Friday, February 28, 2014
I have already explained the feast on February 6 if you want to refresh what they mean. I did notice that Yom Kippor is not mentioned. It will happen during the seven days of Tabernacles. It is a feast that Christians won’t be celebrating. It will be the Days of Awe that Matthew 24 talks about which will be for those left on earth after Jesus has taken his bride. I would like to not that during every feast period there is a harvest. After the feast of Pentecost is explained they are told not to reap the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings, but to leave them for the poor. God is letting us know that it is not time to reap the whole earth. In the end, God will reap the whole earth according to Rev. 14. Then every man must make an account for his life. I have been paying attention to how many times the disciples and Jesus “cross the sea” and I have a theory. It seems like one side of the sea represents the masses. Jesus teaches them, feeds, them and speaks to them only in parables. The other side of the sea is where spiritual warfare is done, Jesus teaches his disciples and he doesn’t speak in parables. One side represents the natural, and the other the spiritual. Notice how many times Jesus crosses the sea. It is definitely a sign. Lord, teach us your ways. We love you and want to reveal Your glory today.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Lev. 20:22-22:16, Mark 9:1-29, Ps. 43:1-5, Priests were not permitted to marry a woman who had practiced prostitution or divorced their husband. Since the law is spiritual, marriage is a symbol of union with God or salvation. If Jesus is our priest then our marriage with Christ must be holy. He has never been anything other than God, so He is not a prostitute, nor has he offered himself to anyone but us, so He is not a divorcee. If we are priests unto God, the same applies. God must be our only love. If we choose to be married to anyone but God then, like the priest’s daughter who defiles herself, we must burn in hell. Along with judgment, God always extends mercy. In Lev. 22:10-13 we read that if a priest buys a slave, or a slave is born in his household, that slave may eat his food. Jesus is our priest and we are bought with the price of his blood. When we have been redeemed, we are able to eat of God’s Word and live. If we are a Gentile Christian, then we are the slave born in his household. If the priest’s daughter that is divorced and defiled decides to come back and live with her father, then she may eat this food. This is the picture of the prodigal son who leaves his father’s teachings but comes to his senses and returns. God’s forgiveness and mercy always trump over his judgment. Time in the Bible is like bread crumbs or clues. Verse 2 in Mark is one of those clues: “after six days”. This means after the sixth day in God’s calendar or after 6,000 years or at the end of time. In the story, Jesus transfigures himself and shows him his glory in a cloud. At the end of time we will see Jesus come down out of heaven in a cloud and all will see his glory. Jesus was giving them a sneak preview. Lord, thank you for your Word. It is the picture of You. May we be a holy bride when you return.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I love that the first thing God says after “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy”, is to fear your mother and father. Our mothers and fathers are not just our physical mother and father, but our mothers and fathers of the faith throughout all generations. Every generation paid a price for the revelation they fought for that we now take for granted. God wants us to honor them. Today most of the laws have to do with how we treat one another. All these laws can be summed up in two laws: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and the second one is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. In Mark, the disciples were getting tripped up over natural things when Jesus wanted them to look deeper. The Pharisees had come to him wanting a sign to which Jesus refused. Then Jesus crossed the sea. Jesus warned them of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod. The disciples only had one loaf of bread with them so they thought he was making reference to their lack of bread. Jesus explained that it wasn’t natural things he was talking about, but spiritual. He could give his disciples a sign anytime…like he had when he multiplied the bread. He wasn’t concerned with their needs - He was always there to meet them. Jesus was talking much deeper. He wanted them to be ware of the deceit of the Pharisees. They were tempting Jesus to show off his power. He refused to play their game. Jesus was warning us of trying to use His power to do the same. Once again the disciples were thinking carnally when Jesus told them He would suffer and be killed. Jesus rebuked Peter for thinking that way. The kingdom of God is not concerned with things that we are like death, food, drink. We are promised that if we seek Him first, all these things work out. Lord, remind us to be heavenly minded when we start to worry about worldly things.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Read Lev. 16:29-30, Mark 7:24-8:10, Ps. 41:1-13, Pr. 10:15-16 Today we get a hodgepodge of information. The Day of Atonement is the highest holiest day for the Jew. It was the tenth day of the seventh month in the religious calendar, but the tenth day of the first month of the civil holiday. It was the day the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies and offered up prayers and atonement for the people of the nation. Jesus will do that in the end of time. He will do that once and for all for all the people that have lived during the space of time. Next we have a number of rules about mixing fluids. God hates mixture. He is a holy God who wants his creation to stay holy so, for example, when we mix unclean conversation with a holy vessel, God is not honored. Verse 25 of Lev. 18 speaks of the land vomiting out its inhabitants. What we do effects the land. If a particular culture is full of pagan practices, then their sacrifices pollute the land and eventually the land vomits them up in the form of a volcano or an earthquake. Indonesia is a great example of that. Indonesia is often racked by volcanoes. It has a long history of Hinduism, Budhism, animalism, and Islam. Its land is full of sin and having to vomit it up. In Mark we read about the woman who was Greek, coming to Jesus to deliver her daughter from demons. When Jesus told her that he had come to help the Jews, not the Gentiles, she gave Jesus an answer that changed his heart. She, like many others Gentiles in the Bible were forerunners of the future ministry of Christ - the world. For now, he was there for the lost house of Israel. She had such faith to see that it would only take a crumb of Jesus power to defeat the devil. Jesus was moved and acted on her faith, and her daughter was delivered. Lord, may our faith move you to miracles and great works. May we be a forerunner of what you are doing.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Read Lev. 15:1-16:28, Mark 7:1-23, Ps. 40:11-17, Pr.10:13-14 The interpretation of the Old Testament is found in the New and we have them both today. In Leviticus we read about the unclean bodily discharges and how they make the man or woman unclean. Jesus explained in Mark that it wasn’t what went into the body that made it unclean, but what came out of the body. Out of man’s body comes evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy slander, arrogance and folly. These are the things that make us unclean. God told Moses to warn the people to keep separate from these things that make them unclean. After what happened to Aaron’s two sons when they wrongfully entered the Holy of Holies, God instructed them how to enter. It was to be once a year and they had to have a young bull for the sin offering and two ram for the burnt offering. The priest was to wear sacred garments with the linen sash around him and the linen turban on his head. (He was to be totally covered in white.) There had to be two goats that the priest used in the sin offering. One was to be sacrificed and the other was to be the scapegoat that was set free. The definition of a scapegoat is “one that bears the blame for others”. This ceremony is performed during Yom Kippor. Jesus was both goats: the one sacrificed and the one that the sins were imputed to and sent away. Jesus bore our sins like the scapegoat and took them as far as the east is from the west. Tradition says that they would tie a scarlet strip of cloth around the neck of the scapegoat and by the time it had gotten a certain distance away from Jerusalem it had eventually turned white. Though our sins be as scarlet, He shall make them white as snow. (Is. 1:18) Lord, Your laws are perfect and they convert the soul. Thank You for Your amazing grace that covers all our sins and removes them from us.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Read Lev. 14:1-57, Mark 6:30-56, Ps. 40:1-10, Pr. 10:11-12 Today we are going to look closer at the process of purification. If a person is healed of his infection the priest takes two live clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop. One bird is killed over fresh water in a clay pot and the other is dipped in its blood along with the wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop. Then the rest of the blood is sprinkled seven times on the person to be cleansed and the bird is set free. I love this picture of the cross. Both birds represent Jesus - one to die and one to resurrect. We see all these pictures on Calvary. The bird is clean because Jesus was sinless. The water is the Holy Spirit and the clay pot was Jesus earthly body. The wood stood for the cross and the scarlet yarn stands for the blood of Jesus that is the scarlet thread that weaves all through the Bible. The hyssop was the plant used to apply the blood on the door posts during the first Passover in Egypt. The free bird was the resurrected Jesus released into the world for all to have. The person to be cleansed is sprinkled with blood seven times because seven is the number of completion. Jesus blood completely covers our sins. Then the cleansed person must shave off all his hair and bathe in water to show that he is completely cleansed and sin is no longer a part of him. The rest is up to the priest who offers the atonement for our sin and guilt. That is the job of our High Priest, Jesus. The same process happens when there is sin and wrong doctrine in the church - the house of God. The stones must be taken away and cast into an unclean place outside the city. The stone have to do with doctrines that have been used to build the church. If they are wrong, they must be removed. In Mark, Jesus was trying to teach them about his doctrine which is one that completely supplies our needs and feeds us with his food which overflows and never runs out. The disciples couldn’t get it because their hearts were hardened. Lord, thank you for the blood of Jesus that completely covers our sins and makes us righteous.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Read Lev. 13:1-59, Mark 6: 1-29, Ps. 39:1-13, Pr. 10:10 Sin is a disease of our flesh so these infectious diseases have to do with sin. Jesus examines our heart at different times during our process of purification to see if the sin has gotten “under our skin” or if we have allowed bitterness to set in. If we have then we will produce death instead of life (the white hair). If we have chosen forgiveness and God’s healing then we will be restored back to ministry and use. If not, then we are put on hold till we can forgive or accept God’s forgiveness and be clean. If God continued to let us stay in ministry, our sin would spread to those around us. God is merciful, wanting us to be used again, so he comes back as our priest and examines us over and over. The mildew in the wool and the linen has to do with the church which is our covering. The wool has to do with the sheep and the linen has to do with the priests or church officials. In Mark, the infectious disease of his home town was unbelief. It spread so that Jesus was not able to do many miracles there. Herodias was diseased with malice toward John the Baptist because he pointed out her sin. Her sin of hatred grew into murder. Psalms tells us how to keep from becoming diseased - watch our ways and keep our tongues from sin. David’s prayer was for God to show him how short life is and to teach him how to make the most of each day. Lord, may that be our prayer also. Cleanse us of all our offenses. Today we choose to forgive and to speak life.
Friday, February 21, 2014
If you’re not careful, you will pass over these laws and miss their significance. Romans 7:14 says that the law is spiritual so we can gain meaning from it spiritually. They were told they could eat any animal that had a split hoof that was completely divided and that chewed the cud. A split hoof that is completely divided has to do with standing on the foundation of the Word. The Word completely divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrew 4:12) Chewing the cud has to do with not only putting God’s Word in your heart, but being able to bring it back up and appropriate it to everything in your life. Your works must follow your faith. Faith without works is dead. Fins and scales have to do with direction (fins) and covering (scales). We have to let God’s spirit be our fins and His blood be our covering. Insects that use all there legs on the ground are pictures of a person being bound to the earth and not spiritually inclined. An insect that can hop is like a person who can be of the earth and of the spirit. I’ll do one more example: verse 33. If someone falls into a clay pot, everything in it will be unclean and you must break the pot. We are clay vessels so if we fall into the influence of another clay vessel then everything that comes from us will be affected by our sin. We must fall on the cross of Jesus and be broken. In Mark, Jesus had crossed back over the sea and was met by Jairus, whose twelve year old daughter was about to die. Jairus was both rich and powerful, yet he humbled himself before Jesus in desperation for the love he had for his daughter. On the way to his house, Jesus stops out of the love he had for his daughter and heals a very humble and poor woman who was desperate. Imagine how she felt when instead of rebuking her, Jesus called her “daughter”. She had been bleeding the life-span of this little girl. God cares for all his children, rich or poor. The key was their humility and total trust in Jesus. Lord, may we walk in humility and trust today.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Read: Lev. 9:7-10:20, Mark 4;26-5:20, Ps. 37:30-40, Pr. 10:6-7 Moses had given all the instruction on how to do the offerings and today was the day the priest was to make his first sacrifice for the sins of the people - an atonement. When he did, the glory of the Lord appeared and fire came from the presence of God and consumed the offering. The people shouted for joy and fell down on their faces in awe of God. I don’t know if Aaron’s sons got caught up in the moment or what, but they did the unthinkable. They took fire, not from the altar, into the Holy of Holies. This was wrong for so many reasons. It was suppose to be fire from the brazen altar and only one man was to go into the Holy of Holies and that was the High Priest. They were neither. They were both burned with God’s fire and had to be taken out of the camp. Aaron and the priests were not even able to mourn their deaths. Only the people could mourn. So what does this mean to us today? We are priests to God and we have to obey God no matter how foolish it sounds to us. We can never please God our way. Obedience is the way to God’s heart. We don’t mourn death because we know the truth. There is resurrection for God’s children. In Mark, Jesus is telling a parable about scattering seed, then he does a miracle to illustrate his point. He takes his disciples to cross the sea. There is a terrible storm and Jesus is asleep in the boat. The disciples are terrified and wake him up. Jeuss calms the sea and they reach the other side. They are met by a demoniac. Jesus sets him free to go spread the seed of the gospel to the people living in the Decapolis. He does and when Jesus returns there is much fruit. The storm was the devil’s attempt to keep Jesus from his man who he was occupying. Jesus swept him clean and used him for His glory. Lord, may we make a name for You today. We take refuge in you.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Read Lev. 7:28-9:6, mark 3:31-25, Ps. 37:12-29, Pr. 10:5 The fellowship offering is voluntary and different from the other sacrifices. The breast is taken and waved before the Lord as if to entice God with its aroma to come and dine. There are many things we fellowship with God in. We fellowship in his sufferings, in ministering to the saints, in our prayer time and in reading his Word, just to name a few. 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Our fellowship with God and fellow believers cleanses us from sin. When Moses anointed the priests and dressed them for service it was a picture of what God did when Jesus entered heaven after he had been crucified. Jesus became our High Priest forever. Once he was put in place the rest of heaven was cleansed. The priest was a priest for life and could never live a common life. His life was poured out to minister to God for the people. Jesus was the same way. When his mother and brothers came to him for special privileges He made it clear that all were the same to him. He wasn’t negating his love for his family, he was extending that love to his whole family. The priest performed duties that were symbolic of something much bigger than they perceived. Jesus told parables that were much bigger than what the people perceived. BUT…the parables were explained to the disciples. If we are God’s disciples, then the Old Testament will be explained to us by the light of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the lamp that gives light to the whole house. If you use what you understand, then you will be given more revelation. Lord, may we walk in the light you have given us.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Read Lev. 6:1-7:27, Mark 3:7-30, Ps. 37:1-11, Pr. 10:3-4 Today we read about the trespass offering and the fellowship offering. The trespass offering is when you sin against a person and want to make things right. If you have hurt their property you must restore what you destroyed and add a fifth to it. Then you must bring your guilt offering to the Lord. It is burned on an altar that is to be kept burning forever. The priest eats it and it becomes holy. The priests stand for Jesus who completely consumed our sin on the cross. Notice at the end of Lev. 6:18 it says that “whatever touches them (the priests) will become holy.” Then compare that to our reading in Mark 3:10 that says, “for he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.” The woman with the issue of blood knew that all she had to do was to touch the hem of Jesus garment and she would be healed. When we touch Jesus with our prayers we are healed and restored. The next offering was the fellowship offering. I have to think that this is God’s favorite one to receive. This is a voluntary offering of thanks. There is a correct way to do each offering… even to say thanks. God wants it from a pure heart. Certain offerings had to be eaten that day and some could be held till the next day, but none could be held after three days. All of this was spiritual and heavy with symbolism but it was also practical hygienic laws. Meat should not be eaten on the third day. It would probably not be fit to eat by then. The fellowship offering is also called the peace offering. Praise brings peace. Our Psalms today promises us that the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. Lord, today, we bring you a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. You are so worthy of both. Thank you for Your peace.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Read Lev. 4:1-5:19, Mark 2:13-3:6, Ps. 35:1-12, Pr. 10:1-2 Today we learn about the sin offering. It is an offering for reconciliation. God is always wanting to restore us to fellowship with Him, not condemn us. The sin offering is for someone who commits a sin without realizing it is a sin. When he realizes it, he is guilty and must atone for his sin. We condemn people when we know it is wrong…but God condemns them when they know it is wrong. There is a big difference. We need to wait and let the Holy Spirit convict them of their sin. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and lead us to repentance. A wicked person will not feel guilt. Today’s Psalms explains this. They don’t fear God and can not detect or hate their own sin. They are bent on doing evil. That is how you can tell if a person can be changed - do they feel remorse and guilt? If they do - they can be saved. In Mark the people didn’t understand why during times of fasting, Jesus and his disciples ate. Fasting is an outward act of an inward work. Jesus explained it was because you would never fast at a feast. Jesus was the feast and it was time to eat every word that came from his mouth. They would need to fast when He was gone. He was trying to also teach them that there were some times when breaking the letter of the law was necessary to do the works of the spirit. David ate holy bread in a time of war. Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Jesus was trying to teach them the new covenant of grace that was not going to fit in their old wineskin minds. Jesus was bringing new wine that had to be poured in new wineskin minds. Lord help us to walk by the spirit and not the law. May we be new wineskins that you can pour your new wine into.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Read Lev. 1:1-3:17, Mark 1:29-2:12, Ps. 35:17-28, Pr. 9:13-18 Leviticus can be a dry wordy book when you don’t see the spiritual significance or it can be a rich deep book if you do. I pray it will be a rich deep book for us. There were five different kinds of offerings the people could give: the burnt, meat, fellowship, sin and trespass offering. Today we will talk about the burnt, the meat offering, and the fellowship offering. The burnt offering was the atonement offering for consecration. Jesus was our burnt offering, completely consumed on the cross. Notice that the priest must lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering for it to be acceptable on his behalf to make atonement for him. By laying his hand on the sacrifice he was transferring his sin and the sin of the people to the animal that would atone for them. Each of us must do this ourselves. We come to Jesus and individually accept him as our Saviour. Then his blood atones for our sin. The grain or meat offering was the thanksgiving offering. We should offer this offering everyday as we are so thankful for what Jesus has done for us. This lead to the next offering which was the fellowship offering. This is our time we spend in fellowship to the Lord. All of these are like sweet smelling incense to the Lord. Jesus was the spiritual fulfillment of Joshua. Joshua’s task was to go into the Promise Land and drive out all the Amorites, and Hittites, and other ’ites’. Jesus’ mission was to go throughout the earth driving out demons. He started the work and planned for us to finish it. He also healed the sick, forgave sins and preached the kingdom. Lord, we are so thankful that You are our burnt offering and that our sin is forever atoned for. We offer You our sacrifice of time to fellowship with You. Help us to be constantly offering up our thanksgiving and devotion to You.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Read Es. 39:1-40:38, Mark 1:1-28, Ps. 35:1-16, Pr. 9:11-12 Moses set up all the pieces in the tabernacle and when everything was in its place the cloud covered the Tent and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. The Spirit was so dense, Moses couldn’t even enter. When we as the Body of Christ get everything in order and in the right place in our hearts, God’s glory will come down and fill his Church. John the Baptist was an example of the door in the tent. He came with the baptism of repentance. We have to recognize our need for a savior before we will be ready to receive one. John had to come first to prepare the people for what Jesus would bring. Jesus was the brazen altar, the Sacrifice. He was the laver, our Sanctifier. He was the table of shewbread - the Bread of Life. Jesus was the candlestick - the Light of the World. Jesus was the table of Incense - our High Priest who carries our prayers to God. Jesus is the very presence of God the Holy of Holies. When Jesus went to John to be baptized, the glory of God came down just as it did for Moses. Jesus was God come to earth. As soon as God put his seal on Him, He was driven into the dessert to be tempted so he could pass the test. He was to be a spotless lamb without sin. Notice the timing - John goes into prison and Jesus emerges to preach. It was like John had fulfilled his mission and it was now Jesus’ time to take over the ministry. John never came out of prison. What amazed the people about Jesus was His preaching with authority and he had authority over evil spirits. Jesus won the war against Satan in the wilderness, now he was dealing with Satan’s demons. Lord, help us to appropriate all You did for us. You are the tabernacle that resides in us. May we be filled with your Holy Spirit and affect those we come in contact with today.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Read Ex. 34:1-35:9, Matt. 27:15-31, Ps. 33:12-22, Pr. 9:1-6 Moses goes back on the mountain with a new set of stones for God to write his laws on. This time God was going to show himself to Moses. I can’t imagine Moses’ fear and anticipation. When God came down in his cloud He proclaimed His name and described His character. After seeing how angry and powerful God was against the Egyptians, it must have been a wonderful surprise to hear Him describe Himself as merciful, gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. He went on to tell them that he was a jealous God and warned them against the deception of their enemies. Again, He went through the feasts He wanted them to keep as a picture of what was coming. In Matthew, we are reading the fulfillment of Passover. In the Old Testament they put blood on the sides of their door posts and at the top of the lintel. This blood saved their first born from death. In today’s reading we see that Barabbas represented the first born that was saved because Jesus’ took his place. Barabbas represents us also. We are born ‘first’ of the flesh, and second of the spirit so the ‘first born’ represents our pre-Christ days. We are all ‘first borns’ - but when we are ‘redeemed’ we are safe. That is why Ex. 34:20 says to redeem all your firstborn sons. We deserved to die for our sins, but Jesus took our sin upon Him and died for us. Lord, may your unfailing love rest upon us, as we put our hope in you. Thank you for redeeming us.
Read Ex. 27:1-38:31, Matt. 28:1-20, Ps. 34:11-22, Pr. 9:9-10 Happy Valentines Day! Today we read about the greatest thing in Christiandom - the Resurrection. That is God’s Valentine to us. In Ex. we read about the building of the ark of the covenant. Large gold angels stood with their wings extended over the top. God’s presence was to reside in that piece of furniture. God has placed that piece of furniture as well as all the other pieces in our hearts. That presence dwells in us. Every piece shone with brightness and glory. The basin was made from the mirrors of the godly women who kept the tabernacle. When the priests bathed their hands, they could see the reflection of themselves in the mirrors. James talks about the person who sees himself in a mirror and warns him of forgetting what he sees. When we look into God’s mirror, we should see our sin and unworthiness. This is what keeps us humble. But, when we see ourselves through God’s eyes, we see his great grace and love that covers all our sin and makes us beautiful. The Jewish leaders had a lot to answer for. How do you explain three hours of darkness in the middle of the day, an earthquake, and an empty tomb? I don’t know how they explained the first two, but they lied about the empty tomb. Their eyes were blinded by their pride and jealousy. It makes me wonder how I might have blind eyes. Are there things I am refusing to see that are obvious? These were men who devoted their lives to studying the scriptures, but refused to look through God’s mirror and see themselves as they really were. They had knowledge with no relationship to God. They had no spiritual wisdom. Knowledge by itself puffs up till eventually, you can’t see. Lord, open our spiritual eyes today that we might see what you are doing and join with you. You say that you are close to the broken hearted. Help us to be broken and humble. Resurrect Yourself in us.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Read Ex. 35:10-36:38, Matt. 27:32-66, Ps. 34:1-10, Pr. 9:7-8 Everything about the tabernacle pointed to Jesus. It was to be the embodiment of God. The outer court was large enough for the people to all enter. It’s boundaries were curtains. These curtains stood for the flesh of man. We have to get past that to go deeper into God. The outer court had the brazen altar where the sacrifices were made and the laver where the priest washed their hands. The brazen altar stood for the cross and our salvation, the laver - our sanctification. The people could all participate in these ceremonies. Inside the tabernacle were two rooms: the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Only the priests could enter the Holy Place. In it was the candlestick or menorah which stood for the illumination the Holy Spirit gives us about God. Across from the menorah was the Table of Shewbread which represented the Word of God that we need to eat daily. The last piece of furniture was the Table of Incense that was lit and gave a sweet smell. This stood for the prayers of the saints. Only the High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies. He had to go in carrying a censer with the incense. He went in once a year on the day of Atonement to pray for the people and the nation. In Matthew, Jesus was fulfilling every word of Isaiah 53. Jesus was always quoting the Old Testament so it is no surprise that He would quote David’s Messianic psalm (Ps. 22). “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The whole Psalms is giving us Jesus’ thoughts on the cross. It even talks of how they cast lots for his garments. God never forsook Jesus and he will never forsake us. They were one then and forever. Before the resurrection, no one went to heaven, they all slept under the earth in Sheol. Notice what happens when the earthquake shook the earth. Holy people were raised to life. They walked the streets of Jerusalem till Jesus ascended, they they went with him, thus fulfilling the feast of First Fruits. Jesus was the first fruit to raise from the dead. Lord, may we taste and see that You are good today. When we fear and trust You, there is nothing we lack.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Read Ex. 32:1-33:23, Matt. 26:69-27:14, Ps. 33:1-11, Pr. 8:33-36 I can’t read today’s reading without thinking how important it is to have the Holy Spirit. He was given that we might have the power to be a witness, to stand firm in opposition and to victoriously fight the enemy. The children of Israel and the disciples didn’t have that constant presence with them and they didn’t stand well. The children of Israel resorted back to pagan worship, denying the God who had brought them out of Egypt with numerous signs and wonders. Peter denied being a disciple of Jesus after seeing numerous miracles. How do we do that? The Holy Spirit can not control our hearts but he can empower us against such temptations. Then, we have great examples of men who didn’t fall, like Moses and Joshua. In Ex. 33:11 it says that the Lord spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend and of Joshua it says that he did not leave the tabernacle. Joshua chose to live in the place where God’s presence was. We can make that same choice. The children of Israel were punished for their rebellion and 3,000 were killed. What a contrast to the New Testament where when the Holy Spirit was given 3,000 were saved. Judas was given 30 silver coins which in his remorse, he threw on the floor of the temple, left and hung himself. Peter also felt remorse and Jesus restored him. Judgment and grace. That is the choice we make when we decide whether to become a Christian or not. Lord, may we be found watching daily at your doors, and waiting at your doorway for your life.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Read Ex. 30:11-31:18, Matt. 26:47-68, Ps. 32:1-11, Pr. 8:27-32 If you have ever wondered why David got in so much trouble for counting the people, the answer is in today’s reading. When they numbered the people they were to require half a shekel from each person twenty years old and up. If they didn’t a plague would befall them. It wasn’t that God didn’t like numbering the people because he instructed Moses to number them and no plague came. I guess it was understood they paid this half shekel. The whole book of Numbers is about the number of the different people in the tribes, but David got in serious trouble when he did it. Moses was instructed to number the people, David did it out of his own pride. A plague followed that killed many people. (I’m sure that threw his numbers off.) Numbering was like bringing someone to an account and the gold coin atoned for their sins like the blood of Jesus would later. Next, Moses was instructed to make a laver of brass which was a huge bowl for the priests to wash their hands in before and after the sacrifices. It was a picture of sanctification. It was brass to reflect the faces of the priests as they washed. They were to come face-to-face with their sinfulness and be cleansed in the holy water. In Matthew, the high priest of the day was charging The High Priest, Jesus, with blasphemy. In Psalms we read: Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not COUNT against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. Lord, when you count us we thank you that you count us through the covering of the blood. Help us to keep Your ways.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Read Ex. 29:1-30:10, Matt. 26:14-46, Ps. 31:19-24, Pr. 8:14-26 God was very specific about the ordination of the priest. Everything about it was to point to holiness. The sacrifice had to be spotless and the bread without yeast. All this spoke of sinlessness. Even his clothes were to be sanctified and passed down to the next generation. The priests were to represent the people to God and atone for the sins of the people through the sacrificial ceremonies. God gave them the instructions for the first piece of furniture that was to go in the Tabernacle. It was the altar of incense and was to be placed right outside the curtain to the Holy of Holies. Here, the priest would burn incense day and night and on the Day of Atonement, they would take this insence into the Holy Of Holies. This incense represented the prayers of the saints according to Rev. 8:3. God put prayer as His first priority. As we read about the process of making the priest holy, we learn that it is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Matthew. That is when they are to get the sin out of your houses. Jesus got the sin out of his house when he nailed the betrayer and gave him a chance to repent. Judas chose not to which cost him dearly. Jesus sent Judas out and ate his last Passover supper with his true disciples then went to the temple and became the Passover Lamb. At the supper he told them one would betray him and all eleven were appalled, but that same eleven couldn’t manage to stay awake to pray for an hour. We tend to be just that fickle sometimes. We really do love Jesus, he’s just not always convenient, and prayer is hard. Lord, cleanse us of our yeast and draw us to your altar to learn how to pray.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Read: Ex. 28:1-43, Mat. 25:31-26:13, Ps. 31:9-18, Pr. 8:12-13 When Jesus died on the cross, Isaiah prophesied that he would gave no beauty that we should desire him. But, Jesus our High Priest, is to be a picture of beauty. Aaron was to represent Jesus our High Priest. His robe was made of blue, purple and red - colors of heaven, royalty and the blood. He wore onyx stones inscribe with the names of the tribes of Israel on his shoulders. This represented the black sin Jesus bore on the cross for us. His breastplate of judgment had a stone inscribed with the name of each tribe, which he wore next to his heart. He wore their names into the Holy of Holies. In his breast plate he had a pocket for the Urim and Thummin which were used to discern God’s will. One of them meant ‘yes’, and the other meant ‘no’. Around the hem of his garment were evenly dispersed bells and pomegranates. The bells were to give music to every move he made and the pomegranates were a symbol of the law of God. Each pomegranate has the same amounts of seeds and that number corresponds to how many laws are in the Word. God’s Word is the engrafted seed able to produce life in us. He also wore a gold necklace plate that read HOLINESS TO THE LORD. The High Priest was to wear this across his forehead. I have seen these articles in a museum in Israel. They are not just artifacts to show Israel’s past but they are plans for the future. They are preparing for the day they reclaim the Temple Mount and can begin sacrificing again. The Kenneset believes that when they start sacrificing, the Messiah will come. We know he has already come and that there is not further need for a sacrifice. The officiating priests must also wear linen garments. Linen is a light fabric that won’t be hot. The priests were not to sweat but be a picture of rest. They were to be anointed, consecrated, and sanctified to serve the people. Everything about them pointed to Jesus and to our office as priests before God. We will see Jesus dressed in white when he comes with his angels at the end of time. He will divide them into two groups:sheep and goats. What determines them is not their works, but their fruit. Works is when you know who you are working for and you are working for a pay. Fruit is what you produce out of the abundance of your heart and is not for selfish gain. Only born again believers can produce fruit. Lord, may we produce fruit for your kingdom today.
Friday, February 7, 2014
Read Ex. 26:1-27:21, Matt. 25:1-30, Ps. 31:1-8, Pr. 8:1-11 If there is one thing we learn from reading about these curtains for the tabernacle it is this: God is in the detail. Everything He does is with meaning and purpose and points to something He is wanting to teach us. The first cloth used was the linen with its blue, purple and scarlet yarn twisted into the linen. This was a picture of the royalty and beauty of the Lord. Only those who were priests could appreciate this, since they were the only ones allowed in the tabernacle. As priests to the Lord, we have this available to us. We can be enjoy the presence of the Lord. The next layer was the goat’s skin which was probably black in color. This stood for the sin’s of the people. The next skin was the ram’s skin dyed red. This was the picture of the blood of Jesus that gives us access to God’s holiness. This layer covered the goat’s skin just as Jesus’ blood covers our sins. The goat layer was waterproof which means it is able to cover all sin. The outer covering was the badger’s skin which is ugly in appearance. Jesus was nothing to look at according to Isaiah 53. Being a Christian isn’t attractive to the world either, but those of us who know the truth see the beauty of the Lord. Our beauty flows from the inside out. The pillars of the tabernacle were silver: the metal representing redemption. The vessels and socket were of brass which represents judgment. The last thing we read was about the oil that was to be from pure olives. This oil was used to light the tabernacle which was to be lit always. Matthew starts out talking about this oil in the parable of the ten virgins. Five had oil and five were foolish. The oil represents the Holy Spirit and the light is our testimony of Jesus. We must continually be filled with the Holy Spirit or we might not be ready when Jesus comes to use us. Lord, fill us today with your Holy Spirit that we might be ready and profitable.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Read Ex. 23:14-25:40, Matt. 24:29-51, Ps. 30:1-12, Pr. 7:24-27 The feasts were the pictures of seven great events that would happen on earth. God commanded the men to come to Jerusalem three times a year so they could celebrate them. The first set of feasts were during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They were Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits. Jesus died on Passover to be our passover lamb. He was buried on Unleavened Bread and he was raised on First Fruits. Fifty days later was the Feast of Pentecost or Harvest. The Holy Spirit was given on Pentecost. Then at the end of the year they celebrated the last three feasts. The first was the Feast of Ingathering or Roshashana. That will be the day Jesus will come back to earth again. The next was Yom Kippor where there will be great tribulation like never before on the earth and the last was Feast of Tabernacles where we will live with God in Millennium. God told Moses He was sending His angel ahead of them to guard them and drive our their enemies if they promised to do what the angel said. They would not get sick or die prematurely. Little by little they would possess the land. He warned them not to worship any of the gods of the people they were driving out but to worship Him only. The people agreed to all the Lord said. Moses then went back up the mountain with Joshua and got instruction on how to build the tabernacle which would be a reminder of God’s presence on earth. Matthew is explaining what will happen during the Feast of Ingathering when God gathers his elect from the earth. The people who are left will not know the day that God is going to end the world - how would they? They refused to listen to the prophets or they would have known to watch the signs. Lord, thank you that your anger will only last a moment, but your favor lasts a lifetime. When we are tempted to be overwhelmed help us to remember that You have planned this from the beginning. Though there will be crying in the night season, you always bring rejoicing in the morning.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Read Ex. 21:22-23:13, Matt. 24:1-28, Ps. 29:1-11, Pr. 7:6-23 I love reading the different laws because it is sound judgment. The law makes everyone accountable for what they did and it teaches us how to respond to situations lawfully. We know that the law is spiritual according to Romans 7:14 so there is more to the law than what we see on the surface. Let’s take one of them and use it as an example. Ex. 22:6 says, “If a fire breaks out and spreads into thorn bushes so that it burns shocks of grain or standing grain or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make restitution.” “Fire”in scripture represents many things but in Proverbs 16:27 and 26:20, it represents gossip. Shocks of grain represent people in the dreams of Joseph. So if we put all that together it is telling us if someone starts a rumor and it spreads so that it destroys the reputation of one of more people, then the person who started the rumor should make restitution. They need to confess the truth and restore the reputation of the one/s they ruined. There were some laws the people themselves were responsible to make right and judge, but if you took advantage of a widow or an orphan, then God would personally avenge them. In Matthew, Jesus is giving his disciples a play by play of the events of the end. First there will be rumors of war, actual wars, famines, and earthquakes. Next, persecution and deception balanced with world-wide evangelism; then the abomination that causes desolation. Lastly, false prophets and false Christs will come on the scene. He ended it by warning them that He isn’t coming back secretly… all will see it! Lord, prepare us for the days ahead. You promised to give us strength and bless us with peace. Thank you!
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Read Ex. 19:16-21:21, Matt. 23:13-39, Ps. 28:1-9, Pr. 7:1-5 God appeared on the mountain exactly 50 days from the night they celebrated the Passover. This was the first feast of Pentecost, even though they didn’t know what Pentecost was. God would later give them the instructions when he told them about the feasts. A cloud came over the mountain, and there was a loud trumpet blast. The people and the mountain trembled while God descended on the top of the mountain in the form of fire. God spoke the ten commandments out loud which scared the people so much they begged that he talk to Moses and not them. Moses went on the mountain to get the rest. This was a precursor to the Pentecost after Jesus died. He had told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for his gift. It came on Pentecost as they were in the upper room praying. They became the mountain that God wanted to pour the thick presence of His spirit in. They trembled and the fire was on their heads. They went out and proclaimed the mighty words of God with power. This same Holy Spirit is available to all who believe. The Pharisees had tried to keep God’s presence from coming down to man because their hearts were evil, but God, through Jesus, made a way for all men to enter the door. Lord, help us to be a city set on a hill and a beacon of light to those who are lost, that they might find Jesus and be filled with His Holy Spirit.
Monday, February 3, 2014
Read: Ex. 17:8-19:15, Matt. 22:34-23:12, Ps. 27:7-14, Pr. 6:27-35 The Israelites had their first battle against the Amalikites, a nomadic tribe of people that didn’t want the children of Israel passing through their land. The Israelites won the battle by keeping Moses’ hands raised to heaven. Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro heard of what God was doing through Moses, and brought Zipporah and their two children to meet Moses in the wilderness. Their first born was Gershom, which means “a stranger there” and their second son was called Eliazer which means “God of help”. They were a stranger in the land and God was there to help them. When Jethro saw the hours Moses stood and judged the people, he gave him a better plan: to appoint godly men to judge over small groups and leave the big problems to Moses. In the third month, Sivan and fourteenth day they reached the mountain of Sinai. They were to cleanse themselves because on the third day, God was going to come down from heaven and meet with them. They were not to touch the mountain or come near until they heard the ram’s horn blast. While Moses is about to go and get the 10 Commandments, Matthew is giving us the two most important. The Sadduceses, and Pharisees collaborated, which I’m sure was not a normal thing, and tried to trick Jesus. They asked him what he thought was the greatest commandment in the law hoping to trick him. Jesus told them that to love God with all your heart was the first and the second was like it: to love your neighbor as yourself. Every time they tried to level Him, they were made the fool. They finally wised up and quit. Then Jesus let them have it. He didn’t mince any feelings but exposed the hypocrisy of the Sadducees and Pharasees and told the people that there was one teacher, the Christ. Lord, teach us your way and help us to be strong in You.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Ex. 15:19-17:7, Matt. 22:1-33, Ps. 27:1-6, Pr. 6:20 God spoke in parables in the Old Testament just like Jesus did in the New. The Lord rained down bread from heaven for the children of Israel and in the New Testament Jesus, the bread of life come down from heaven to walk upon earth. He is sufficient for every day and we don’t have to worry about the next day. His mercies will be new every morning just as the manna was new every morning, except the Sabbath. Obedience was the key. God made some manna to last for a day, some to last two days, and some to be put in a jar and last for generations. He’s got our needs covered. When the water was bitter, God instructed Moses to put a piece of wood into the water and the water would become sweet. The wooden cross took the bitterness out of sin and made grace sweet. When the children of Israel had no water and thought they would die, God told Moses to take strike a rock and water would come out. Jesus is the rock and from his side flowed water and blood. This blood gave us eternal life. The parable in Matthew was of a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. The ones invited all had excuses why they couldn’t come, so the father told the servants to go to anyone they could find and compel them to come. One man showed up with out the required wedding garments and he was thrown into the darkness. God has prepared a wedding for his son, Jesus, and we are all invited, but we have to be wearing the blood of Jesus as our covering or we will be thrown into hell. I love it when the Pharisees try to trap Jesus with their parables. It never works and they end up the ones running away with their tails between their legs. Lord, we praise You because you hide us in the shelter of Your tabernacle and set us high upon a rock.