Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 3 April 2022:
Here is a short video overview of the Book of Leviticus: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/leviticus/
Leviticus 1:4, 5 – “He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. Then he shall kill the bull before the Lord, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting.”
“Three kinds of animals were offered as burnt offerings — bulls (vv. 1–5), sheep and goats (v. 10), or turtledoves and pigeons (v. 14). Only the rich could afford bulls, the “middle class” offered sheep or goats, as that was the most they could give, and the poor sacrificed turtledoves and pigeons. In all cases, the offering was a real sacrifice. Meat was a rare luxury back then, so it was costly to burn an entire animal on the altar without giving any part of it to anyone but the Lord. This is exactly what happened with the burnt offering (vv. 9b, 13b, 17b).” (Ligonier Ministries)
The guilty person brought his animal to the priest and laid his hands on the animal before personally killing and sacrificing it (v. 4). This was a very visible and powerful reminder of the destructiveness of the person’s sins (which lead to death), the impact of sin on the innocent, and the personal accountability of the sinner. The laying on the hands though also symbolized the transfer of guilt and the penalty of sin to the substitutionary sacrifice who would pay the penalty of sin (death) on behalf of the sinner as the priests would present the offering to the Lord on behalf of the sinner.
For God to maintain His justice, He must punish sin, and those who sin against the Almighty, Holy, Sovereign God must die (Genesis 2:15 – 17; Romans 6:23). Under the old covenant (2 Chronicles 29:7-8), burnt offerings were a means to temporarily satisfy God’s wrath and allow for repentance from the sinner. But more importantly, these sacrifices were intended to be a picture or foreshadowing of what Christ would do permanently for our salvation, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice that we would have perfect reconciliation with the Sovereign Lord, the Almighty, Our Father. In fact, the more you study the Bible, the more you will appreciate how every aspect of the Tabernacle, the role of the priests, and the sacrificial system all point to what Jesus would eventually fulfill, and only through Christ does any of it ultimately make any sense at all (Read Hebrews 9:11 – 10:18 for example).
“Knowing that God is so holy that He must execute His wrath encourages us to see that no wrong will escape His judgment. Knowing that God is so merciful that He allows a substitute to bear His wrath in our place encourages us to be thankful for the great salvation prefigured in the burnt offerings and accomplished in Christ Jesus. Let us show gratitude in word and deed each day for our redemption.” (Ligonier Ministries)
Psalm 38:3 — “There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin.”
Sin affects your health.
Psalm 38:11 — “My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off.”
Sin affects your relationships.
Psalm 38:13, 14 — “But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth. I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes.”
Sin hinders your ability to hear God and to pray effectively.
Psalm 39:1-3 — “I said, ‘I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence.’ I was mute and silent; I held my peace to no avail, and my distress grew worse. My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:”
It is extremely hard to control your emotions and hold your tongue. You will not be able to do it from a worldly perspective.
Psalm 39:4 — “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!”
Life is too short to be bitter.
Psalm 39:8 — “Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool!”
Understanding your own sinfulness and dependency on grace will help you control your temper and impatience with others.
Psalm 39:9 — “I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it.”
Understanding that God knows what is happening and remains in complete control will help you control your emotions.
Proverbs 3:2 — “…peace they will add to you.”
Knowing and obeying God’s word out of love for Jesus brings peace in your life.
Proverbs 3:3 — “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.”
Once again, love and faithfulness go together. Obedience comes from the heart, not from just the head. You will not endure and persevere if you don’t really want to from your heart.
Proverbs 3:5-7 — “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”
Memorize these verses if you haven’t already — they are critical to your walk in life. Your understanding and ‘wisdom’ will always mislead you apart from the continual counselling of the Holy Spirit through God’s word. You do not possess the capacity to know and understand enough to make good decisions — you were not created to have that ability; you were created to be a receptor of the Holy Spirit and to translate God’s revelation into practical action in the physical word. You were made to be a vessel. Yes, God wants you to use your volition, but in accordance with His will, from a heart of genuine love for Him and through the continual enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, which puts all things in context to a reality which cannot be seen or discerned by our limited minds – “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5). God makes it clear: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8, 9) How far are the heavens from the earth? The distance cannot be measured. How important than is it to stay connected to God, day by day?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) — 3 Apr 22: Pray that God will help you more and more to receive the power of the Holy Spirit with its fruit of self-control to help you control your temper and your tongue. (Psalm 39)