Today’s Bible reading: Leviticus 25:47-27:13; Mark 10:32-52; Psalm 45:1-17; Proverbs 10:22
The concept of buying back fellow Israelites, as mentioned in Leviticus 25:49, is another aspect of Jewish society put into place by God to foreshadow the coming of Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross and spent 3 days in hell He was “purchasing” the freedom of all who believe in Him. Without Christ, every single person ever conceived owes a debt they cannot pay due to their sinfulness. But by dying and going to hell, Jesus (who was God) paid that debt and those who believe in Him will have their “accounts settled” by God. In other words, the debt has been paid and the person can go free just like in Leviticus 25:49. Isn’t that awesome? God is not only the one against whom we have sinned but He is also the judge. Yet, He is also the one who pays our penalty for the sins we committed against Him. God has gone to great lengths to set us free from the penalty of sin. I hope you will take Him up on His offer.
Leviticus 26 contains some very different promises to Israel based on their performance. If Israel follows God they will be incredibly blessed. If they do not, they will be incredibly cursed. Is God bi-polar? No. God’s purpose for Israel was to demonstrate who He is through them. God’s plan all along was to reconcile the entire world – Jew and Gentile – to Himself as stated at the beginning of this post. God wants all people to know about Him and believe in Him and be saved. It was through Israel that God was going to do this. Either way – if Israel obeyed or not – the world would see the power of God. The blessing were so extreme and the curses were so extreme that no one would be able to see what was happening to Israel and wonder what was going on. In this way the entire world would come to know God.
The best blessing of all is Leviticus 26:11-12. God was going to live among Israel. They would “host” God on earth. How cool was that? Talk about a guest of honor.
Notice how the punishments from God (Leviticus 26:14-43) gradually increase in strength. God is not looking for a single misstep when He can annihilate us. He simply tries to get our attention and remind us to get back on track. We have the free-will to choose to do so or not. If we decide not to, God will try a little harder to get our attention. I think we clearly see this happening in the United States today. It seems like we can never solve any of our problems before another problem pops up. Yet despite all the things going wrong we refuse to take notice of God and turn to Him. So God will turn up the heat a little more until one of two things happen: we finally turn back to Him or we collapse. As much as I am praying for the former, I can’t help but fear we are headed for the latter.
No matter what happens, though, God will never turn His back on us (Leviticus 26:44). He may allow us to be conquered and destroyed (something I think is a distinct possibility) but if that does happen He will keep His promise to love each and every person.
Today’s reading in Leviticus 27 describes the rules for “consecrating” someone to God. By this process someone dedicated himself or another person to live for God’s purpose. This would cost the person something so it was more than just words that could easily be broken. Anyone wishing to do this would have to consider the cost of doing so. I think God required payment to make sure that only the people who really wanted to do it would do it. Otherwise everyone would do it which would eliminate its meaning.
Notice that the age of majority in Israel appears to be 20 years old (Leviticus 27:3, 5). In our New Testament readings I have mentioned a couple of times that of Jesus’s 12 disciples all but Peter were probably teenagers (younger than 20).
Every word in the Bible has something to say Mark 10:32 is no exception. Here we see Jesus walking in front of His disciples on His way to Jerusalem. Jesus is going there to be executed. Nevertheless, He continues to lead His disciples knowing exactly what is ahead of Him. Its sad to think that Jesus was so brave in going to the cross for me, yet I am not nearly as brave when it comes to living for Him on this earth.
In Mark 10:33-34 Jesus tells His disciples what will happen to Him. They still thought He was the Messiah so for them to hear that He would be turned over to Rome – Israel’s enemy and oppressor – had to be very confusing for them.
Despite Jesus’s telling them what was going to happen the disciples still didn’t get it. James and John still apparently thought that Jesus was going to be setting up His earthly kingdom very soon so they ask to be his #1 and #2 assistants (Mark 10:37). Jesus replies by telling them that they will “drink from the same cup” as He but He was implying that they too would suffer just like Him. After Jesus dies, rises from the dead, and ascends into heaven, the disciples became persecuted for their faith. Records show that all but John died as a martyr. This still happens today in countries that are hostile to the Bible. As I write this a former-Muslim Christian pastor (who also happens to be an American citizen) is in prison in Iran where he is being tortured for his beliefs. (Read)
But true leadership is not found in positions of power, as Jesus explains. Leaders are to be servants. They should not seek to be served but to serve others (Mark 10:44-45). This goes against everything society tells us. And is, frankly, one of the main reasons why our leaders are inept and corrupt. To truly lead, one must follow the example of Jesus who lead through inner strength and by serving others for their good rather than His own.
In Psalm 45:1 the author announces that he is reciting a poem that he wrote from his own heart. Have you ever thought about writing a poem or song to God or for God? I have attempted to write some worship songs, but admittedly I haven’t been able to finish them. It is a goal of mine to finish one someday (lyrics only; I can’t write music). This poem describes God’s power and the honor due Him. It describes a bride (the modern-day church) that will marry Jesus in heaven. Did you know that there will be a wedding ceremony in heaven between Jesus and Christian-believers? We’ll see details of that much later this year.
I’ve heard that there are more verses in the Bible about money than any other topic. I think this is because money can have too much power and influence over us so that it draws us away from God. But no matter how much money a person accumulates on this earth they start the eternal part of their life (in heave or hell) with zero dollars. So what is wealth? Real wealth is simply a blessing from God (Proverbs 10:22).
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post