Leviticus 26 & 27
Welcome to a new month of the “Bible in a Year” devotionals. I hope you’ll join us every day as we read through the Bible. Don’t worry if you’re here for the first time or only read occasionally. Anytime we open God’s Word we will find practical help and refreshment for our souls.
On to the Word …
Religion or Christianity?
As we continue reading through the Gospels, we repeatedly find the Scribes and Pharisees looking for reasons to accuse Jesus. In today’s reading they accuse Him of failing to teach His disciples to obey the traditions of the elders.
Instead of responding, Jesus accused them of failing to keep God’s law while they condemned others for not keeping their human laws. They had turned from the worship of the true and living God to religion!
Religion or Christianity: What’s the Difference?
What is the difference between true worship (biblical Christianity) and religion?
Religion is about what we can do. It’s believing that if we keep a certain set of rules, principles or traditions, we will gain God’s favor and acceptance.
It’s keeping an external set of rules and standards rather than humbly allowing God to search our hearts and help us to fulfill the law of God, which Jesus summed up as love God and love others (Matt. 22.36-40).
Religious people worry about making the right impression on others. It leads to pride and self-righteousness.
It’s understanding we can’t keep enough rules to earn our way to heaven. There is no divine scale where our good deeds can be weighed against our bad.
When we fully understand that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, we realize there is nothing about which to boast. The more we contemplate His grace and understand the mercy we have been shown, the more we will love Him and desire to please Him. And while we can never love God or others as we should in our own strength, when we accept the Gospel, He helps us walk in grace powered obedience.
As you spend time in His Word and in prayer this week, ask Him to help you worship Him and not tradition and to fully understand His grace.
Today’s Other Readings:
God’s Response to Repentance
God lays out the blessings of obedience and the consequences of disobedience in chapter 26. The blessings of the Mosaic Covenant were conditional on their obedience, but even under that covenant God was looking for repentance, genuine heart change. Verses 40-42:
“But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt—then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.”
Today we have great assurances from God’s Word. One is the assurance that if we “confess our sin, He is faithful and just for forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1.9). To confess is to agree with God about something, in this case to agree that our thinking or behavior is sinful and to be willing to repent and turn away from it.
When we do, we can seek His help in prayer and find “grace to help in our time of need” (Heb. 4.16). So though we may grow and change imperfectly, even haltingly at times, we can move forward in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Give Him the Glory Due His Name
Verse 2, “Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”
God is God even over the forces of nature as the rest of this passage illustrates:
“The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars, yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox” (vv. 5-6).
What would cause Lebanon and Sirion to skip like a calf? An earthquake maybe? Think about the up and down motions as the earth’s plates shift and move. What would cause mighty cedars to splinter? A hurricane or tsunami? God is God over all of His creation! And thus deserves “the glory due to His name” and all our worship.
The Blessing of the Lord
Verses 22-24 “The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it…” On the other hand, “The fear of the wicked will come upon him …” Perhaps one of the greatest fears wicked men have is the fear of losing what they have attained.
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.