Daily Devotional Week 19 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (Numbers 15-16)

Daily Devotional

Week 19 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (Numbers 15-16)

The Rebellion of Korah, The Judgment on the Rebels, The Atonement for the Rebellion

The people were gathered into a large bowl-shaped area near an overhang of rocky cliff which functioned as a natural auditorium.

The elderly teacher used a portable amplifier, provided by the host government, to be certain that everyone could hear him – without a need to shout.

He took them back to the time of Moses, after the people’s fear had caused them to miss their opportunity to enter the promised land – and some of them tried to scapegoat Moses and Aaron.

Korath, of the tribe of Levi, gathered 250 men to accuse Moses and Aaron of taking too much authority.

Moses uttered an ‘imprecatory prayer’, asking the Lord to not accept their offering and therefore withhold forgiveness – to cause them to receive the full punishment of the law for their sin.

God separated-out the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Moses declared that his authority from God would be known when those who challenged him died a sudden and unnatural death. God opened the ground and it swallowed them – then He sent flames like fire out to kill all of the 250 who had rebelled.

The people accused Moses of killing the men and spoke disrespectfully and rebelliously against Moses and Aaron. God instructed Moses to move away from the people so that He could strike them all dead.

Moses sent Aaron to make atonement for them – as he pleaded with the Lord, a plague had already begun. 14,700 people died before Aaron could place the incense upon the coals in their midst.

Rebellion against Moses was rebellion against God’s authority and the rebels had to be removed from the population.

Dear Lord, The attacks on Moses and Aaron were precursors to the attacks upon Jesus. May I not challenge the authority of Jesus, nor of the indwelling Holy Spirit, through overt disobedience and/or subtle disrespect for the clear and life-changing meaning found in Your Word. Please show me where I have rebelled against legitimate authority – because they are holding me accountable for the consequences of my choices. I will confess my sin and repent. I will humbly submit to the legitimate authority which is delivering chastisement for my sin. Perhaps a bosses-sanction for carelessness or laziness, a business assessing a fine or penalty for some element of a contract, a law enforcement officer enforcing the law (e.g. a traffic offense), a parent punishing a child for disrespect or disobedience, a politician challenging those who misuse power for selfish ends, a regulator enforcing rules, a pastor/elder holding me accountable to the Bible, or a teacher punishing cheating or misbehavior or sloth. Discipline is part of discipleship. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 19 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (Numbers 13)

Daily Devotional

Week 19 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (Numbers 13)

Spies Sent Out, The Spies’ Instructions, The Spies’ Activities, The Spies’ Reports

The people were now a days travel from the huge abandoned development that the host country had promised them as a new home.

Mikal and Saree gathered the elders and each chose a person from those over whom they had responsibility to go on ahead to check if things were safe and ready for them there.

When they returned they first talked about the beautiful homes, the central park area with a small lake, the nicely paved road, and the landscaping and gardens.

Then they talked about the people who were living there and everyone was surprised – this was supposed to be an empty development – abandoned because the associated factory was never built.

They said the people looked scruffy and tough, they all seemed to carry weapons (guns and knives), and they had families with them. Cars, trucks and vans seemed to be constantly coming and going – checking in at the gatehouse then at the community building by the lake.

The ten who had investigated were afraid and they began to spread that fear to others.

Mikal and Saree immediately guessed that drug gangs had discovered and squatted in the development promised to them. They wondered what might have happened to the caretakers assigned to the property by the host government.

Two in the group spoke up. Both had briefly served in the military back home, she was also a nurse, and he was a teacher. They tried to encourage the people, saying “We can contact the host country, they can chase-off the drug gangs, and together we can work this out.”

Even as they spoke the fear and rumors continued to spread.

When have you been wrestled with your own uncertainty, or that of others, in doing what God asked of you? Did you hesitate? Why?

Dear Lord, You never make a promise that You fail to keep, and You never send us where we cannot – in Your power – prevail. No matter the challenge may I never doubt Your promises. Please show me where I am seeing a challenge though my human eyes and not the eyes of the almighty God. I will prayerfully submit to the Holy Spirit’s vision of my world. I will bring my doubts and fears to You. I will accept whatever challenge You place before me – without any doubt that You are able. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 18 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (Numbers 12)

Daily Devotional

Week 18 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (Numbers 12)

Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses, The Response of the Lord, The Intercession of Moses

One of the elders and his wife challenged the leadership of Mikal and Saree, accusing them of being too heavy-handed, and of not allowing the people to vote on major decisions.

Mikal and Saree were disappointed that rebellion would come from among the elders so they halted the journey, asked the elders to spread word that there had been a challenge to their leadership, and asked everyone to pray for the Lord to make His will known to the elders.

After two days of prayer the wife of the rebellious elder began to act strangely, avoiding contact with the other people, shouting-out incoherent words, and throwing dust in the air. This was reported to Mikal and Saree who asked the elders to gather around her and her husband – and to pray for healing.

The odd behavior lessened briefly, then returned. The now-frightened rebellious elder confessed his sin of rebellion, asked for forgiveness, and begged Mikal and Saree to pray for his obviously demon-harassed wife. They did so and the demons departed – at which time she confessed to reading a book about the occult she had found in the old mining village – opening the door to the Enemy. She requested and received forgiveness.

Mikal and Saree asked the elders to send out word that anyone possessing anything similar cast it upon a bonfire – and several did – so with the purging complete they prayed and their journey continued.

When have you challenged someone with spiritual authority, about something that – upon reflection – was petty (or simply incorrect), and later regretted it?

Dear Lord, Please lead me to repentance if I am improperly challenging the authority of a Biblically-appointed leader who is not violating the Bible. The person may be a coach/mentor, a counselor, an elder, a parent, a secular authority (government), a teacher, or in some other role. If I am the one being wrongly-attacked I will repent if I have responded with rage or depression to an improper challenge to my authority. A false attack is not truly an attack on me but upon You – and it reveals a lack of humility in me that I take such attacks personally. I will allow You to handle the situation and I will stand humbly before You – not reacting sinfully to the accuser. I will share the circumstances with a mature fellow Believer, ask them to pray in-agreement with me for wisdom, and I will ask them to hold me accountable for walking with a humble heart that rests in You. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 18 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (Numbers 11)

Daily Devotional

Week 18 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (Numbers 11)

The Israelites Complain, The Lord’s Response

As the journey continued the people missed their temporary homes in the old mining town and began complaining – and word of their complaints reached Mikal and Saree – who prayed and asked God how they should respond.

Several of those encouraging the complaints decided to camp together apart from the rest one evening and during the night they all had terrifying dreams – so terrifying that they cried-out to the elders for help. The elders took the problem to Mikal and Saree. They agreed that it was clearly demonic harassment and instructed the elders to chastise the group for their rebellion and to instruct them to confess, repent, and seek the Lord God’s forgiveness. Once they cleared their consciences the elders would pray with them against the demons to send them away.

The group responded as instructed and the demon-inspired nightmares ceased.

Later on in their travels another group stated to complain that the food was boring, unlike home, or the old mining town – where they had grown some fresh vegetables, raised chickens, and hunted

Mikal and Saree instructed the elders to advise the complainers that if they wanted variety they had three options; the first would be to return to their old homes (plagued by genocidal violence), another would be to return to the old mining town (plagued with pollution), or to hunt and eat whatever they could find along the journey (risking illness).

Some choose to hunt and eat rabbits, rodents, and snakes along the way and many took ill – then pleaded with the elders to pray for healing – which they did and the sickness went away.

Since there was no good way for the elderly teacher to gather the people some groups popped up in the evenings and teachers took up where he left off. Some of the elders complained to the elderly teacher as well as Mikal and Saree – who instructed them to begin their own small groups – and to encourage the others to continue their efforts.

Dear Lord, You owe us nothing and we owe You everything. Please show me where I have a heart of demandingness where I am not content but am instead demanding of You. Perhaps it is for more money, better looks, a new car, a different home, a mate or a different mate, different food than the budget allows, a better or different job, easier work, easier school work (if a student), more toys, less responsibilities, more recognition, etc. I agree to trust You to give me what is healthy for me – and to keep the rest from me, and to not concern myself again with the absence of what You do not provide. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 18 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (Numbers 10)

Daily Devotional

Week 18 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (Numbers 10)

The Blowing of Trumpets, The Journey From Sinai to Kadesh, Judah Begins the Journey, Journey Arrangements for the Tribes, The Appeal to Hobab

The elderly teacher called Mikal and Saree to the front and they announced to the people that the time had come for them to begin their travels again. Some cheered, some groaned, but all knew that remaining, due to the health-hazards, was not a wise choice.

The elderly teacher asked the people “Look at these three tools; one is a compass, one a map, and the third is a GPS. While a GPS is generally the easiest to use it is good to have the skill to use a compass and a map. God was like a GPS to the people but He chose to use Hobab to guide them to good camping locations. We will have all three of these tools for our travels but we will still rely upon the Lord to guide and protect us.”

The teens had found and repaired several handheld radios and wired some small solar panels (attached to the top of backpacks) to keep them charged. These would be used to keep the whole group informed of detail related to their travels.

He continued “In our daily lives the Holy Spirit tells us when to move and when to stand. He also brings alongside the people and resources that we truly need. We trust His guidance, we are watchful for His signals, and we remain alert to His provision. When we wonder what the Lord wants of us – we are to pray, read His Word, and trust that He has the perfect plan. For our lives ”

Dear Lord, Please reveal to me an opportunity to serve as Your instrument of guidance to other Believers. I will gratefully and unreservedly surrender to Your leadership, to Your directives, and I will remain humble and teachable – like Moses – when You send others to assist with Your mission. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 18 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Numbers 9)

Daily Devotional

Week 18 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Numbers 9)

Passover Regulations, The Leading of the Lord

The elderly teacher reminded the people “Not so long ago we left our home because it was no longer safe there. We traveled here on our way to a new permanent home among people who share our faith. Where we are we cannot remain for long – we are like the Israelites – it was for them two years since their exodus from Egypt.”

The people nodded in acknowledgment of the parallels.

He continued “One of the things God emphasized was the keeping of the Passover remembrance of God’s final plague that set them free. Those who carelessly missed, or who simply ignored the Passover out of disrespectful-rebellion, were to be dis-fellowshipped as they would create division.”

The people again nodded in understanding.

“However” he said “God is perfectly-just, so that if a person happened to be ceremonially unclean at the time of the Passover celebration, or were traveling, they would be allowed a special Passover celebration 4 weeks later. He also provided that a resident foreigner would be allowed to celebrate the Passover.”

Many of the people spoke out “God is awesome”, and “Praise God”, and “He is wonderful”.

The elderly teacher smiled and said “Amen” then continued “God calls us to various times-apart such as these teaching sessions, group worship, small groups, one-on-one fellowship, private prayer and Bible study, and more. Are you tempted to avoid those times? Do you allow yourself to be ‘too busy’? Is that any different, in terms of obedience to God, than an Israelite disobeying His call to the Passover? Tell God right now that you will put Him first in your daily schedule. Amen?”

And the people cried-out “Amen!”

Dear Lord, You understand our circumstances and You make a way for us to meet Your expectations – whether it was in the OT celebration of the Passover or today when life challenges us with what sometimes seem to be impossible situations. May I never doubt that You know, You care, and You will make a way. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 18 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (Numbers 6 – 8)

Daily Devotional

Week 18 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (Numbers 6 – 8)

The Nazirite Vow, Preparing the Levites for Service, Aaron’s Priestly Prayer

The elderly teacher asked “Does anyone know what blessing from the book of Numbers is echoed in nine different places in the New Testament?”

The people looked at one-another and shook their heads in wonderment.

He said “I’ll get back to that but first I’d like to explain the context of the blessings found in Numbers.”

He began “The Lord had challenged them with many regulations and He also wanted to encourage them. He created the Nazarite Vow for a man or a woman to choose to voluntarily retreat and “cleanse” for a time (typically 30 to 100 days). It seems remarkable that either gender could make the choice, given what we often think about ancient customs, but it was so.”

“There were a number of special restrictions and requirements,” he continued “they must drink no wine or strong drink, neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from strong drink, nor any juice of grapes, or fresh grapes or raisins. All the days of separation they could not eat anything produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin. It was believed that this limitation was symbolic of their sacrifice as grape products were a staple of their diet.”

“And if you thought that was a lot, there’s more.” he said. “None of the hair on their bodies could be cut, and they could not contact a dead body, not even that of a close relative who died suddenly.”

“One last perspective” he added, “only a few cases are mentioned in the Bible and they include Manoah’s wife, who took the vow while pregnant with Samson, Paul, who took the vow together with four others, and Samson and John the Baptist – the only ones called from birth under the vow.”

He then said, “One more note. The Levites, the tribe set-apart for service in the Tabernacle, worked from the age of 25 to 50. After 50 they could assist others but could not do the work themselves.”

“And no, I didn’t forget”, he smiled, “Here is the priestly blessing God gave to Aaron for the people

The Lord bless you and protect you;

The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

“You may find echoes of this in the closing benediction of Jude 24–25 and Paul’s greetings in 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Phil.1:2; 2 Thess. 1:2, 1 Thess. 1:1, Titus 1:4.”

Dear Lord, Aaron’s prayer was a message about Your love, not a guarantee that no-matter-what choices the people made, such would be done. I will read it three times a day today, meditate, and listen for Your encouragement to live rightly before my Lord – Who loves me. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 18 Day 2 OT (chronological) Monday (Numbers 5)

Daily Devotional

Week 18 Day 2

OT (chronological)

Monday (Numbers 5)

Separation of the Unclean, Restitution for Sin, The Jealousy Ordeal

The elderly teacher asked “If I were actively engaged in sin, say I was a known thief, would you want me to be teaching you?”

The people looked at one-another, puzzled.

He continued “Whenever a person commits a sin against another person they must first commit a sin against God.”

The people continued to be puzzled – wondering where the teacher was going with this line of thought.

He declared “Every Believer has agreed to submit to the authority of God. When we choose to sin we must first fail a test – choosing to side with the Enemy and against God through our fleshy lusts – thus allowing a circumstance to become a temptation, and then we sin against another by acting-out our sin.”

The people nodded their heads in understanding – then they shook their heads and looked down, as they realized what they had done – sinning against both God and man.

The elderly teacher comforted them, reminding them that though the lepers (and others deemed “unclean”) were cast outside the camp, the Lord God had provided a way back in the teaching recorded in Leviticus 14.

For most – sin restoration required confession, repentance, and reparations to the one they offended, if that person was unavailable then to a close relative, and lacking that to the high priest.

The “bitter water” test was applied to one accused of marital infidelity. Guilt resulted in physical deformity, pain, and shunning. This removed the terrible harm to the community that gossip and jealousy, inspired by the enemy, could cause.

The elderly teacher concluded “All sin poisons the heart, confuses the mind, harms ones walk, and pollutes relationships with the Lord and with others.”

Dear Lord, Please reveal to me a place where I am jealous and have not known how to resolve that toxic situation. I will confess and repent of the anger, bitterness, and/or depression this has caused me, as well as any harm to others. Please also reveal a place when I have sinned and need You to reconcile that before You and any whom I have offended. I will accept Your forgiveness and healing. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 18 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (Numbers 1 – 4)

Daily Devotional

Week 18 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (Numbers 1 – 4)

The Census, God Purchases the Levites, The Tabernacle Assignments

The elderly teacher asked the people “Do you know that you are priests, like Aaron and the Levites?”

The people looked at one-another and asked “We are? How can that be?”

He continued “You have been called-apart. It happened when you accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation and you surrendered to His Lordship. When Jesus returned to Heaven He promised to send another – which was the Person of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He now dwells in you – which makes you the caretaker of His Tabernacle.”

That had the people buzzing.

He reminded them “Everything belonged to God. He then set a value upon the Levites as He called them apart to care for His Tabernacle. Jesus paid your price for entry into Heaven.”

He further explained “The Book of Numbers records a period of history in the travels of the Israelites through the eyes of theology, the Law, and God’s provision. There is a similar record of Your life – with a slightly different emphasis.”

Again the people looked at one-another, and asked “There is? What does that mean?”

The elderly teacher continued “While Numbers tells the story of the organization of this moving-city of around a million people, how they would transport and maintain the tabernacle, and how they would interact with God through the covenant to which they had agreed – your story is about your life and how you live-out God’s plan for you.”

He concluded with the challenge “How will you arrange your life and priorities so that you, like the Levites, make God’s service your constant priority?”

Dear Lord, I praise You for allowing me to be a part of Your plan. I will prepare myself as You direct, I will serve with a heart of joy and with an eye to excellence, and I will humbly make myself continuously-valuable in Your service. I will be Your vessel. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 17 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (Leviticus 24:10 – 27)

Daily Devotional

Week 17 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (Leviticus 24:10 – 27)

A Case of Blaspheming the Name, Life for life, Regulations, Obedience, Restoration through Confession and Repentance

The elderly teacher concluded his teaching from Leviticus, saying “The Lord God had amazing plans to bless the Israelites – and He has amazing plans to bless you. However, please observe carefully, that the pathways of His blessing are found – in your obedience to Him.”

In order to teach the Israelites to respect life and to not be bullies the Lord God used an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth principle of consequences – for impetuous or venal actions against another person. The Israelites were rescued from slavery in Egypt by the Lord God, and were bound to Him through the covenant; therefore, an attack on a fellow Israelite was an attack on His family.

Disrespect and ridicule are methods used to diminish the credibility and influence of a person. To prevent the devil from using misuse of the Lord’s Name (to undermine the Lord God’s effectiveness), during the formative times of the new OT covenant Israel, the response had to be unmistakably strong.

The Lord God consistently made arrangements for the poor to participate fully in Israelite commerce and society. He also made arrangements to enable those who temporarily fell upon hard times to be restored to full freedom within the community.

The Lord God repeated in layers of systems (the sacrificial system, the rules and regulations of their business and interpersonal lives, and the contrast between blessing and curse based on their obedience), and also in a variety of ways (demonstrations of power, withheld judgment, His finger of writing on the stone tablets) His simple message of hope and promise – all predicated on the keeping of the covenant to which Israel had agreed – to be priest-led and to live holy before a God Who wanted to bless them.

We must repent of careless language and/or careless conduct that brings disrespect or ridicule to the Lord’s Name because we are His children. It may be words we know that we should not use but which have become a habit, clothes that we wear that are inappropriate for a Christian, practices that we indulge which are contrary to His moral will, or dabbling in other religious which we know to be in conflict with Biblical Christianity. Our rebellion may be cheating, lying, laziness, disrespect, neglect of responsibilities to others, neglect of our relationship with God, idolatry of self, idolatry of others, etc. Every sin is an act of rebellion, even when that sin persists in the heart and is never realized in the external flesh.

Dear Lord, Your name is neither a secret nor is it forbidden to speak or to write, but it is to be honored and respected because You are the One true and holy God. Please transform me so that I am a cleaner and more useful vessel for You to use to pour-out Your love into this world. May all that I do and say in Your name bring only praise to You. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 17 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (Leviticus 21 – 24:9)

Daily Devotional

Week 17 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (Leviticus 21 – 24:9)

Rules for the Priests

The elderly teacher challenged the people “Do you live intentionally? Or, do you rush from one activity to another, from one fad to the next, from entertainment to work and back to entertainment?”

He reminded them that every detail of God’s rules for the ancient priests and for the people had meaning and purpose. The new covenant was somewhat foreign to the Israelites, thus God wisely provided for them great detail and many moments wherein which to reinforce its importance in their lives.

“You must not present anything that has a flaw, because it will not be acceptable for your benefit.”

“You must be sure to do my commandments. I am the Lord.”

“You must not profane my holy name”

“the Lord’s appointed times, holy assemblies, which you must proclaim at their appointed time”

“you must bring the sheaf of the first portion of your harvest to the priest”

With all of the detail of all of the religious activities the lives of the Israelites was deeply infused with an awareness of the presence of God, their dependence upon Him, and their obligations to Him. This was essential to the covenant to which they had agreed.

When have you discovered that without a regular, not necessarily rigid – but not careless either – time set apart for God that you drifted into a benign neglect of your relationship with Him?

Dear Lord, While there are no longer priests and highly-regulated religious events and sacrifices You are still holy. Since I am the ‘tabernacle’ of Your Holy Spirit may my life be lived increasingly-holy before You. Please show me where I have become either too ritualized or too careless about my time with the You, Your Word, and Your people. Help me to intentionally act to assure that I have a daily time apart with You, that I gather regularly with Your people to celebrate, encourage, learn, and pray, and that I will otherwise build for myself a system that keeps awareness of You ever before me. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 17 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (Leviticus 19 – 20)

Daily Devotional

Week 17 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (Leviticus 19 – 20)

Religious and Social Regulations

The elderly teacher asked the people “What do you think of these guidelines for living?”

Do not slander others

Do not seek vengeance.

Defend a brother in danger.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Do “… not hate your brother in your heart.”

Do not bear a grudge against a fellow Believer.

Deal honestly with one another, no cheating or lying.

Warn a brother who has stumbled so that you do not share in his guilt.

Parents, no matter how poor, do not cause your daughter to be a prostitute.

Do not decorate yourselves to draw attention with odd styles, and do not be tattoo-ed.

Treat foreigners respectfully, when they are welcomed guests, but don’t make the Trojan Horse error [not
knowing
those with whom you associate and trust among you].

Avoid witchcraft; no divining [asking spirits to
show where wells should be], no trying to communicate with the dead, no fortune telling, and be respectful to angels and elders.

And practical advice:

Do not mix different seed in the same field.

Do not wear a garment made of two different kinds of fabric. [There are significant moisture-management differences
between fabrics like cotton and wool – in their primitive
environment unmanaged moisture could have led to illness.]

Do not allow two different kinds of your animals to breed [e.g. donkey and horse because they produce the mule
which
cannot reproduce].

The Lord God’s consistency is obvious throughout the Bible and His practical advice perfect.

Dear Lord, Please remind me daily of Your holiness and of my responsibility to live holy before You. May the influences of witchcraft, or anything like it, never be found in my home – or anywhere else where I have authority. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 17 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Leviticus 16 – 18)

Daily Devotional

Week 17 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Leviticus 16 – 18)

The Day of Atonement

The elderly teacher asked the people “Do you know the meaning of the word, scapegoat?” to which they replied “Yes!”.

He asked them “Do you remember the way things were in the story of Genesis, before the Fall?” and they again replied “Yes!”

The he said “Let’s connect the two as we look at God’s regulations for the Day of Atonement and for marriage relationships.”

We have a modern term for one who bears the iniquities of another “scapegoat”. Much of the attack upon the Israelites then, Jews over history, and Christians today – as well as the very nature of a sustainable civilization – comes in the form of the rebellious promotion of the values God forbade in Leviticus 18.

Many pagan rituals, then and now, included and include the ritual drinking of blood. The notion was to imagine the gaining of some sort of power, or the transfer of some sort of spiritual presence, all of which was in opposition to the teaching of the Lord God.

When Aaron made the sacrifice of atonement he did so for himself, his family, and for all of the people. The high priest was never set apart by the Lord God as somehow above the people in his imperfections – nor his need to make appropriate sacrifices to God.

The Lord God required that blood not be eaten. He also required that when a wild animal or bird was killed for food its blood be poured out and covered with dirt. This was both a matter of health and of teaching a powerful symbolic message about the source of life – a symbolism that was used for understanding of the work of Jesus on the Cross.

The gene pool had been significantly degraded by this time due to the Fall and inter-marriage within the Israelite nation was many hundreds of years old, thus marriage to close relatives created the risk of multiplying serious genetic defects.

For everything the focal point was their right standing before a holy God. All of these forbidden acts were against His design from the Creation and each therefore represented a rebellion by those who according to the covenant were to be holy.

Dear Lord, Please show me where the lines are being blurred between the clear message of the Bible that God is the source of life, and that all life belongs to him, and pagan teachings that imply God-like power in the hands of humans – and in spiritual-beings other than God. Show me where I may be compromising with a false teaching or drifting into some kind of idolatry. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 17 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (Leviticus 11 – 15)

Daily Devotional

Week 17 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (Leviticus 11 – 15)

Clean and Unclean Creatures, Ritual Cleanliness and Uncleanliness, Purification Rituals

The elderly teacher asked the people “How many times has the food you’ve eaten made you ill? How much more common was that while we were traveling rather than when we were home or here?”

He continued “We are but one thousand but imagine one million! How much more difficult to manage food acquisition, handling, and disposal? What about the spread of disease between people?”

He reminded them that the ancient Israelites had little understanding of the relationship between health, sickness, and their diet (and were also in an unfamiliar region), but God did and He provided guidelines as to which creatures were to be avoided. The Lord is never arbitrary or random. Despite the ravages of the Fall the human body was still perfectly understood by the Lord God.

God provided Moses with a list of living things that may and may not be eaten ‘This is the kind of creature you may eat from among all the animals …

There were two reasons for this list; one was because He knew which animals were healthy and unhealthy (and which, absent modern refrigeration, would turn bad quickly), and the other was part of the larger plan to teach the people to make a choice to walk obediently in all things – even what they ate.

He pointed out that earlier in the Old Testament the Lord God specified the correct age for a child’s circumcision – modern studies show that the eighth day of life is when Vitamin K levels, a natural clotting agent, peaks in a child. The Israelites could not have known this – but the Lord did.

He reminded them that the Lord God addressed the management of diseased infections in a scientifically-sound, for the ancient context, manner – consistent with His treatment of foods early childhood care.

Finally, he challenged them to make a list of things that they chose to avoid because they were “unclean”, which meant (in the new covenant sense), things that didn’t build them up in Christ and were also a poor witness to the One Who dwelt within them. He encouraged them to celebrate those things with a fellow Christian, to add one new thing to that list, then to intentionally avoid that as well. [Things
to consider were a nagging health
problem
related to something
they were
doing (or failing to do),
something
they
were tak
ing into
their
bodies
(breathing, drinking, or
eating),
or activities in which they
were
engaged that created health risks
.]

Dear Lord, Please reveal to me the clean and unclean things that enter my body daily, not just through my mouth but through all of my activities and senses. Please show me how I should alter my activities, diet, or other health-related choices. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 17 Day 2 OT (chronological) Monday (Leviticus 8 – 10)

Daily Devotional

Week 17 Day 2

OT (chronological)

Monday (Leviticus 8 – 10)

Ordination of the Priests, Offerings, Perpetual Statutes the Lord Spoke

The elderly leader said to the people “Picture this in your minds. Aaron brings the first offering into the new Tabernacle and God’s fire consumed it.”

Then he asked them “Ho do you respond when you fix or make something and your efforts are successful, or you’re playing some game and do exceptionally well, or you’re watching someone else complete a challenging task? Do you clap your hands, pump your fist, or shout Amen?”

He continued “The ancient Israelites ‘shouted loudly and fell down with their faces to the ground.’” because the Lord God had accepted their sacrifice – covering their sin. Jesus covers our sin – can we ever praise and thank Him enough?

We still sin and we still need forgiveness – right versus wrong, respectful versus disrespectful, righteous versus unrighteous, wise versus unwise are all defined by the Lord God and we violate those boundaries at our peril.

Our lives, all day every day, are to be our sacrifice to Him.

Have you made a commitment to the Lord to be in His Word, to dedicate your work to His glory, and to make your walk honoring to Him? How are you doing? When have you observed someone who had violated a custom, a law, a regulation, or a rule and was confronted with that? Did it cause you to be more careful?

Dear Lord, You alone are the object of our praise and worship, we humble ourselves before You. May I be found subservient to You – neither honoring or praising any deceptive exhibition of power from a human or spiritual source. Your Word is sovereign. When You act in judgment of a wrong we must trust Your perfect holiness and never doubt Your righteousness. May I never-forget Who You are. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 17 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (Leviticus 1 – 7)

Daily Devotional

Week 17 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (Leviticus 1 – 7)

Sacrificial Regulations

The elderly leader asked the people “Imagine for a moment that you can give a something to God – something that He would find an acceptable gift.”

He then asked “When you commit a crime (a sin) against God – would you like to know how to pay a ‘fine’ and be forgiven?”

He then pressed them even further “What if your crime against God was unintentional, but the Law said that didn’t matter, you were still guilty – wouldn’t it be great to have a way out of trouble?”

He reminded them that when the Israelites, like them, were traveling from a bad place to a better place they were under the Law of God – every crime under His Law required punishment or sacrifice – every single one.

Back then grace came in the form of the sacrificial system, a perfectly-proportional system that matched the violation to the sacrifice.

In order to be certain that offerings came with the heart of Abel rather than that of Cain the Lord God set some high standards.

When have you had to resist the temptation to give God the leftovers of your gifts, your money, and/or your time? When have you unintentionally sinned? How have you made peace with God about that? When have you sinned against a Christian, one who has been set-apart by the Lord God as His child, and had a clear sense in the moment – or later on – that the sin was even more grievous before a holy God?

Dear Lord, Show me where I need to pay closer attention to my heart-condition when approaching You in praise, prayer, study, and worship. Show me where, due to my carelessness and/or ignorance (lack of knowledge or understanding of the Bible or of my circumstances) that I have sinned unintentionally. Teach me how to give You the best and/or first of my gifts, my money, and my time – not merely my leftovers. I confess my sin, repenting (turning away from) that sin, and ask – and accept – Your forgiveness. Help me to alter my daily walk in such ways as to avoid the repetition of those sins. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 16 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (Exodus 36:8 – 40)

Daily Devotional

Week 16 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (Exodus 36:8 – 40)

The Building of the Tabernacle, The Making of the Ark of the Covenant, The Making of the Table, The Making of the Lampstand, The Making of the Altar of Incense, The Making of the Altar for the Burnt Offering, The Construction of the Courtyard, The Materials of the Construction, The Ephod, The Breastpiece of Decision, The Other Garments, Moses Inspects the Sanctuary, Setting Up the Sanctuary,

The elderly teacher asked the people to imagine 2,000 pounds of gold and 3.75 tons of silver – because that is what was used in the Tabernacle.

The detailed, ornate, and valuable nature of design and content of the Tabernacle required the finest artisans and materials and the highest attention to excellence as befitted The King of Kings.

Even “Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

God then used the tabernacle as the ancient version of a GPS and a travel schedule “But when the cloud was lifted up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on all their journeys; but if the cloud was not lifted up, then they would not journey further until the day it was lifted up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, but fire would be on it at night, in plain view of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

God chose a date that would now be our February 1st to open His Tabernacle – but now we are the tabernacle of His Holy Spirit.

The elderly teacher asked them “When have you been blessed to create something for God’s service? How were you energized and inspired to know that the Lord God intended to use your handiwork in His ministry? When have you experienced a sense of God’s special presence in your life?

Dear Lord, Please show me where I can apply the gifts You’ve given me to Your ministry. I will be Your tool of excellence to accomplish anything You place before me – if it is prayer for others because my circumstances limit my physical activity then I will pray earnestly, if it is the use of my voice to teach, my hands to write, or my body to create and work – I will do it all with excellence because ultimately I am doing it for You. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 16 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (Exodus 35:4 – 36:7)

Daily Devotional

Week 16 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (Exodus 35:4 – 36:7)

Willing Workers

The elderly teacher reminded the people that the Lord God has a place for everyone, with a willing heart, in His ministry to a lost and dying world.

All of the people were encouraged to bring resources and talents to the construction of the tabernacle, they were motivated (externally) by the Holy Spirit (as they responded rightly to His prompting), and they were gifted with resources and talents by God (they had already been gifted with possessions from Egypt).

The text was carefully qualified, then it was accurately rendered from the original ancient language into modern English, with the phrases “willing spirits”, “willing hearts”, “freewill offering”.

“All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.” (James 1:17)

The response among the Israelites was so overwhelming that in verses 36:5-7 Moses had to ask them to stop as the project had more than it needed.

The Lord allowed everyone, male or female, to have a part in the construction of His Tabernacle.

If we will adjust our schedules, and perhaps our attitudes, then the gifts the Lord God has given us will be available for use in His service.

Dear Lord, Please use Your Holy Spirit in me to show me where I have a gift or a resource from You that you desire to make useful somewhere in Your ministry. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 16 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (Exodus 34:1 – 35:3)

Daily Devotional

Week 16 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (Exodus 34:1 – 35:3)

The New Tablets of the Covenant, The Radiant Face of Moses, Sabbath Regulations

The elderly teacher asked the people “Have you ever been given a second chance?”

He then reminded them that the Israelites had dodged the bullet of God’s just-anger, due to their idolatry, and now were being offered, through Moses, a second chance.

God renewed His self-definition as “The Lord, the Lord,” or “I am that I am” to which he added the detail “… the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger [allowing
time for repentance], and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.”

Moses remained with God for 40 days and nights and was completely sustained by God as he did not take food or water.

Moses came down from the mountain and the glow on his face, from nearness to the Lord God frightened the people, but they drew near when he called them and he shared what God had said.

The Lord God required, and communicated to the Israelites once again through Moses, the importance of the Sabbath rest. It may be helpful to think of the Sabbath rest as resting from the world and in the Lord God. During the Sabbath rest all things were intentionally focused on God and all things that were a distraction from that were forbidden.

The people were not to be immobile on the Sabbath; they did not rest from eating or drinking, walking or talking, breathing or loving, healing or helping – all activities that may have been used in their day-to-day worldly work – a fire in the fireplace or oven was not a problem on the Sabbath but kindling one anew was – because the process of kindling was too distracting – people were expected to be prepared for the Sabbath so that such activities were unnecessary. The fire should have been tended in such a manner prior to the Sabbath that it may have needed feeding but not newly kindled. Given the change of weather and the poorly insulated Bedouin-like portable homes of the Israelites there would be times when they would need heat against the cold (potentially below freezing during Winter nights in the desert).

Dear Lord, You are “… the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” please help me to be more intentional about time apart with You, a weekly time apart gathered-together with Believers, and opportunities to use the resources and talents You have given me to bless fellow Believers. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 16 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Exodus 33:7-23)

Daily Devotional

Week 16 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Exodus 33:7-23)

The Presence of the Lord

The elderly teacher then led the people to confront powerfully the difference between a perfectly-holy God, like a refining fire, and everything in the fallen world, like dried grass.

He reminded them that God had warned that he could not come among them as He’d destroy them due to their chronic rebellion.

So Moses set up a tent between the camp and the tabernacle where he served as the intermediary for the people with God. God met with Moses there.

Then Moses asked to see more of the presence of God than he had previously, God agreed but warned that Moses could only see a shadow of His passing – as no man may see God (in his fallen state prior to Heaven) and live.

If we are to survive and thrive we cannot have a small and slightly-bigger-than-humankind God – we must have an extraordinary and powerful God of perfection at every level.

Dear Lord, Help me to be humble before You, to never ignore You, to question You never and to make You my forever. May Your Holy Spirit keep me in awe of You all day and every day, may that awe translate to a desperate desire to serve You with all that I am, that I say, and that I do. Amen. dmc2015