Watching Daily At My Gates

December 9 Read Leviticus 15

As we continue through the ceremonial laws that God commanded Israel to keep, we come to a set of laws that concern the normal bodily functions of a man. In these functions Israel was pointed to their need for cleansing from sin. Christ fulfilled this need for us on the cross. But yet we must see how sin stains our daily lives. Even though Christ has paid for our sins, we must strive to live lives of sanctification in thanksgiving for that ultimate sacrifice. We must live lives that show the antithesis in all of our daily activities. Let us pray for the grace to do just that. Sing Psalter 140.

December 10 Read Leviticus 16

There is probably no other ceremony that pointed more to the death of Christ, than the rite of the day of the atonement. As you read through the chapter, did you notice all the details that were to be followed on this special solemn day? Our worship, too, must point to the work of Christ for our salvation. We do not focus on his death and sacrifice, but rather we focus on the result of that sacrifice, our salvation. We have a solemn duty to worship each Lord’s Day. We also have the solemn command of Christ to worship in spirit and in truth. Is this our desire? Is it your desire, young people? Sing Psalter 109.

December 11 Read Leviticus 17

Not only did Israel have to show in their worship that their God was Jehovah, they had to do that in their daily lives as well. This is the first of several chapters that points this out. Here they were given ordinances that governed their eating of meat. They had to offer of it to the Lord, and they were not to eat of its blood. In this way they showed that they were different than the heathens who lived around them. What about us? While we have no ordinances that govern us as Israel did, we must still show that we live the life of the antithesis in our daily lives. May we ever seek God alone as we live day by day. Sing Psalter 311.

December 12 Read Leviticus 18

We might blush as we read these ordinances aloud. But then we should read them again. Notice first of all how practical they are. If we would use these verses to guide our relationships with other, we would find it easy to live in the way of Jehovah. Sins that are common today are condemned in these verses. All kinds of abuse must be avoided. We are taught how we must bring up our children in Jehovah’s ways. Finally the sin of homosexuality is condemned as it stands. This is the way we must believe, people of God. This is the way we must live. Sing Psalter 278.

December 13 Read Leviticus 19

Here we have a whole collection of laws concerning our love for our neighbors. Do we need laws for us to love our parents, feed the hungry, or seek the neighbors’ good? Should not we do this out of thankfulness for our salvation? As we live our lives on this earth looking for our eternal life in heaven, we can begin, in our care for those around us, to practice a small bit of that heavenly life. When it is in our power to do good for someone, we must do it. It is not a choice but a requirement of living a life of sanctification. Why must we do this? Because, as the chapter says, Jehovah is the Lord! Sing Psalter 24.

December 14 Read Leviticus 20

The practices of the heathen or the unbelievers are vile. This we see as we read through this chapter which repeats some of the laws that were given in the previous chapters. But notice that the punishment for walking in those wicked ways is repeated over and over again. That punishment is death. It was physical death for Israel of old; it is spiritual death for all those who walk in that way at any time. The chapter then ends with the promise for Israel of a peaceful life in the promised land: Canaan. That promise is for us as well. We have the promise of a peaceful life in the new Canaan: heaven. Let us live the antithetical life now as we look ahead for the glorious day of our entrance in the Promised Land. Sing Psalter 308.

December 15 Read Leviticus 21

Every day that Israel went to the tabernacle and later the temple to worship Jehovah, they were reminded that they must be holy even as God is holy. They were reminded of this as they saw the priests and knew of the lives of those priests. Those priests had to live a life that was more holy than even the people did. Yes, those priests were sinners. They, too, had to offer the sacrifice of the sin offerings before they began their work each day. But yet, those priests and their lives reminded Israel of the necessity of living a holy life. We, too, must be holy. Our officebearers, while they are not bound by the Old Testament ceremonial laws, must live an exemplary holy life, and we must follow them. In this way God will be glorified as he commands. Sing Psalter 223.

December 16 Read Leviticus 22

Sometimes we wonder why we must go to church each week, or why the Church Order must be kept. The answer for us is as the answer for Israel of old. God must be glorified in the manner of our worship. To glorify him in the best way possible is to obey the ordinances that he has ordained for us in his Holy Word. Israel was bound by the ceremonial laws that God gave on Mt. Sinai. We are bound by the regulative principle of worship as it is found in the Bible. By living in that principle we find the freedom to worship God in the way that he has commanded. In this way we find peace on this earth and eventually in heaven. Sing Psalter 137.

December 17 Read Leviticus 23

Throughout the year Israel was reminded of God’s goodness as he kept the various feasts ordained by Jehovah. Each of those feasts showed to him some aspect of God’s grace to him. They had to keep those outward feasts every year until the deliverer, Christ, the Son of God, came to earth and offered himself for his people. Christ fulfilled each one of those feasts so that we do not have to keep them. In fact, we may not keep them. We may and must learn from them, but we must not keep them as they have been fulfilled in Christ. Let us be thankful for the grace given to us as it was given to Israel of old. Sing Psalter 251.

December 18 Read Leviticus 24

In the middle of this account of the way Israel must worship God, a man is found who has blasphemed the name of the most holy God. Israel was commanded that this man who had profaned God’s name, be stoned. Do we learn from this that our God is a jealous God and that his name must be treated with utmost respect? Do we respect that name in our worship? Do we respect it in our daily lives? Do we rebuke those around us who cause us to hear Jehovah’s name blasphemed? We must or we must risk the ultimate penalty as signified in what was done to the cursing mongrel of this chapter. Sing Psalter 352.

December 19 Read Leviticus 25

God gave to Israel laws that were looking ahead to its possessing the land of Canaan. Those laws also were rich in symbolism. First of all there was the law concerning the rest of the land every seven years. God wanted Israel to see the necessity of keeping the Sabbath Day. They had to see this every day on the seventh year as they were prohibited from going out and tilling their land. God cared for his people physically during that seventh year, but he was also providing and caring for them spiritually. One of the reasons given for the captivity was that they had not given the land her Sabbaths. This was not man’s reason but God’s. The other ordinances given in this chapter like this one were that so Israel might know that God was God. Is this our confession? Sing Psalter 256

December 20 Read Leviticus 26

In this chapter God reminds Israel of many of the laws which were given to them previously. He does this in order that they remember those beautiful covenant promises that he made with their fathers: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He also warns them what will happen when they fall into sin. We, too, need such reminders. That is why we read the law from week to week. That law is also our schoolmaster that leads us to Christ. In keeping that law we show our thankfulness for the salvation given to us by God. Let us not weary in the reading of the law; let us welcome it and desire it each week of the year. In this way we will remember that God loves us and will keep us until the end. Sing Psalter 241.

December 21 Read Leviticus 27

God had given to Israel many riches when they left Egypt. He promised to give to them earthly possession when they reached Canaan. He has also given to us much as well. Do we see the need to give to him of what he has given to us? Do we see the need to give to him tithes from those earthly possessions as a way of showing our thanksgiving? Israel needed many rules to guide them. We, who have a fuller understanding of his goodness, do not need the rules, but the idea is the same. We must vow and pay to Jehovah for his goodness. We would have nothing either earthly or spiritually without his fatherly hand. Do we remember that daily? Sing Psalter Sing Psalter 313.

December 22 Read Numbers 1

Israel continued to encamp around Mt. Sinai waiting for God, through the use of the Shechinah cloud, to order them to move. Moses was commanded to make an accounting of the number of the Israelites by tribes excepting Levi, which was devoted to the service of the Lord. We may notice that this numbering shows to us that God has a specific number of people in his church. At any time during the history of this world, you can add those members in glory (church triumphant), those members fighting the fight of faith (church militant), and those yet to be born (church latent) and come up with the same number. Those who are elect are a specific number. This is a comfort as our place in God’s number will never be taken from us. Sing Psalter 50.

December 23 Read Numbers 2

We continue on with the numbering and ordering of Israel. Our God is a God of order and requires that his church be orderly as well. He gave to Israel specific commandments, and he gives to us specific commandments how to keep order in his church. Israel did not just need this for their journey across the wilderness; they also needed it to reflect the glory of their God. We, too, must, as Paul states, do all in the church in “decency and in order.” Sing Psalter 348.

December 24 Read Numbers 3

After the others were given their place in Israel’s society, then God turned his attention to Levi. They were separated for a special work; that of serving God in the tabernacle and later in the temple. Those who were directly in the line of Aaron would be the priests until the “high priest” came to this earth. The others were given work to do for the service of Jehovah in his worship. God has given to his church today work to do. We all have the office of believer to fulfill in the church. To some he has given the work of the special offices of minister, elder, and deacon. Let us carry out our work using all of our abilities in the service of the most holy God. Sing Psalter 144.

December 25 Read Numbers 4

We might read this chapter and believe that the work of the Lord is not for the very young confessing member or for the old. There is some truth to that as a man must reach a measure of spiritual maturity before he takes up labors in the church. There also comes a point in a man’s life that God tells him that his work in the church is over. As we live in the church of the New Dispensation, there are no hard and fast ages. Some less than twenty may be able to serve and may be needed to serve. Many over fifty are valuable members in the service of God in the church. Let us serve as God has called us, and let us never shirk the duties that he may place before us. Sing Psalter 320.

December 26 Read Numbers 5

There are basically two situations discussed in this chapter but basically they deal with the same idea. Israel’s life must be conducted to show that God is holy. First of all there was a reiteration of some of the laws that in keeping them Israel would show this fact. Secondly, there are ordinances which show that marriage must be holy and all life in marriage must be a holy life. When we do not walk in holiness in marriage, God’s name is desecrated. Israel had to bring certain offerings for such sins. We must walk a walk of forgiveness so that our walk not blaspheme God’s name. Sing Psalter 360.

December 27 Read Numbers 6

As we have seen in the past few chapters the priesthood was a constant reminder to God’s people that they were to live holy lives. We see that again in this chapter. There were those men whose lives were set aside before God to portray holiness to the church. Men like Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist are some of those that are named in the Bible. These men in their daily lives showed all of God’s people the idea of the antithesis and living the antithetical walk. This is the life and walk that we must live. We must be separate from the world around us in walk. We do not separate ourselves from the world, just worldly life. When we live in that manner we can be assured that the beautiful blessing mentioned in the end of the chapter will be given to us. Sing Psalter 1.

December 28 Read Numbers 7

If we scan this chapter too quickly, we would miss that significant verse at the end of it. After Moses set up the whole tabernacle, and it must have been beautiful; and after the various tribes brought offerings to be used in God’s service, a voice spoke to him from the mercy seat. We do not know if this is the same voice speaking as in the next chapter, but it is clearly speaking of acceptance for the offerings. The work was done. It was time to put the tabernacle and its furniture into the service of God. We, like Israel, are spoken to by God. We hear him in his Word and in the preaching. Do we listen? We must listen to him daily and especially on the Lord’s Day. In that way we will receive the blessing of Jehovah. Sing Psalter 260.

December 29 Read Numbers 8

God’s Word is a light upon our path and a light unto our feet. Jesus is the light of the world. The Old Testament church could not see that as clearly as we can. Therefore, they needed the knowledge of the candlestick burning in the tabernacle to remind them of that fact. They needed the consecrated priest to offer for them their sacrifices of thanksgiving to God. We can and must learn from these facts and ceremonies. But by faith we must walk in the light of the Word and in Christ. May God give to us the strength to do this every day. Sing Psalter 71.

December 30 Read Numbers 9

God cares for his people. Of that there is no doubt. We have evidence of that fact in this chapter. First of all those who were prevented from celebrating Passover due to an uncleanness were given permission to celebrate at a different time. Secondly, the Shechinah cloud led them through the wilderness in a very visible way. We have few ceremonies and no clouds, but God still leads us by his Word and Spirit. May we give heed to them in our walk in this life. Sing Psalter 53.

December 31 Read Numbers 10

Can you imagine the excitement in the camp that morning in which the cloud moved from over the tabernacle to the place that showed them where they were going? Can you imagine the hustle and bustle as they took care of the final details before this huge company of people moved? Even though Moses used the means of trumpets and the able scouting abilities of his wife’s relatives, it was God who led them as is evident by the words of Moses as they broke camp and as they set it up once more. God leads us today by his shepherd hand; for this we must pay heed to God and give thanks as we walk through the wilderness of this world. Sing Psalter 222.

January 1 Read Numbers 11

Israel complained, and God chastised them. That could be the headline for chapter 11. They had not gone very far from Sinai, and were only just over a year removed from Egypt when they complained about not having the best of food. Remember, this was the people whom God fed every morning with manna. Manna supplied all of their nutritional needs for the long arduous journey. But they were not satisfied. Even when God gave them quail, they forgot him. It appears that they did not take time to ask his blessing upon their food. And so, he punished them with death for the second time at this place. Did they learn? Do we learn not to complain with the way God leads us in this life? He is our faithful heavenly Father. Let us put our trust in him. Sing Psalter 213.

January 2 Read Numbers 12

Here we have an account of more complaining. This time it is from his own family that Moses, the meekest man to live, has to endure reproach. Miriam was not satisfied with the place God had given to her. So she puts Aaron up to the sin of going against Moses. God showed once more that he was angry at their sin. Miriam was struck with leprosy, the disease that was the living death. Moses once again becomes mediator and pleads to God for her health. God hears his prayer, and Miriam is healed. We would hope that Miriam, Aaron, and Israel would learn the lesson of not envying the position of those whom God has placed in authority. Do we know that lesson? Do we hold in high esteem our officebearers as the ministers of God? Let us give God thanks for such men who serve as watchmen on the walls of Zion and lead us to that heavenly Canaan. Sing Psalter 213.

January 3 Read Numbers 13

From yesterday’s camping spot we are suddenly brought to the door of Canaan. Once again we see that Israel, as a nation, has learned nothing. Even when Caleb and Joshua bring a report of faith, they despair of God’s mercy and complain. Even when they see the beautiful produce the land of promise would bring forth, they find something to complain about. Look at the mercies God has given to us. Do we see the mercies of Christ or do we see only hardships in this life? Let us be careful in condemning Israel. Let us pull the beam out of our eyes before we try to pull the mote out of theirs. Sing Psalter 290.

January 4 Read Numbers 14

Once again we read a chapter that reminds us of our actions. Like Israel, we rebel at God’s word. We sometimes ignore the good counsel of those whom he has placed in authority over us. Then we say we are obeying, but we must learn the lesson that “slow obedience is no obedience.” As we look at this chapter we see Christ. Moses as the type of Christ interceded for a people who did not deserve intercession. We are like that quite often. We ignore God’s good way and go our own way. When we do that, we deserve to be punished. Through the gracious work of Christ on the cross we are able to cross Jordan into the heavenly Canaan. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift! Sing Psalter 291.

January 5 Read Numbers 15

After being condemned to spend the next forty years in wandering in the wilderness, God showed to them that he would keep his promise to bring Israel into Canaan. He did this by reiterating some of the laws that he had given before. He also showed how these laws would be carried out when they entered the promised land. In this chapter we get one of those hints that Gentiles would be brought into the covenant. The stranger that would abide with them would also be commanded to keep these laws. Israel was also given a visible reminder of those laws in the fringe spoken of in the last part of the chapter. The chapter ends with the declaration that Jehovah was their God that brought them out of Egypt. This God is our God and he will be our guide even unto death! Sing Psalter 25.

January 6 Read Numbers 16

It did not take long after its condemnation to the forty years of wandering for another rebellion to break out in Israel. This time it came from the Levites and other rulers. They wanted to show that they should have as much power as Moses and Aaron. They were really striking at God for what he had done. This rebellion was put down in a very telling fashion. Some were destroyed by being swallowed up in the earth, some by fire, and when the rebellion persisted, some by a quick-acting plague. Close to fifteen thousand people died in a very short time, and had it not been for the intercession of Moses and Aaron many more would have perished. Israel had to learn that God was God, and that was the message of the new cover that was on the altar after that day. Sing Psalter 214.

January 7 Read Numbers 17

There are times in the life of the church that God must show whom he has appointed as leaders. No, he does not do that in such a picturesque way as he did in the wilderness. But he does it still the same. Those rods, dead sticks as they were, were pictures of us by nature. Only through the grace of God can we bring forth the fruit of repentance. Only by God’s grace does he give to us leaders who help us by the rod of God’s Word through this life which is a valley of the shadow of death. As we read these chapters, let us see that it is really we that were traveling through the wilderness. And it is only by grace that we are redeemed and able to enter heaven. Sing Psalter 216.

January 8 Read Numbers 18

After showing Israel and the house of Aaron in a very graphic way that he had chosen them to be his priests, God reminds Aaron’s house and Israel that Israel was to care for the priesthood through their offerings. This has impact for us today. We must care for those whom God has placed in authority over us. We must care for them in the honor and respect that we give to them, and, in the case of the minister, we care for his earthly needs. Officebearers must see the high calling that is placed before them, and really see that they are standing as God’s ministers for his people. Let us all learn from these chapters how we must honor and respect those men whom God has seen fit to place over us. Sing Psalter 349.