Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 24 April 2022:
Here is a good message from Jon Courson from Leviticus 22 on dealing with running issues in your life and the importance of serving others with clean hands: https://www.blueletterbible.org/audio_video/popPlayer.cfm?id=2333&rel=courson_jon/Lev
Leviticus 22:1-9 – God expected all His ministers to obey all purity laws and not function as priests if they were for any reason unclean.
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, How God’s people represent Him to the world either glorifies or maligns His reputation. 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.
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.
Leviticus 22:18 – “Speak to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of the house of Israel or of the sojourners in Israel presents a burnt offering as his offering, for any of their vows or freewill offerings that they offer to the LORD….
God expects and invites “sojourners” to worship Him. Today is a good day to invite your unbelieving friends, neighbors, and coworkers to church.
Leviticus 22:19-20 – God expects His people to give him the first and the best, not the leftovers and unwanted of their offerings.
Leviticus 22:30-33 – Knowing who God is should change the way you give offerings to Him.
Psalm 47:5-9 — “God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted!”
Shout for joy today! Sing Praises! He is risen! Tell the world!
If we don’t feel overwhelmed with a desire to praise God today, despite circumstances, it is because we have a wrong perspective of God and the reality of the situation at hand. Joy is an issue of perception, understanding, and focus. So, will you shout for joy today?
If you don’t feel much like rejoicing right now, these verses are not intended to be a chastisement but rather an encouragement. Good coaches don’t usually tell players what the players don’t know, they mostly remind them to practice what they do know and encourage them to grow in their abilities through that practice. Let the Holy Spirit coach you with these verses, reminding you that God is Sovereign and encouraging you to rejoice in His love and in your security in Him. Sometimes we all need to stop, refocus on the truth of the Gospel, and “rejoice,” or ‘joy again.’ Sometimes, when we don’t feel much like singing praises, we need to sing praises more often and louder! Sometimes, when God feels distant, we need to get closer to Him through Bible study, prayer, and meditation, confidently waiting upon Him with great expectation. And sometimes when we are having dark thoughts, we need to proactively replace those thoughts with positive contemplations. Of course, this isn’t always easy to do, which is why the Bible is so full of encouragement to just do it and to practice, practice, practice –
- Philippians 4:4-7 — 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.
- Philippians 4:8-9 — 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 4:12-13, 19, 23 — I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me…. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus…. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
Sing praises to God today for salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and for His continued provision. And share with others the truth of the Gospel, particularly with your children — “Tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.” One of our greatest responsibilities is to pass our knowledge of God to the next generation. (Psalm 48:13, 14) Let you joy through all circumstances be your testimony for God’s glory.
Proverbs 24:3, 10, 27, 33, 34 — “By wisdom a house is built…. If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small…. Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house…. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”
Proverbs has much to say today about the discipline of the disciple. As we said earlier, success has two ingredients: good decisions and discipline. Wisdom lays the foundation for the house; then the house must be built. Good decisions place you on the right path, but discipline takes you, one step at a time, down the road to your intended destination. We can decide to follow Jesus, but then we must have the discipline to be his disciple and to follow him, one day at a time. Jesus warned that before a person decides to follow him, they should consider the cost. Most are familiar with the slogan, “What would Jesus do?” (WWJD). This is intended to serve as a reminder to Christians to make better decisions throughout the day, more like Jesus. “WWJD” is worn on bracelets, T-shirts, etc., to make that reminder more visible. But too often it only serves as a disappointing reminder when, at the point of decision, Christians still fail to act like Jesus. Too often, only after a thoughtless response, does the Christian realize that their hearts were not ready to do what Jesus would have done. Part of the reason is because they did not do what Jesus did well before his public ministry. They did not spend a lifetime preparing for the point of decision. What would Jesus do? He would spend a lifetime in discipleship to the Father – countless hours in study, prayer, obedience, and ministry. He would memorize God’s word and meditate upon it, treating it as more important than food. He would get ‘lost’ in the Temple. He would take on the form of a servant and decide ahead of time to be obedient unto death. He would decide ahead of time to deny self and to go to Calvary. Too often, the Christian plays the role of Christ like an ‘actor’ (Greek word: hypocrite), rather than being transformed into the image of Christ. We can learn the rules and language of football, we can dress up like football players, we can act like football players, and we can even play football on weekends, but that will never make us ready for the Super Bowl. The church in America has neglected the importance of discipleship, leaving many Christians feeling disappointed, defeated, and disheartened. Too many churches generate emotional experiences and convince Christians that mighty oaks are grown in a day, pushing them out into the world ill equipped for battle. Like Proverbs says today, when we fail at the point of decision, it shows us the limits of our strength that was not built up day-by-day ahead of time. “Go to the ant,” disciple and consider its ways. Do not be complacent in your discipleship. Study to show yourself approved. (2 Timothy 2:15) Train hard before the battle.
Proverbs 24:11, 12 – “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?”
“Love and acceptance” is not synonymous with “approval” or “tolerance” of sin. It is in fact unloving to watch others continue in destructive behavior while doing and saying nothing. “Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins (James 5:20).” Some have suggested that Christians should live by example and say nothing, but a good example apart from the Gospel only leads people to moralism (if at all), not to Jesus. We must both practice the truth and proclaim the Truth as ministers and messengers.
If your remain silent with knowledge of ‘The Way, The Truth, and The Life, Jesus while those you know walk in darkness, you will be held accountable by God.
Proverbs 24:19 – “Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked…”
Let God worry about the wicked while you focus on being faithful to Him, regardless of apparent outcomes. God knows what is going on and will judge the hearts of all people.
Proverbs 24:29 – “Do not say, ‘I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.’”
Do not chase after the poisonous snakes the bite you – the poison will just travel to your heart. Let God deal with those who offend you. Just continue to follow Jesus.
Proverbs 24:32 – “Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction.”
God wants you to compare the actions of others to God’s word, consider the consequences of their actions, and learn from their actions, both good and bad.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 24 April 22: Truly celebrate the Gospel today in your heart and with loved ones. Shout for joy today! Sing Praises! He is risen! Tell the world!