Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 17 May 2022:
Numbers 18:1 — “You and your sons and your father’s house with you shall bear iniquity connected with the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear iniquity connected with your priesthood.”
The priests had a sacred responsibility to keep holiness. To maintain individual holiness and the holiness of the “church body.” To emphasize a point in literature, the Jews would repeat a word. For example, when Jesus said, “Verily, verily I say unto you….” He was saying, “Though everything I say is true and worth your attention, this is really, really true and important.” There is only one attribute of God repeated three times: “Holy, Holy, Holy.” As the priests of this age, we must not lose sight of the Holiness of God or the demand for our holiness. Priests have an obligation to remain holy, and a responsibility to protect people from their own sinful nature. How are you doing as a priest to the community in which God has placed you?
- 1 Peter 2:5 — …you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
- 1 Peter 2:9-12 — But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
- Revelation 5:9b-10 — …for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. — 1 Peter 1:15-16 — …but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Numbers 18:5 — “And you shall keep guard over the sanctuary and over the altar, that there may never again be wrath on the people of Israel.”
Priests guard worship, ensuring proper reverence for the Lord is maintained as well as correct doctrine.
Numbers 18:6 — “And behold, I have taken your brothers the Levites from among the people of Israel. They are a gift to you, given to the Lord, to do the service of the tent of meeting.”
Priests are a gift to the people which is given to the Lord for service.
Numbers 18:8 – “Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, ‘Behold, I have given you charge of the contributions made to me, all the consecrated things of the people of Israel. I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual due.'”
The priests lived off of the gifts and tithes given by the people to the Lord. The gifts and tithes were also used to create a storehouse to meet the needs of the people and the work of the “church.” (Nehemiah 10:38, 13:12; Malachi 3:10)
Numbers 18:20 – And the LORD said to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel.
God’s priests had nothing but God which is really everything. We are God’s priests.
Numbers 18:32 — “And you shall bear no sin by reason of it, when you have contributed the best of it. But you shall not profane the holy things of the people of Israel, lest you die.”
Priests are strictly warned not to misuse the gifts and tithes.
1 Corinthians 9:12 — “Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.”
Don’t let issues, disagreements and conflicts distract people from hearing the Gospel from you and witnessing the power of the Gospel in your life through your behavior. We are often called to surrender our rights for sake of the Gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:12)
Paul did not demand his rights before others because he didn’t want anything to detract from his preaching of the Gospel of Christ. He preferred to suffer maltreatment from others rather than risk any offense or conflict standing in the way of his message.
“…but we endure….” Paul points out that self-control in our relationships and encounters with others takes great self-discipline, patience, endurance, and perseverance empowered by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 9:25). Sometimes everything within us wants to “put other people in their place,” or “give them what they deserve,” but if we do, they may not hear another word we say.
- 1 Per 2:22-23 — He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
- Hebrews 12:1-4 — Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In our struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
- Philippians 2:3-8 — Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Are you willing to quietly and patiently suffer maltreatment from others, responding only with love and the Gospel message that you may glorify God? “Pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 — Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
Athletes are willing to push themselves harder and longer and farther than anyone else. They strive to bring their bodies and minds completely under control so that they excel and receive a prize. Others go home to relax, but athletes continue to train. While most people protect themselves from any form of discomfort, athletes push themselves to the limits of their endurance. While some remain satisfied with mediocre performance, athletes pay any price for excellence. Paul said that despite their most valiant efforts, the athletes’ successes and prizes are eventually forgotten. Even the greatest athletic achievements have not affected eternity.
If an athlete can be motivated to make incredible sacrifices for a perishable reward, how much more ought Christians to strive for an imperishable one? If an athlete will labor day after day in order to receive glory from others, how much harder ought Christians to work for the “well done” of their Master? Are you striving to bring your body into subjection for the glory of God? Are you training your mind to think the thoughts of God rather than thoughts of the world? Are you disciplining your life in prayer? When others are sleeping, are you interceding? Have you studied God’s word so diligently that you are prepared to find answers to the challenges you face? Have you equipped yourself in evangelism so that you are ready to share your faith? Have you prepared yourself as a Christian in order to qualify for the imperishable crown that awaits you?” (Henry T. Blackaby)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 May 22: Show shocking love by not defending yourself against maltreatment and by responding to evil with good. Do this as an act of worship and as a testimony to others of the power of the Gospel. Think nothing of yourself, but preach the Gospel. Have the strength, courage, and faith to trust God to restore what is denied you by others. Don’t let an issue of maltreatment stand in the way or be a distraction from the Gospel. Remember, when you defend yourself, you make yourself and the issue the center of attention rather than Jesus. Deny yourself and take up your cross in that situation, and bear the burden of the offense against you as a gift to God and as an act of fellowship with Jesus who suffered and died on the cross for you. (1 Corinthians 9:15-27)