – “Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.” You are Christ’s messenger – don’t be foolish as mentioned above.
12. Proverbs 26:7 – “Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” Fools are prideful. You cannot approach God’s word with pride.
13. Proverbs 26:7 – “Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” Don’t be a lame messenger for Jesus by being foolish in your dealings with others.
14. Proverbs 26:9 – “Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” A foolish Christian can hurt people with God’s word.
15. Proverbs 26:11 – “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” When a Christian continues to repeat the sins for which he has been forgiven, it is putrid.
16. Proverbs 26:28 – “A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.” Both lying and flattery are signs of an ungodly heart, both motivated by selfishness. Flattery is telling people what they want to hear for personal gain.
17. Acts 13:2 – The Holy Spirit’s call to Barnabas and Saul came out of fasting and prayer. God speaks in fasting and prayer – it is not a one-way conversation. If you do not have a strong prayer life, you cannot hear what God would have you hear.
18. Acts 13:5 – Preaching the Scriptures is an essential missions activity. You should strive to be an expert of God’s word.
19. Acts 13:22 – “He raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’” God is always looking for servants who will obey all that He commands. David was far from perfect and made huge mistakes, but he was humble in repentance and sought to grow past his sinfulness.
20. Acts 13:23, 29, 32-33 – All Scripture points to Jesus as Savior.
21. Acts 13:29-37 – The Bible had prepared God’s people for the Messiah’s death and resurrection.
22. Acts 13:36 — “David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep.” What a great epitaph! David served the purpose of God, and then he died. What greater thing can be said of a person? Our motivation in life should be to serve God and God alone, to pursue God’s purposes rather than selfish ambition, and to seek first the Kingdom. The more we truly know God and who He is, the more motivated we are to serve Him and to bring Him glory. If we drift or lose focus, it is a relationship problem. Leviticus 22:31-33 says, “So you shall keep my commandments and do them: I am the LORD. And you shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the LORD who sanctifies you… I am the LORD.” We serve and obey God wholeheartedly, lovingly, faithfully, passionately, and joyfully because He is the LORD! We are not like the one spoken of in Proverbs who chases after earthly desires. (Proverbs 23) We don’t “envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.” (Proverbs 23:17) Make today and every day thereafter your day of worship. Do all things for the glory of God. Deny self; take up your cross; follow Jesus. Don’t worry about the rest.
23. Acts 13:39 – Religion, religious activities, or good deeds cannot save a person. Only through Jesus can there be salvation. Charity may ease a person’s discomfort on earth, but only when you draw people towards Jesus do you satisfy their eternal need.
24. Acts 13:40 – To know what the Bible says in not the same as knowing what it means or responding as God expects. Biblical knowledge is not the same as godly wisdom. Wisdom comes from living God’s word through the power of the Holy Spirit – true wisdom can come only from God. We do not have the capacity to create wisdom of ourselves.
25. Acts 13:44 — “On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.” Paul and Barnabas (still honoring the Sabbath) spoke boldly before the synagogue about Jesus, taking their lives into their hands. They weren’t worried about offending anyone, but neither did they force their message upon the Jews. They were invited to speak, and when they did speak, they held nothing back. The result was likely not what they expected – the next week, the whole city gathered to hear the Good News. Eventually, after successfully preaching the Gospel to the city, the disciples were persecuted and kicked out of town. However, “the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52)” because they were faithful to glorify God without compromise. Are you boldly proclaiming the Gospel to those who ask? Are people seeking you out to hear about Jesus? How great would it be if you were given the opportunity to preach the Gospel before your whole town? Would you be ready?
26. Acts 13:46-47 – God’s plan has always included both Jews and Gentiles. The world is always talking about race, gender, etc. God does not show favoritism along these social stratifications, and Christians should rise above this divisive conversation.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 26 Feb: Prepare yourself to be usable by God by starting the day in deep prayer, even fasting, and by committing to total, unconditional obedience. (Acts 13:2, 22)