WEEK 15, Day 6, Saturday, 16 April 2022

https://esv.literalword.com/?q=Lev+14%3B+psa+43%3B+pro+16

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, day, 16 April 2022:

Leviticus 14:33-55 –

The book of Leviticus is probably not the most widely read book in the Bible. With its pages of laws that seem so foreign, it can feel tedious to read. Many an ambitious reader, having embarked on a plan to read straight through the Bible, has gotten bogged down in Leviticus and has quit in frustration.

This is unfortunate. Leviticus, for all its foreignness, is part of our spiritual inheritance as Christians. Without Leviticus, we cannot truly understand Christ. For example, He fulfills the office of the priesthood, which is instituted in Leviticus 8–9 (see Heb. 4:14–10:18). He fulfills the Day of Atonement, the procedure for which is detailed in Leviticus 16 (see Heb. 9:12). And He fulfills the year of Jubilee, a time of celebration and freedom mandated in Leviticus 25:8–22 (see Luke 4:16–21).

“Perhaps the most opaque sections of Leviticus are the laws regarding uncleanness in chapters 11–16. One passage in particular I have always found interesting. It’s the procedure for cleansing a house of a case of “leprous disease,” or what the old NIV called a “spreading mildew” (14:33–53). The priest was to examine the house and to have the affected stones and plaster removed. If that didn’t solve the problem, then the house was to be destroyed.

What’s fascinating is that when God begins to lay out the procedure for dealing with the “spreading mildew,” He says, “When you come into the land of Canaan, which I give you for a possession, and I put a case of leprous disease in a house in the land of your possession . . .” (v. 34). God is taking responsibility for a situation that could end in the loss of someone’s house. We might wonder why He would do such a thing.

The answer is twofold. First, God is asserting His comprehensive sovereignty over all creation. Nothing just happens; everything is under His providential control. Further, even the houses that the Israelites dwelled in came from His hand. The earth is the Lord’s, and He gave part of it to the Israelites to be their possession.

Second, this law, like the others regarding uncleanness, was an object lesson on sin. The Israelites were about to settle in the promised land and would have God Himself dwelling among them. God is perfectly holy and cannot look upon sin. Sin is a pernicious disease, and it must be rooted out and destroyed. Otherwise, the sinner will be destroyed.

There is a cost to be paid for sin. It could cost someone his house. It could cost someone his life. God wanted the Israelites to understand the cost of sin, so He demanded that they deal with the uncleanness among them. The cost was high, but the benefit was immeasurable: having God Most High among them.

As Christians, we can look at passages such as this one and be reminded of the cost of sin. But praise be to God, that cost has been paid by Christ on the cross. May we never forget and fail to be grateful that He has paid the cost on our behalf so that we are not destroyed but instead have God among us.” (Kevin Gardner)

Psalm 43:5 — “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

In hard times, have you ever felt like God had rejected you, had abandoned you, and had forgotten about you? Take note and comfort that, as the Bible purposefully reveals to us in Psalms, David often felt this way and, like us, had to remind himself to “hope in God,” to “praise Him,” and to rejoice in salvation, even when he didn’t really feel like it. “Rejoice” is a command in the Bible because sometimes we need to be reminded, even commanded, to do it. Rejoice basically means “Joy again” – when you lose your joy, find it again – just do it! Pray in thanksgiving, force yourself to count your blessings, praise God, recite memory verses on God’s love and faithfulness, sing hymns, replace your negative thoughts with positive thoughts, think only on good things, keep your eyes on Jesus, trust Him, and keep following Him.

  • Philippians 4:4-9 — Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
  • Philippians 4:11 — I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

Take note that remaining joyful and content through hard times is an ability that must be practiced (Philippians 4:9) before you learn to do it instinctively (Philippians 4:11). You don’t get good at anything without practice, and it usually takes consistency over time. Make your practices each day count.

Sometimes we all need to counsel and coach ourselves not to lose hope in God. This is a normal part of the spiritual walk and is part of our spiritual development. However, we also need the good coaching of Christian friends. Part of a Christian’s spiritual development is learning interdependence (rather than independence or dependence), learning to be mutually caring and supportive, and learning to practice the “one-anothers” with each other. God doesn’t intend for you to go through life alone. God’s greatest command for us is love, and we grow in love when God gives us the opportunity to love others and receive love from others – some people have a hard time caring for others when they need it, but also some people, stuck in pride (and shame), have a hard time receiving care from others. God wants you to have strong Christian friends and family who will gird you up while you are weak and vice versa. If you find yourself saying, “Nobody cares,” perhaps some of the problem is you have put up barriers to relationships; and the way we treat others is usually a reflection of our relationship with God. If you aren’t receptive to God, you probably are not very receptive to other Christians.

  • Proverbs 18:1 — Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
  • Philippians 2:4 — Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 — Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
  • Matthew 18:20 — For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
  • Proverbs 27:17 — Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
  • Galatians 6:2 — Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Sometimes, when you feel like you need Him the most, God is silent — He is building your faith, trust, and hope. “During a test, the teacher is silent.” Trust God in His silence as He teaches you, and rest in faith and hope. For the true and faithful follower of Christ, God’s silence always ends in a greater revelation and a greater relationship with Him than previously known. Consider what happened to Mary and Martha when they petitioned Jesus to heal their brother Lazarus — in Jesus’ deliberate delay, Lazarus died. This “silence” from Jesus was in fact Jesus preparing to respond to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in a way that they never could have imagined; Jesus intended to take them to a new place in their relationship with Him, to reveal to them something about Himself that they did not previously grasp: Jesus is the Resurrection! God’s silence is not absence. Quite the contrary, God is preparing you for greater things.

. Proverbs 16:1 — “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord…. The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

From beginning the end, the message in Proverbs 16 is very clear: “The Lord works out everything for his own ends.” The LORD is KING, the LORD is Sovereign, the LORD is in complete control, and the LORD has a plan. When our plan is aligned, in synch, in accordance with and subordinated to His plan, life is good. We are on the “highway of the upright” (Proverbs 16:17). However when we get off course, when we go our own way, life is painful. The problem is that our hearts are deceptive, and, guided by our own pride, ignorance, and emotion, we will always choose the wrong path (Proverbs 16:2, 9, 25). Unfortunately, when we choose the wrong path, we also lead others astray too (Proverbs 16:29). Therefore we must “fear the Lord…. Commit to the Lord whatever [we] do…. Give heed to instruction…. [and] Trust in the Lord… (Proverbs 16:6, 7, 2, 20).” Ultimately, our desire to faithfully submit in obedience to the LORD should be motivated purely by selfless love rather than a self-centered desire for the blessings of God. However, today’s Proverbs and Psalms do remind us that obedience to the Lord leads to fullness of life on earth (Proverbs 16:31; Psalm 20:7; 21:7). Yet to be perfected in love, we all have mixed motives behind our “love and faithfulness” to God and to others – it is partly selfless, and partly selfish. God calls us to approach Him in obedience while He continues to work on our hearts.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 16 April 22: Today, practice rejoicing and being gratefully content in the Lord.

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