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May 8– Read Exodus 36

In verses 4–6 of this chapter, we read that the tabernacle workers had a very good problem on their hands.  The people had been commanded to supply the materials for the building of the tabernacle, and they gave so liberally that the men had to actually tell Moses to instruct the people not to bring any more stuff.

What great faith is exhibited by the Israelites in this story!  This is the model for us in our giving, yet so often we fall far short.  Instead of trying to think of what else we can give, we tend to try to find the minimum that is necessary.  We live as if we are doing God a service by giving a small portion of our things to him, and forget that everything we have is already his.  In fact, even our bodies themselves belong to him.  Psalm 24:1 reminds us of this when it says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”

Sing or pray Psalter #59.

 

May 9– Read Exodus 37

Throughout this section of the Bible that gives instructions for the tabernacle we see many references to shittim wood.  This tree is more commonly known as the acacia.  There are a number of reasons the Israelites used shittim wood for so many different parts of this project.  First of all, it was available.  The wilderness the Israelites were traveling through wasn’t exactly lush, but the tough acacia was one tree that could survive in such conditions.  Second, it is very light-weight wood, which was very important to the Israelites who would be hauling the tabernacle around with them for generations.  Third, it was strong.  The Israelites needed strong poles that would keep the tabernacle erect in the wilderness where wind was often an issue.  Fourth, once the bark was stripped off the branches this wood had a very nice, polished look, which helped make God’s house beautiful.

Sing or pray Psalter #131.

 

May 10– Read Exodus 38

Throughout these chapters talking about the construction of the tabernacle, there is a lot of use of the pronoun heHe refers to Bezaleel, the chief architect of the tabernacle.  Not much is known about this man who was so instrumental in the making of God’s house, but Biblegateway.com does a good job of summarizing the few things we do know about him.  We know that Bezaleel, although ultimately captain of the entire operation, was chiefly in charge of all the wood, stone, and metal components, while Aholiab was in charge of the fabric used.  Bezaleel’s name means “in the shadow of God,” a name very fitting for the one who would build the house where God would dwell in a cloud with his people.  Bezaleel was a very skilled craftsman and the Holy Spirit gave him wisdom to perform this work exactly as God commanded.  In the same way, the Holy Spirit provides each of us today with the strength and wisdom we need to perform the work we have been called to do.

Sing or pray Psalter #134.

 

May 11– Read Exodus 39

Exodus 39:24 reads, “And they made upon the hems of the robe pomegranates of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen.”  I don’t think I was even aware of what pomegranates were growing up in Michigan, but I know that those in our Redlands congregation are very familiar with them.  I’ve had the opportunity to taste pomegranate jam while visiting my wife’s family out there, a jam that I would say is most similar to grape jelly.  If you don’t know what it is, google it.  The fruit isn’t much to look at on the outside, but then you open it and find inside tons of little juicy kernels.  It kind of reminds me of a geode.  I can imagine that making a jam with these takes a lot of time.

Here we read that pomegranates were sewn into the hem of the priests’ robes.  Why pomegranates?  I’m not sure, but I wonder if the answer has to do with the clusters of juicy, red kernels.  Maybe the kernels are a picture of God’s people, and the bright red color is a picture of Christ’s blood covering them and washing away their sins.  What do you think?

Sing or pray Psalter #111.

 

May 12– Read Exodus 40

The Book of Exodus ends by talking about how God led his people through the wilderness by a cloud.  While the people were camped, the cloud would rest over the tabernacle as a sign that God dwelt there.  When the cloud moved, that was the signal for the Israelites to pack up and follow it.  They would then follow the cloud until it stopped somewhere and then they’d repeat the process.

This is a beautiful picture for us of how we are to look to God to lead us through the wilderness of this life.  Yet, how often do we fail to look for the cloud?  There are so many things vying for our attention.  There are things we’d like to accomplish in our jobs.  There are projects that we would like to do on the house.  There are certain vacations we’d love to be able to go on.  However, often we need to step back and ask ourselves what’s driving these ambitions.  Is it the cloudy pillar or the glitter and glamor of this world?

Sing or pray Psalter #7.

 

May 13– Read Leviticus 1

In reading this chapter, I found it interesting that two different sides of the altar of burnt offering are specifically mentioned.  First, verse 11 refers to the priest killing the sheep or goat on the north side of the altar.  Second, verse 16 says that the crop and feathers of the sacrificed bird were to be placed on the east side of the altar.  The exact reason for these specific directions is very difficult to discern, but some interesting connections can be made.  We know that the door of the tabernacle faced east, towards the rising sun, from Ezekiel 43:4 and 44:2.  In connection with the north side, the Hebrew word for “north” has with it the idea of being hidden.  It was known that the days were shorter as one continued farther north on the earth.  The sacrifice being slain on the north side of the altar could be a picture of its being full of the darkness of sin.

Sing or pray Psalter #109.

 

May 14– Read Leviticus 2

What stood out to me from this chapter was the command to season the meat offering with salt, but not to use leaven or honey.  The reason why these specific things are mentioned is not easy to determine.  In fact, Calvin himself says he doesn’t know why honey is referred to here.  Keil believes that leaven and honey were forbidden because they cause fermentation and corruption, whereas salt was commanded to be used for its ability to preserve.  Fermentation, he would say, is a picture of sin’s corruption, and preservation is a picture of our redemption in Christ.

It’s interesting to note that scripture speaks of leaven in both a positive and negative way.  In Matthew 13:33, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to leaven.  However, just a few chapters later in Matthew 16:11, Jesus warned his disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  It is not rare for us to see the same thing used to illustrate something both positive and negative in scripture.  For example, we read in the Bible of both Christ and the devil being described as a lion.

Sing or pray Psalter #249.

 

May 15– Read Leviticus 3

Throughout these first few chapters of Leviticus, we read of the sacrifice having a hand laid on his head before he was killed.  We see this action of laying a hand on someone or something’s head throughout scripture.  In this case the action was a picture of one’s sins being laid upon the animal.  Another place that this action is seen is when witnesses were called upon to condemn a blasphemer.  The witnesses had to place their hands on the guilty party’s head, showing that the guilt was his own.  This brings out the truth that we are guilty of a sin if we witness it and don’t speak out against it.  In a different way, this action is also used in Numbers 27:22–23, when Moses lays his hand on Joshua’s head.  Instead of guilt in this instance, this signifies God calling Joshua to be Israel’s new leader.  In a similar way, the laying on of hands is used in the ordination of ministers (1 Timothy 4:14).

Sing or pray Psalter #3.

 

May 16– Read Leviticus 4

We recently finished reading Hebrews in family devotions.  As we read Hebrews 13, we were struck by how it talked about Jesus suffering outside the camp and how we must go to him there.  I thought I remembered learning that parts of the sacrifice were burned outside the camp of Israel, but, upon looking, we couldn’t find anything about it.  Then I read this chapter in preparation for this devotional.  Verse 12 talks about how a large portion of the animals used for the sin offering were burned outside the camp.  This offering was done when someone had sinned out of ignorance.  They had done something wrong without realizing the error of their ways at the time.  The fact that the animal was burned outside the camp showed that the sin had been placed on the sacrifice and the punishment for that sin was being cut off from the congregation.  Christ was the perfect fulfillment of this, which is what is being brought out in Hebrews 13:11–12.

Sing or pray Psalter #396.

 

May 17– Read Leviticus 5

This section talks about the trespass offering, which seems very similar to the sin offering talked about in the previous chapter.  According to my study Bible this is correct, because the trespass offering is really a special kind of sin offering that was made when the property rights of another person were invaded or disregarded.  There were different requirements for the sin offering and the trespass offering.  Sin offerings differed depending on the severity of the sin committed.  In contrast, trespass offerings were all the same.  They all required the offering of a ram and full repayment of the affected property, including 1/5 of the property’s value.

These two offerings are contrasted a little differently at Bibletools.org.  They summarize the difference by saying, “The sin offering of Leviticus 4 covers our evil nature, the heart’s sin. The trespass offering of Leviticus 5 atones for the fruits of that evil nature, the acts that are actually performed.”  If I understand correctly, this could be summarized further to say that the sin offering covered the Israelites’ original sin, and the trespass offering covered their actual sins.

Sing or pray Psalter #140.

 

May 18– Read Leviticus 6

There are so many specific details included regarding these Old Testament laws, and one might be left wondering why God said these things needed to be included in his infallible word.  The answer to this question is that these details force us to really dig into the scriptures to understand their meaning.  Digging provides a good analogy here, because it is very labor intensive work.  I remember having to dig a 6’ deep window well hole.  Let’s just say I’d rather be teaching.  We must dig with great zeal in order to find the treasure buried in God’s word.  Nobody who buries treasure would put it right on the surface.  You have to dig deep for that treasure.  Christ encouraged us in this work in Matthew 7:7, where he says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”  When we diligently dig into God’s word we will always find more hidden treasures.

Sing or pray Psalter #333.

 

May 19– Read Leviticus 7

Leviticus 7:6 says, “Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy.”  According to Matthew Henry, this means that the functioning priest for the sacrifice could invite as many of his fellow priests as he so desired to eat with him.  This would have helped maintain fellowship among the priests and taught those who had been given freely to give freely themselves.  Reading this reminded me of the way the early New Testament church lived, as we read about towards the end of Acts 2 and 4.  Acts 4:34–35 says, “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”  Isn’t it amazing that they were able to make this work, even for a while?  Can you imagine the strife this would cause in the church if we tried to implement this today?  These verses don’t command us to make all our possessions communal, but they do remind us of the principle that we must live in the consciousness of the fact that everything belongs to God.

Sing or pray Psalter #238.

 

May 20– Read Leviticus 8

This chapter gives an overview of the priestly garments, the symbolism of which is written about at Bible-history.com.  The priestly robes were very rich and beautiful, because the high priest was a picture of Christ.  The ephod was made with different colored linen and split into two parts, one for the front of the priest and one for the back.  These pieces were attached at the shoulder with an onyx stone set in gold.  Each onyx stone had engraved on it the names of six tribes, showing that the high priest represented the nation of Israel before God.  This also points to Christ, who carried the burden of our sins upon him.  The breastplate was a pouch with twelve stones attached to it, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, who are all one in Christ.  The position of the pouch over Aaron’s breast showed God’s affection for his people.  It was in this pouch that the Urim and Thummim were placed.  These were used to determine God’s will, but not much more is known about them.  It’s often speculated that they were a white and black stone, but the material and number of items is not known for certain.

Sing or pray Psalter #302.

 

May 21– Read Leviticus 9

Fire is described in different ways throughout scripture.  In this chapter fire comes out of heaven to consume Aaron’s sacrifice, showing God’s acceptance of it.  This reminded me of 1 Kings 18, where Elijah challenges the Baal prophets to get their god to send fire from heaven on their sacrifice.  After they try all morning, even desperately cutting themselves, God sends his own fire on Elijah’s sacrifice, consuming it and all the water that had been poured on and around it.  Throughout the Bible, we see that God uses fire to show his power, both to save his people and to judge the wicked.  John 3:16 says that we are baptized with fire, and Psalm 104:4 describes ministers of the word as a “flaming fire.”  At Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2, “cloven tongues like as of fire” appeared on the heads of the apostles.  Fire is used to cleanse, as shown in Malachi 3:2, where Christ is described as “like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap.”  We read of the destructive nature of fire in stories like the consuming of Sodom and Gomorrah and Nadab and Abihu.  Hell itself is described as the “lake of fire” (Rev. 20:10).

Sing or pray Psalter #139.

 

May 22– Read Leviticus 10

The sin of Nadab and Abihu must have had an extremely sobering effect on this joyous event.  Aaron had just offered his first sacrifice to the Lord in the presence of the people.  Special fire had come down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, a sign of God’s acceptance.  Suddenly, a very different fire comes from God.  Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, broke the laws that God had set in place while they helped their father with the sacrifices.  They knew that God had commanded them to light the altar of incense with coals from the altar of burnt offering, but they thought any old fire would be good enough.  They took their own fire to light the incense and did it at the wrong time of day.  In response, God sent fire from heaven that burned them to death.  Can you imagine how quickly the scene must have changed?  One minute the people are all rejoicing as God shows his acceptance of their sacrifice, and the next the charred bodies of Aaron’s sons are being carried out.  God gave his people a very solemn reminder of the swift and just punishment that comes upon sin.

Sing or pray Psalter #138.

 

May 23– Read Leviticus 11

I was struck as I read the laws about clean and unclean animals by the connection between God’s commands and general rules for good health.  A Google search revealed that others had thought about this quite extensively.  In fact, I found an article published in the Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation entitled, “The Levitical Dietary Laws in the Light of Modern Science.”  Here, different theories on why some animals were clean and others unclean were examined.  One theory says that God was simply testing Israel’s obedience with these laws, and the specific animals placed in each category is irrelevant.  God doesn’t owe us an explanation, he simply commands us to obey him unquestioningly.  Another theory suggests that God used these laws to help keep the Israelites thinking about him in their everyday life and remembering his authority over them.  Another theory focuses solely on the hygiene aspect, that these laws kept Israel safer from disease.  Yet another says that each clean animal was chosen because of the spiritual virtue it represented.  Reading all these theories made me think about how God shows us from a book like Leviticus how much we have to learn from his word.

Sing or pray Psalter #38.

 

May 24– Read Leviticus 12

Leviticus 12:6 says of a mother who has just given birth, “And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest.”  This law is referenced in Luke 2:22–24, when Mary brought two turtledoves to the temple after she had given birth to Jesus.  This makes two things clear to us.  First of all, this proves that Mary was not perfect, as the Roman Catholics claim, because she needed to be atoned for by the sacrifice like everyone else.  Second, this shows that Jesus was born into a very poor family, for a pair of turtledoves was used for the burnt and sin offerings only when the family couldn’t afford a lamb.  2 Corinthians 8:9 says of Christ, “that, though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”  The physical poverty he endured was a picture of the spiritual poverty he took upon himself for our sakes.

Sing or pray Psalter #241.

 

May 25– Read Leviticus 13

Leviticus 13 and 14 are all about leprosy and its treatment.  This disease is talked about a lot in the Bible, but I still didn’t know much about it, so I went to medicinenet.com and did some research.  Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by a specific type of bacteria.  It is often called Hansen’s Disease today, after the man who discovered this.  Interestingly, it is only mildly contagious, and is believed to spread by frequent contact with the bodily fluids of an infected individual.  However, it can often be years after the contact that the person actually starts showing signs of the disease.  The disease is slow moving, and can break down a victim’s skin and nervous system over decades.  Leprosy is also rarely transmitted to humans through chimpanzees, mangabey monkeys, and nine-banded armadillos.  Over time leprosy can result in the loss of fingers and toes, as well as horrible facial disfiguration.  Thankfully, the bacteria can now be killed with the use of antibiotics.  Still, it remains a problem, as about half a million new cases are reported each year, with a couple hundred of those being in the United States.

Sing or pray Psalter #327.

 

May 26– Read Leviticus 14

As I was looking into the frequency of leprosy mentioned in the Bible, I ran into an article on answersingenesis.org entitled, “Biblical Leprosy: Shedding Light on the Disease that Shuns,” which I found pretty interesting.  Disease is a reminder to us of the result of sin on this earth.  Sin brought with it death, and few diseases shove that reality into our face more than the disfiguration and decomposition of leprosy.  According to this source, the term is mentioned 68 times in the Bible— 55 times in the Old Testament and 13 times in the New Testament.  The author believes that when leprosy is mentioned in the Old Testament it probably refers to the disease itself, as well as mold and mildew found on clothing and walls.  In the New Testament, however, we see leprosy mentioned more in healing terms.  This pictured how Christ had come to save his people from the spiritual leprosy of sin and death.  Jesus came to save those who knew they were sick.  The author goes on to say, “Like leprosy, sin starts out small but can then spread, leading to other sins and causing great damage to our relationship with God and others.”

Sing or pray Psalter #385.

 

May 27– Read Leviticus 15

This chapter really stresses to us the need to be clean.  If it’s so important that we remain clean, then what things should we steer clear of that make us unclean?  This is addressed by Jesus in Matthew 15:11, where he says, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”  He then goes on to explain everything that goes in goes out, but it is the horrible things that come out of our mind and mouth that remain and corrupt us.  The Pharisees were concerned with keeping their bodies very clean and looking good on the outside, but Jesus called them “whited sepulchers” in Matthew 23:27.  The outside looked beautiful, but the inside was full of decomposing bodies.  Jesus stressed the importance of not fellowshipping with those who were unclean, because we could easily be sucked into the same sin ourselves.  In 2 Corinthians 6:17 God says to his people, “Be ye separate… and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”  One way that we stay clean is by not mingling with those who are dirty.

Sing or pray Psalter #384.

 

May 28– Read Leviticus 16

According to Merriam-Webster, a scapegoat is “one who bears the blame for others.”  This term that the world has adopted to mean anyone who receives blame for something done by others originates in this chapter.  We’ve been reading about a lot of sacrifices, and we know that these were a picture of Christ, our perfect sacrifice.  The shedding of the animal’s blood pictured Christ’s blood being shed on the cross.  The scapegoat was a picture of Christ too, but from a slightly different perspective.  This goat would be brought to Aaron, who would lay his hands on its head and confess the sins of the people.  Then the goat, which now bore the people’s sins, was led out into the wilderness to die a slow, agonizing death.  This goat pictured Christ in that the people’s sins were placed upon him, just as with the other sacrifices.  The obvious difference, however, was that this goat was left to die in the wilderness, while the others were killed immediately.  This pictured the hellish agonies that Jesus bore all of his life leading up to the cross.

Sing or pray Psalter #110.

 

May 29– Read Leviticus 17

Verse 11 of this chapter reads, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”  In this verse, God is explaining to Israel why they were forbidden to eat raw meat.  I thought that Keil and Henry both bring out some good points on this verse.  Keil explains that the blood had to be spread on the altar to make atonement for the people, because the soul of the animal was in the blood.  This was important because it was the soul of the animal that was offered as a substitute for the human soul.  Matthew Henry builds on this to say that, since the blood was the vehicle for the soul, which had to be offered for atonement to take place, then the sins of the people could not be atoned for if they ate the blood. He goes on to explain that this blood is no longer needed for us, since the blood of Christ himself has now been shed for us on the cross.

Sing or pray Psalter #136.

 

May 30– Read Leviticus 18

Leviticus 18:25 reads, “And the land is defiled: therefore do I visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.”  God here is warning the Israelites and telling them what will happen if they transgress his law and live like the wicked nations around them.  If they wanted to live like the world, they would receive the same punishment the world received.  This reminded me of a Bible story we studied recently in Joshua 10.  Israel was fighting the Amorites, and God used the forces of nature to help defeat them.  First, God sent massive hail down on the Amorites.  By a wonder, the hail rained down on Israel’s enemies, but not on the Israelites themselves.  Can you imagine what that looked like?  This wasn’t a normal hailstorm either, for Joshua 10:11b says that “they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.”  Second, God stopped the sun and moon for a while.  This made the day longer, giving Israel enough time to pursue and slay the fleeing enemies.

Sing or pray Psalter #224.

 

May 31– Read Leviticus 19

One of the laws in this chapter really stood out to me, and I would be interested to learn more about it.  This law is stated in verse 20, which says, “And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to a husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.”  If one committed adultery with a free woman, then they were both to be put to death.  In contrast, if the woman was a slave who was not engaged, then there was no punishment at all.  I was pretty confused when I learned this.  God’s law teaches us that adultery is always a sin, so why would the punishment be less or nonexistent if the woman was a slave or not?  Keil has no answer to this question, and Matthew Henry just says that “it was for the honor of freedom.”  Building off this phrase, my guess is that this law was made to show our need for deliverance from spiritual slavery to sin, while also bringing out the importance of the marriage relationship.

Sing or pray Psalter #234.

 

April 1– Read Leviticus 20

Our pastor recently preached a sermon entitled “Hated Without a Cause.”  The text for this sermon was Psalm 69, where David is clearly seen as a type of Christ, the one whom the wicked truly did not have a cause to hate.  As God’s people, we also experience the hatred of the world, which reminded me of something I had heard in a different sermon.  In this case, the minister was talking about how the wicked often try to make themselves look very pious on the outside, whereas we sometimes tend to do the opposite.  We know the hatred that will rain down upon us when we live according to God’s commandments and speak out against what’s wrong, so we try to lie low and blend in with the world.  This chapter in Leviticus, and others surrounding it, speaks out against trying to be like the world.  This is made clear in verse 26, which says, “And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.”

Sing or pray Psalter #221.

 

April 2– Read Leviticus 21

This chapter talks about the restrictions placed upon priests and high priests.  First, they had restrictions regarding mourning the death of loved ones.  In this context, verse 5 says, “They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.”  These were methods of mourning performed by other nations at the time, and God commanded his people not to take part in them, as further explained in the beginning of Deuteronomy 14.  Leviticus 21 refers to the priests being commanded not to do these things, but Leviticus 19:27, 28 extends this command to all the people.

The priests also had marriage restrictions.  They could marry a virgin or a widow who showed herself godly, even if she was not a native Israelite.  The stress was on her character, which God also stresses regarding the wives of deacons in 1 Timothy 3:11.  The high priest had more strict rules regarding mourning, and we see the same here with marriage.  In contrast to other priests, the high priests had to marry native Israelites and she had to be a virgin, not a widow.

Sing or pray Psalter #397.

 

April 3– Read Leviticus 22

We’ve been studying the Book of Judges lately in Bible class, and it’s striking how those events stand in stark contrast to all the detailed laws chronicled in Leviticus.  God gives us shocking stories, like the one in Judges 19, to show us just how far Israel had fallen.  In this story, a disobedient Levite has a concubine who acts like a prostitute and runs away.  He eventually goes to get her from her father’s house, and they start returning after a few days of partying.  They end up spending the night at Gibeah, where a group of homosexual men seek to abuse the Levite.  Instead, the Levite and his host throw the concubine out to the men, and they abuse her all night.  When the Levite finds her dead on the doorstep in the morning, he carries her body home, cuts her into twelve pieces, and sends a piece to each of the twelve tribes.  Notice the parallels between this story and the one of Lot with the two angels who stayed with him in Sodom.  Israel deserved destruction with fire and brimstone, and this fall happened just one generation after the death of Joshua.

Sing or pray Psalter #156.

 

April 4– Read Leviticus 23

When we studied this section in Bible class this year, I thought that Gertrude Hoeksema did a great job of explaining a connection between the Passover and the Feast of Firstfruits.  The Passover signified Christ’s death for us on the cross.  Near the end of that feast, the Israelites were commanded to wave grain before the Lord, showing they confessed that their daily bread came from the hand of Jehovah.  Paul calls these firstfruits Jesus’ resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:20, where it says, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.”  The Feast of Firstfruits then took place fifty days after the Passover, just as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was fifty days after the crucifixion.  As Hoeksema puts it, “At Pentecost, we celebrate the full harvest of salvation.”  We believe that Christ died for us and rose again because of the Holy Spirit giving us spiritual understanding.

Sing or pray Psalter #169.

 

April 5– Read Leviticus 24

I remember sitting in the pew and hearing the minister announce the erasure of baptized members whom the consistory had been trying to work with for years.  The congregation was urged not to fellowship with those who were walking in sin, for they were cut off from the body of Christ.  Since I did not remember hearing an announcement like this before, a part of me was shocked at its severity.  However, this chapter in Leviticus illustrates the fact that this announcement was indeed biblical.  Here a son of the mixed multitude, Israelites who had married someone from a heathen tribe, blasphemed the name of Jehovah and cursed God’s people.  The punishment that came upon this individual was extremely severe and final.  Witnesses placed their hands on his head, and he was stoned to death.  Can you imagine being able to carry out that punishment?  It was severe, yes, but that was a picture of what happens to all those who reject the truth.  Nowadays we don’t stone an unrepentant sinner, but that judgment was a picture of the death that comes upon all those who are erased from God’s church.

Sing or pray Psalter #63.

 

April 6– Read Leviticus 25

Just like the Israelites celebrated the Sabbath every seven days, they had a Sabbath year every seven years.  During these years God instructed Israel not to plant any crops, for God would provide plenty from the previous year for them to live from. In fact, the Israelites weren’t even allowed to use whatever grew naturally that year.  Instead, whatever the ground still produced was left for the poor and the livestock.  After seven of these followed the Year of Jubilee.  It was during this year that the law was read for all the people and debts were forgiven.  Matthew Henry gives eight reasons why God instituted the sabbatical years and the Year of Jubilee.  One reason is that these institutions reminded the Israelites that God was their landlord and everything they had belonged to him.  Another reason was that these extended earthly rests gave the Israelites more time to dwell on spiritual things.  In addition, these laws forced Israel to rely more on God and think more of others.  Of course, this year of rest was also a picture of the spiritual rest we enter through our Savior Jesus Christ.

Sing or pray Psalter #271.

 

April 7– Read Leviticus 26

God spends much of this chapter telling Israel what will happen to them if they do not obey his commandments.  Verse 29 says, “And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.”  We actually read of this happening in 2 Kings 6.  Syria had laid siege to the city of Samaria, and the people were literally starving to death.  Two women made an agreement that they would eat the first woman’s son one day and eat the other woman’s son the next day.  They carried out the ghastly deed with the first son, but the next day the other woman refused to give up her son, so the mother of the eaten son actually went and complained about it to the king.  Anyone in the church or world today would be in complete horror upon hearing this story, yet it is a picture of the vile wickedness running rampant in our day.  The world speaks a lot about love and equal rights for everyone, yet they have no problem murdering babies and letting their children watch cannibalism and murder on the big screen.

Sing or pray Psalter #21.