Contagions and Sin

Leviticus 13 confession.3Leviticus 13 Recently the world has become acutely aware of infection with no known cause and no known cure, and many are dying. The world has reacted first to isolate infected and then to restrict travel to and from that area thousands of miles away. Although these are physical infections, the spiritual lesson is that our infection is the problem of sin.

Like physical infections, sin permeates if left untreated because it is all a part of the fallen nature of man. Pastor Ed Rea explained it this way: “It usually begins as a thought that becomes a desire that then leads on to an act. The results of both unchecked are always devastating.”  James explains it this way:  “But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full-grown, it gives birth to death.”

In Leviticus, the priest was to examine the individual and, if necessary, quarantine him/her. Just like a physical infection, we must “quarantine” our sin. If we find that that doesn’t help us, then we must take drastic action, and repentance is the key. King David recognized the danger and why he prayed: Examine me, O God, and probe my thoughts! Test me, and know my concerns!

We have the Great Physician with the perfect treatment. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. [1Jn 1:9]

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It is all about holiness before a holy God

 

Lev 5 GodLev 5 holiness wants us to handle sin when it is revealed to us and more so: “even if we didn’t realize we sinned…”  This is not talking about intentional rebellion, but those sins that we unintentionally commit and then realize. Sin brings guilt. You can ignore it OR confess it to God seeking His forgiveness and cleansing.

These Leviticus chapters were written to the Israelites to demonstrate the love and mercy of God upon these unintentional sins and how men can seek God’s forgiveness. In the OT, people had to do it over and over and over. But, Jesus paid it all on the cross, so we are forgiven once and for all. But, just as they did, so we also must seek God’s mercy the OT, people had to do it over and over and over. But, Jesus paid it all on the cross, so we are forgiven once and for all and his compassion. The lesson is that we all must fall upon our knees, seeking cleansing. God wanted them to realize that their sin was not just against a fellow citizen, but God Himself. God is right to condemn our sin because He is holy, and He calls us to be holy. We stand guilty before God.

We now have the indwelling Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts. We no longer need to take an animal’s blood to cover our sin for Jesus paid the price. What is required now is the same as it was then; confess our sin and seek forgiveness, trusting that He is faithful and righteous and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Do you need this today? Do not delay but listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

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Are you a Soothing Aroma?

 

Levitcus ch 1 aroma2aLeviticus 1 to 4  What a gift of smell God has given to us! It brings smiles, or it carries a warning to beware. As a teenager, I worked to pay my way through school by working in a bakery slicing fresh bread. I will bet that right now you recall those aromas vicariously. Or think of walking into an apothecary shop and being greeted with the smells of herbs and spices.

God loves aromas too, and they are soothing—or they are repugnant, and it all depends upon our heart and our mindset as we approach him. When God smelled the sacrifices Noah offered, he promised he would never flood the earth again. Jesus Christ was the fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Paul reminded the Corinthians that they were one of two kinds of aromas: a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.

We are to be a fragrant offering to God, but what exactly does that mean? It means that when God, pardon the pun, smells us, He “smells” not our sin but our cleansed and perfect new creation; a soothing aroma to his nostrils. Our prayers of thankfulness soothe him as we seek His face for answers. He is soothed by our repentance when we fall short. And He is soothed when we offer words of wisdom, discernment, and the gospel message to others.

So today, are you a fragrant, soothing aroma to God?

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Forged in Fire

Exodus 35 to 37 forged in fire.2ajpgExodus 35-37 When I am tested, I will come forth as gold”

In Egypt, God tested his people in a severe trial of slavery. It was there that the Israelites were trained in skills such as jewelry, woodworking, and weaving. God now would call upon those skills to build His Tabernacle or dwelling place. While the people groaned under the pressure, God was forging His people to excel. He does the same for us today. We may not see or understand but know this truth: God is preparing all of us to do His kingdom work. God blessed these workers and they left Egypt with gifts of gold, silver and precious jewels in abundance, enough to pay their wages of 400+ years.  As the people looked at their abundance they may have wondered why and for what purpose they had gleaned these treasures. When the perfect time came the people’s hearts were overflowing and they willingly gave so much that Moses had to tell them to stop giving!

Fast forward to the NT and we find the admonition to set aside some income for the service of the church. Imagine if today people gave and gave and gave and then had to be told to stop giving! How many missionaries could we send? How many children’s programs could we provide? How blessed our churches would be if this were true.

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Waiting…easy or hard?

Exodus 32 Do you have trouble waiting–especially for God to act, to speak, or “fill in the blank?”

Exodus 32 waiting patiently

Do you become impatient? Do you want to wait, but circumstances take over, and you decide to take matters into your own hands? The Israelites had just said, ‘we will obey.’ Yet when a test came into their lives to wait, their commitment was shallow.  When the people “saw” that Moses still had not returned, they made a decision: Moses’ God wasn’t working on their time table. It won’t be the last time these Israelites have a problem with waiting. They became impatient with Samuel and said you are old and your sons don’t follow, so appoint us a king. King David’s prayer life reveals that he must have had trouble with waiting too, for he wrote three times for God to help him in ‘waiting.’ [Ps 17:14; 37:7, 62:5]

Why do we have a problem with waiting? We misperceive time. The drama of leaving Egypt was still fresh in their minds, and they were anxious to get to the Promised Land, yet God knew that they needed the skill of waiting because time had always been determined for them. Now they were being tested to see if their commitment was real. Sometimes as we wait, we yearn for routine, and we get bored. Without a routine, we get lazy, and we become discontented; we lack a commitment to the cause. Like the Israelites, we do not have perseverance. We think we have the plan all figured out, and we want God to do it ‘now.’ One author put it this way; Waiting reveals the best and the worst in us and also reveals our lack of understanding that God doesn’t work on our time table.

Are you having trouble waiting? Cultivate this skill through prayerful meditation and study.

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Ministering Priests

Exodus 28 ministering priests2a

Exodus 28 Have you ever attended an ordination ceremony? The hierarchy has thoroughly vetted the person for ordination as to doctrine and personal testimony. The first ordination ceremony was held not in a church but in the desert with Moses officiating. Before its commencement, God told Moses three times that the purpose of choosing Aaron was so he could minister as his priest. Aaron was to be dressed in the most elegant garments and set apart to minister and his garments and the garments of his sons were made with gold, blue, scarlet threads woven as a picture of heaven.  He was to wear the breastplate of decision over his heart for a memorial before the Lord continually.

Today, our ministers do not dress in such costly garments, but the purpose is the same. Each that is chosen and ordained is to be a minister for God. They are to come before the Lord with each decision over his heart—continually. Three steps were to taken to confirm them: anointing with oil, ordaining in word, and set apart as holy all to minister as God’s priests permanently.

Our Lord is our high priest, anointed with the blood of the cross, ordained in word by the Father and set apart as holy. His office is permanent, and he wears the breastpiece of decisions over his heart.

Believers are “ordained” to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God. We are to proclaim the virtues of the one who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light

Are you fulfilling your office as a minister for God?

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Beautiful to Behold

exodus 25 beautiful withinresized picmonkey

Exodus 25-27 Today you can turn on the TV and watch the renovations of homes all with their glitz and glamour. God didn’t want to renovate but to build His home from the ground up with all of the beauty, of gold, silver, and precious ornaments. How do you build a house with no blueprints, no workmen, and no time frame? The master architect, God, gave Moses the plans and also set aside men to do the work. The materials didn’t come from Lowe’s or Home Depot but Egypt when the Lord commanded the Israelites to give the people gold and silver and other precious ornaments as their wages for 400+ yrs. of slavery.

God wanted to dwell amongst a people He had called for His own. He wanted his “house” to be built and centered so that all may see and come near.  One reader noted that although shiny and gold and holy inside, it was protected from the elements without.  Jesus warned the Pharisees that they were hypocrites and like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside, but inside they were full of dead men’s bones. Yet the child of God is beautiful to behold as it is renewed day by day by His love, even as our outer man begins to diminish.

How does the world see you? Are you just like a dead man’s tomb or are you alive and vibrant because Christ has redeemed you?

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Rules and God

exodus 21 rules2aExodus 21-24 God is a God of Order

Companies far and wide institute rules for their employers. Parents institute rules for their children. Without rules we face anarchy. It is rules and regulations that bring peace. Rules are not new, but something God instituted for a purpose. Yet as you read, it seems like it goes on ad nauseum.  We get bogged down and find ourselves asking; what is the point? The point is that God is a God of order and like any parent, organization, government or church knows, rules keep the house in working order. for God is not characterized by disorder but by peace” [1Cor 14] Peace, to be maintained, needs organizational rules and regulations.

However, with all that being said, there is one rule with no options. Men cannot be saved by works but by believing and accepting the Christ and by faith alone.

The people of Israel promised they would comply, but later we see how quickly they forgot and faced disciplinary action. Discipline is needed to restore order. Rules are rules. The entire OT and NT is a book of God’s standards lest we decide for ourselves, as Adam and Eve did, and were led astray by the evil one. God’s love is perfect; He desires that we obey and “follow the rules” so that He can bless us.

Are you struggling with the rules? Seek the face of God and His peace so He can bless you.

 

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Wondering and Thinking

Exodus 14 questions2Exodus 14-17 Have you ever wondered what others think about your path in life? In some ways, God’s revelation to Moses about Pharaoh’s thoughts should be encouraging to us that we have a God that cares and shares with us what is going on “behind the scene.” God knew his inner thoughts even if he hadn’t openly shared his questions. How often do we listen to that inner voice asking the “what if questions.” What if Pharaoh would have a change of mind? If that happened how I should respond?

Yet, God in His marvelous gracious and loving way went ahead of Moses and shared with him what was on Pharaoh’s mind. Wouldn’t that be great if God would do that for us; but wait, He has! All we need to do is immerse ourselves into the Word and we find God speaking to us about how unbelievers will react and better yet the reason why.

Paul and the Apostle John tell us that the enemy of our souls, Satan, blinds the minds of those who will reject the Lord. He does this lest they see the glorious gospel of Christ who is the very image of God. He does it so that the ones who may see may become blind just as Jesus told the Pharisees in John 9: If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now because you claim that you can see, your guilt remains.

Maybe you are wondering what is ahead. Maybe your thoughts are what about and what about and what about. Beloved, God has it all covered and the answers are in His Word. Open the Word and dig in to find the answers to your questions.

 

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God’s Mercy

Exodus God's mercy2aExodus 11 to 13 As we have watched, there were two camps of people in Egypt; those who believed and obeyed. In the hail plague, those who believed took their animals and families in and were spared while those who did not lost animals and people alike. God was merciful nine times but this tenth time was God’s last and final call to Pharaoh.

God desired that Pharaoh and the Egyptians soften their hearts and turn to Him because He does not delight in the death of the wicked. Instead, He is long-suffering giving them many opportunities to turn to Him and not perish. [Ez 18 &33; 2Peter 3] The principle is given in Is 55; let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts. God will have compassion on him and abundantly pardon. God offers the way to salvation but if men continually reject His mercy His plan will be executed.

The Israelites were led away from the hardened Pharaoh. God did not lead them by the way to the land of the Philistines, although that was nearby, for God said, “Lest the people change their minds and return to Egypt when they experience war.”  [Ex 13] He covered them with a cloud from the searing heat of the sun by day and the pillar of fire by night to keep them warm. As we look at each step we see God’s faithfulness to His people, His grace and mercy.

Where have you seen that in your own life?

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