Hebrews 11.6 says without faith it is impossible to please God. But when we’re walking in faith, that confident settled trust in Him, we can have inner peace and joy in the midst of difficulty.
Leviticus 21 & 22
Leviticus 21 & 22:
Standards for leaders
In chapter 21 we see the high standard that was set for the priests. God has always required more from those who would lead and teach His people (1 Tim. 3.1-13, Tit. 1.5-9).
5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
In 21.5 we see commands not to shave their heads or cut their beards or their flesh. These were pagan practices associated with grief. God does not forbid anyone to mourn. In fact, Solomon said, there is a “time to mourn” (Eccl. 3.4) and Paul said we should, “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12.15). In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5.4). But we are not to mourn as those who are without hope (1 Thess. 4.13). We need to remember that those who die in Christ will be with the Lord and we will be reunited with them one day.
21.7-8 pictures a holy marriage. Again the standard was high for the priests. Today our marriages are to be pictures of the relationship between Christ and the church (Eph. 5.22-33). Something we can only do with God’s help in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and as we call on God in prayer and receive “grace to help in time of need.”
Faith in the goodness of God
Verse 13 says, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” David had that confident settled trust that God’s faithfulness and goodness would prevail. Jesus said it this way, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Becoming a Christian does not mean that we don’t encounter problems or have struggles, but we can go though them knowing that God will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13.5), that he will not give us more than we can handle without sinning (1Cor. 10.13), that He is using them for good (Rom. 8.28), that we are not alone, others have gone through and are going through similar trials (1 Cor. 10.13), that we can count it all joy knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance, patience and maturity (Jas. 1.2-4) and as Jesus said, we can be of good cheer knowing that He has overcome them all!
Verse 14 twice tells us to “wait on the Lord.” This was not to be an “I’m waiting … I’m waiting … I’m waiting for You to do something, Lord!” while we drum our fingers on the table! This was to be a patient waiting and trusting in the Lord and His timing.
Rich or poor
Here we see more comparisons. Verse 15 is an interesting one, “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the destruction of the poor is their poverty.”
The rich think their wealth will protect them, while the poor are more apt to recognize that they have nothing on which to rely. But in reality, both can be a snare. Proverbs 30.8-9 says, “… Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.” Both need to turn to the Lord and put their faith and trust in Him and Him alone.
This passage contains two very familiar stories. Jesus encounters two people in great need, Jairus and the woman with an issue of blood. Jairus’ daughter was at the point of death and the woman had a constant internal bleeding which doctors couldn’t stop.
With the woman Jesus asked, “Who touched my garments?” He wasn’t trying to uncover something He didn’t already know. But this was a great teaching opportunity. He told the woman, “Your faith has made you well” (v. 34). This could also be translated, “Your faith has made you whole.” This “wholeness” applied to the spiritual, as well as, the physical.
In verse 36, after Jairus got the report of his daughter’s death, Jesus told him, “… only believe.” Again, faith was required. The verb used here denotes continuous action in the present. Jairus believed enough to come to Jesus in the first place, but he needed to maintain that kind of present tense faith.”
So should we. Yet sometimes even though we’ve trusted God with our souls and our eternity, we stop trusting when it comes to our finances, or our marriages, or our children! Instead, we take matters into our own hands instead of waiting on God and His timing.
Lord, help us to continue to believe, to have that confident settled trust in You in every circumstance. We ask for Your grace and help in the name of Your Son. Amen.