“Are you trying to make minimum payments on sin?” February 9

 

Are you trying to make minimum payments on sin? - The Old Testament sacrificial system only provided a temporary covering for sin, like making minimum payments on our sin debt. Even though we no longer sacrifice bulls or lambs, many of us live much the same way, thinking a good deed here or showing up at church once in a while will keep the Creditor off our backs. Only to have the interest, the guilt and consequences of sin, pile up. But there is good news ...Are you trying to make minimum payments on sin?

 

The Old Testament sacrificial system only provided a temporary covering for sin, like making minimum payments on our sin debt. Even though we no longer sacrifice bulls or lambs, many of us live much the same way, thinking a good deed here or showing up at church once in a while will keep the Creditor off our backs. Only to have the interest, the guilt and consequences of sin, pile up. But there is good news …

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 29 & Exodus 30
Psalm 20.6-9
Proverbs 7.6-23
Matthew 25.1-30

 

“Are you trying to make minimum payments on sin?”

 

Exodus 29 & 30

The Final Sacrifice

 

Imagine … this Sunday morning before going in to worship, you have to stop outside the church and sacrifice a bull, then take some of the blood and put it on the altar with your finger and pour the rest of it on the altar. Afterwards you take the fat that covers the intestines, the fatty part of the liver, and the two kidneys and burn them. Then you take the bull’s waste, the skin, and the rest of the flesh out in the parking lot to be burned! All this after baking bread, having oil poured on your head, and taking a ritual bath! (And you thought just getting the family out of the house was hard!)

It’s a funny picture, but a serious subject. Why would God require all of that? And why would He want us to understand? Continue reading

February 24 “Blood, sex & the fear of the Lord”

Animal sacrifices, circumcision, murder, the blood of Christ … why does the Bible talk so much about BLOOD?

blood

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 17 & 18
Psalm 27.1-3
Proverbs 10.9
Mark 4.21-41

Leviticus 17 & 18:

The sacrificial law

Blood … blood … blood … why does the Bible talk so much about blood?

When Adam and Eve sinned against Him, God Himself shed the blood of animals and symbolically covered their nakedness with the skins (Gen. 3.21).

When God confronted Cain for murdering his brother, He said, the voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground” (Ex. 4.10).

God commanded animal sacrifices of all kinds to cover the people’s sins and we see here in chapter 17 that He took it very seriously when that blood was offered to demonic gods (vv. 3-4, 7).

God commanded the men of Israel to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant they had with Him (Gen. 17.9-14) … more blood.

Not everyone understood; in Exodus 4 Moses’ wife called him a “bloody husband” when her son was circumcised (Ex. 4.25-26).

Then there were commands not to eat meat with the blood, commands to sprinkle blood, and just before the exodus, blood was applied to the frame of the door to protect God’s people (Ex. 12.7, 22).

And the New Testament is dominated by the importance of Christ’s shed blood. Continue reading

February 22 “Are you a fanatic?”

Has your family ever thought you were crazy? Have they ever accused you of being a fanatic? You’re in good company!

fanatic

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 14
Psalm 26.1-5
Proverbs 10.6-7
Mark 3.20-35

Leviticus 14:

Types & shadows

Well, more about leprosy! What on earth does this all mean to you and me today?

When we read the Old Testament we need to remember that the events, God’s dealings with His people, and the ceremonial laws were often types and shadows of things to come. Many of which were fulfilled in Christ’s life here on earth, as well as, His death, burial, and resurrection.

Verses 4-9 talk about the ceremonial cleansing of a leper after he had been healed:

4 then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. 5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. 6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. 7 And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field. 8 He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, and shall stay outside his tent seven days. 9 But on the seventh day he shall shave all the hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows—all his hair he shall shave off. He shall wash his clothes and wash his body in water, and he shall be clean.

Matthew Henry in his Commentary on the Whole Bible said the mixture of blood and water had its fulfillment in Christ’s death when blood and water came out of his pierced side. The slain bird represented Christ dying for our sins, and the living bird His resurrection. Dipping the living bird in blood of the slain bird illustrates the fact that without His death He could not have risen for our justification for sins.

The living bird was let loose just as the leper was no longer restricted from contact with people. He was free to go where he pleased. We have not only been forgiven of our sins, but are freed from the power of sin in our lives. We’re free to live a life that’s pleasing to God. Continue reading

February 16 “Defending the faith”

Defending the faith

Could you defend what you say you believe? Do you ever pretend you’re not a believer because it’s inconvenient or embarrassing? Have you ever said my faith is a “personal thing” when you had an opportunity to “give a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3.15)? Do you ever hold back when it would mean taking a stand or speaking up? I know I have.

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 3 & 4
Psalm 23
Proverbs 9.1-6
Matthew 27.55-66

Leviticus 3 & 4

The messy business of sin

Before we talk about defending the faith we’ll discuss our Old Testament reading.

The primary theme in Leviticus is holiness. God is holy and He has commanded us to be holy just as He is (1 Pet. 1.14-16).

The need for holiness is attested to by the complicated systems of sacrifices and offerings. The animal sacrifices made temporary atonement for the sins of the priests and the people.

And what a “messy” and costly business the sacrificial system really was.

But then, I’m reminded that sin itself is “messy” business! Think of all the messes we make in our lives: our friendships, our marriages, our families, our finances, and every area of life. It’s not always “pretty” and our only remedy is Christ. When we see our complete failure to be holy and understand that He died as the perfect Sacrifice for all who believe and receive, we can exchange His righteousness for our sin.

But sometimes God has to allow our choices in life to bring about their natural consequences (Gal. 6.7-8) before we’re willing to see our need for Him.

Even as believers, he allows a certain amount of hardship in our lives. Not because He’s spiteful or unloving, but because He is our Father and we are His children. Like any good father, He trains and disciplines His children precisely because He loves us! Continue reading