Archive for February, 2020

It’s in the Blood (Leviticus 16=17)

February 28, 2020

11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. Leviticus 17:11

It is s proven scientific fact:  Without blood the body will die.  For me, this changes things about life.  Every person, no matter where they are born or what social status they occupy, has this one think in common.  We each have blood flowing through our bodies.  There is something else we have in common, our blood is polluted with sin.

Several years ago I used this illustration in Romania.  There are two classes of people in Romania.  There are the Romanians and then there are Romanian Gypsies.  Both groups hate each other, especially the Romanians hate the Gypsies.

One summer we were having camps.  At our camp ground there was a large swimming area.  As we were doing day camp with the Gypsies, the Romanians were swimming.  One Gypsy girl decided to get in the swimming hole with the Romanian kids.  All of them immediately got out.  My heart broke and my blood began to boil.  Who were these people to think they were better than anyone else?

In that moment I called everyone together and proceeded to give each a lesson on truth.  The truth is we are all sinners (our blood is the same).  There is only one way we can change.  It takes the blood of someone who is not tainted with sin.

In the book of Leviticus the people are told to select specific animals to be used as the sacrifices for their sins.  These animals were to be without blemish or spot.  When their blood was spilled it was a picture of what needed to happen for our sin to be removed.

Once each year (16:6) the High Priest would offer a sacrifice for his own sin.  Once his own sin was cleansed, he could represent God’s people with a sacrifice of blood on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies (16:16).

Next there was to be a scapegoat chosen (16:21-22) in whom the priest would place his hands as a picture of Israel’s sins being placed on the goat.  The goat was then sent away picturing how once that our sins have been cleansed, they are sent away to never be remembered any more.

Brothers and sisters, there was only one who was qualified to be our sin bearer and our sin payment.  His name was Jesus.  The writer of Hebrews reveals this truth to us:

22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Heb. 9:22-28

I can still remember sharing with those Romanians the hard truth that they were no different from the Gypsies. All of them needed the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse them from all sins.  I also shared with them, once the blood was shed and once the blood is applied, it changes how we look at others.

Why am I am Christian?  It’s all because of the blood of Jesus Christ!

Offering Accepted (Leviticus 8-9)

February 27, 2020

24 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces Leviticus 9:24

I had just finished my first project in my High School Industrial Arts Class.  I presented it to my teacher with the greatest of pride.  But then my pride hit the dirt when my teacher said, “Go back and try it again.”  Honestly I was crushed as my friends heard it all.  I thought, who is this teacher to reject my offering of work.  I guess my teacher understood my position when he said, “Keith, you did not follow my instructions.”

When we read the book of Leviticus we sometimes simply pass over it with what’s this.  However, if we would pause and consider Leviticus truth, great joy would come to our lives.  The book of Leviticus is God’s instructions to the Levities for their service to God and their service to the people of God.

In the section before us, God gave Moses specific instructions to give to Aaron and his sons concerning sacrifices for their own sin and for the sin of the people (This is what chapter 8 is about).  Chapter 9 tells the story of Aaron’s obedience in carrying out God’s instructions.  The chapter ends with God accepted Aaron’s sacrifices.  You ask, how do you know.  When the fire fell from Heaven and consumed the sacrifice, that was God saying, you followed the instructions and I have accepted your offering.

In less than seven weeks we will arrive at Easter Sunday.  On this day (April 12, 2020) the church will celebrate Jesus resurrection which is proof of God’s accepting Jesus sacrifice for our sins.  Romans 4:25 teaches us the following, “Jesus was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

On resurrection Sunday God the Father declared, Jesus you did it right (Justified).  Your sacrifice meets all my requirements.  So the question comes, what do we need to do to meet God’s requirements for our salvation?  Oh the Bible gives us our answer:

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  Romans 10:9-10

We place our full belief in what Jesus did.  It happened with me on February 17, 1974. On that day God said to Jesus, I accept your payment on behalf of Keith Joseph. He is now forever forgiven because of what you did.  Oh dear friend, when did this happen in your life?

 

A Wonderful Commentary (Exodus 40)

February 26, 2020

33 And he erected the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work. Exodus 40:33

Imagine being in the crowd on the day when the news began to spread, “the tabernacle is completed.”  Imagine yourself seeing the glory cloud coming down and resting on the tabernacle.  God Almighty had come to meet and lead the nation of Israel.

For me, there is great satisfaction in knowing they completed the task. This was a wonderful commentary.  When God said, “So Moses finished…” He was not saying Moses did it all by himself.  No, the people did the work, and yes Moses worked. But Moses completed the task of leading this group of people to complete the directions given by the Lord.

As we linger here, I want you to consider the task that God has placed before you.  Your task may be in raising a family.  The truth is, you cannot do it alone.  God places people in front of you so that they can help raise your family.  Your task is to discern which are the right people.

According to Paul’s writing in Ephesians 4:11-16, it is the church where we find the right people.  Paul writes, “when each part does it part the body grows and is built up in love.”

I have seen this first hand in my life.  My two older children are much in part who they are because of the Body of Christ.  As I write I am so thankful for the Body of Christ. I love how my youngest is even now being molded by the Body of Christ.

Oh how I pray the commentary of your life reads in every season, “and he or she finished the work.”

 

Whats on Your Face (Exodus 34-35)

February 25, 2020

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God, Exodus 34:29

It must have been exciting times as God’s people together began the process of building the Tabernacle.  It was obvious that the people’s hearts and hands were in this good work.  Moses writes, their hearts were generous (35:5) and there hands were willing (35:10).

I believe you could see joy on their face, they were there in the desert to give and serve (35:21).  Question:  “what will you give your heart and hands to this day?”

Let me totally be revealed, this was not the norm for these people.  Moses said, “these are a stiff-necked people.” Ex. 34:9.  But after this the people would lose their heart for God and then they would close their hands to God.  What would result would be 40 years of nothing.  But God wanted to do more.

11 “Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 12 Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. 13 You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods. Exodus 34:11-16

This day, I ask you, what’s on your face?  Are you willing to open your heart to God and your hand to God to go and do everything He is calling you to do?

Here is what I know about God and His Face to Face call on our lives.

  • God only meets with those who are serious about His call on their lives.
  • God has an enemy who is your enemy when you want to walk before God.
  • God has a Spirit (His Holy Spirit) that He will release into your life if you surrender your heart and hand to His calling on your life.
  • God has a future on the other side of obedience that is amazing.  We would call it a miracle.

This morning I listened to a message that has ripped me a part. One line from the message did it to me.  Here is that one line:  “Only God knows what is on the other side of obedience.”

On that day in history Israel’s face shone brightly because their hearts and hands belonged to God.  But their face changed because their heart changed.  You and I have been called to a daily heart change with God!!! May you and I live in obedience on this side of the miracle.

Making Quick Decisions (Exodus 32-33)

February 24, 2020

32 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Exodus 32:1

As Moses met with the Lord on the mountain, the people became impatient.  Instead of waiting on the Lord (Isaiah 40:30-31), the people made a quick decision, they said, “up…” Have you every wondered why people (including us) are prone to make quick decisions?  Here are three possible answers:

  • The fear of silence.  Most people cannot wait on the Lord (Psalm 46:10).
  • The fear of suffering.  Most people want out of a trial instead of wanting to gain from a trial. (Rom. 5:2-3).
  • The flaws (in us) called sin.  We are most of the time wanting to lead our own lives in our own ways at our own set schedule.

The nation of Israel was flawed with sin.  These people corrupted themselves (32:7-8).  These people turned aside quickly (32:8).  These people made their own gods (32:9). These people were stiff-necked (32:9).

We can only imagined what would have happened to them apart from Moses.  Moses was most concerned with the glory of God (32:12).  Moses understood both the character and covenant of God.  Moses was willing to give his own life to make atonement for his people’s sins (32:30).   Moses met every day with the lord (33:7-11).  Moses was their earthly savior.

This day I praise one greater than Moses.  I praise our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is our go-between (Heb. 7:24-26; II Cor. 5:17-18).  He has set the pace for our lives.

This day I challenge you to pray the prayer Moses prayed: “Please show me your ways, that I may know you in order that I may be faithful in your sight.”

This Proves It (Exodus 30-31)

February 21, 2020

13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. Exodus 31:13

If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  As you and I reflect on the previous question I need to add another question: What is the standard by which we determine the qualifications of a true Christian.

For Israel, the standard was the 10 Commandments.

In chapter 31, God points His people to only one of the 10 Commandments.  God says, Christians set aside a day to worship the Lord (Sabbath).

Let’s think through this:

  • When we set aside a day to worship God, we are saying we trust in God’s provision for our lives .  God provides as we only work six days and rest one day each week.
  • When we set aside a day to worship God, we are saying, God knows best in that we do need weekly rest.
  • When we set aside a day to worship God, we are giving testimony to the world of who our God really is.

Dear brothers and sisters, when you and I want to obey God willingly and when we do obey God out of love it is proof that we belong to Him and it is proof to others that God is worth following.  Jesus does make all the difference.

If there is proof that convicts you of being a Christian, then there is conviction that proves to others He is The Only God Worth Following.

Its on His Heart (Exodus 28-29)

February 20, 2020

 30 And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart, when he goes in before the Lord. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly. Exodus 28:30

Once again we find ourselves reading another section of Exodus that seems, at first glance, to have zero significance for our day.  But upon a deeper investigation we discover the significance of the High Priest ministry in Moses day and in our day.

First, we see the significance in Moses day:

God had directed Moses to build a Tabernacle for the people to worship in.  But without a priest how could the people meet and fellowship with God?  The people needed someone to represent them before God and God was calling the priest to represent Him before the people.

The Bible says, God directs Moses to select Aaron and his sons.  Before these men could serve as priests the following had to take place:

  • They had to be cleansed from their own sin.
  • They had to be set apart by God.
  • They had to be ordained by the people.
  • They were to be clothed in proper attire that represented everything they were doing and it would give a picture of the Great High Priest who was still to come.

For a moment I draw your attention to one piece of the Priest’s attire.  The Bible identifies this piece as the Breastpiece of Judgment. As the priest would approach God he would carry over his heart the symbolic reminder of the 12 tribes of Israel that he was representing. The Bible says, they were to be on his heart!!!  Is anyone getting this truth?

Second, we see the significance of our day:

All of this in Moses day was pointing us to the day that The Great High Priest would come.  When Jesus came, we were on His heart.  As He lived we were on His heart. As He went to the cross we were on His heart.  As He came out of the grave we were on His heart.  As He ascended back to Heaven, we were on His heart.  And as He sits at the right hand of God the Father, we are on His heart.

Hebrews 7:23-27 makes this so clear to us:

23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost[b] those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

Brothers and sisters, here is what we take from today:

  1. Our High Priest is without sin and He continues before God forever and ever.
  2. Our High Priest loves us and is pleading before the Father on our behalf.
  3. Our High Priest understands what we face every day and desires to walk with us every step of our journey.  So take every think to Him, He cares for you.
  4. Our High Priest desires that we would have others on our heart today!!!

Take time to praise Him for having you on His heart!!!

The Divine Planner (Exodus 26-27)

February 19, 2020

30 Then you shall erect the tabernacle according to the plan for it that you were shown on the mountain. Exodus 26:30

Often the chapters before us (26-27) are at best skimmed over by those who follow a Bible Reading Plan.  Now, I understand the reasoning of those who say, the tabernacle is no longer in use so what is the value in reading about it.  But I also understand what Paul wrote, “All scripture is profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction, and in training for righteousness,” II Tim. 3:16.

Every verse of Scripture brings forth profit for those who read and obey its directions.  So, let’s figure out the profit here.  As we read the text we discover there is both a Divine Designer and a divine design.

God is the divine designer and the Tabernacle was His divine design.

Several points come from this that are profitable:

  1. This is for our training.  Back in chapter 25 (Vs: 8) God’s people were told to build exactly the pattern.  Three times in our text for the day the people were reminded of God’s divine design.

In every part of our day God has a divine design for our day.  The question is, will we allow Him to train us so that we can see the design as well as carry out the design?

2. This is for our teaching.  The book of Hebrews (8:5) teaches us that the Tabernacle was simply God’s pattern for what was coming.  Jesus would come to God the Father in the Heavenly Tabernacle and offer Himself as payment for our sin (Hebrews 9:11-15).

Each time the people would come to the tabernacle they were giving forth the picture of what was coming. Each day God’s Word is our teacher.

3. This is for our reproof and correction.  I confess there are somedays when I fail to consult the Divine Designer about every part of the day.  There are moments when I plan what I want to do in the day.  These chapters remind me, I am called to be a servant and a servant receives orders, he or she does not set the schedule.

Here is our takeaway:

  1. Begin every day with Bible reading and prayer.  In this way we connect with our Divine Designers plans.
  2. Seek to do His will.  In this way we walk in constant fellowship as our Divine Designer directs our steps.
  3. Carry out His will in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Take a moment and see how Jeremiah teaches us this same truth:

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[b] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

Meeting with the Lord (Exodus 24-25)

February 18, 2020

22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel. Exodus 24:22

Have you ever wondered what it would like to meet the Lord face to face?  Lately I have been longing to see the Lord.  I have been searching everywhere to know Him.  In my search I realized I can only (now) know Him through the eyes of Scripture.  That is why when I read passages like (Revelation 1:12-18), I lean in deeply to try to see the Lord.

It is this way when I read Exodus 24.  When I read statements like, “They saw the God of Israel” and “They beheld God…” I want to know what they saw.  Brothers and sisters here are somethings Moses came to know because he saw God:

  • God is real.  Brothers and sisters this is so important.  There are many gods in this world who are the creations of humanities thoughts.  But there is only one real God.
  • God is holy.  In chapter 24 and verse 16 we read, “His glory filled the mountain.”  The people of Israel could not see Him and live because they were sinful, but He was and is holy.
  • God desires fellowship.  God desired to meet with His people in the Tabernacle, 25:8.
  • God fully becomes revealed at the cross.  God said to Moses, “I will meet with you at the mercy seat,” 25:22.  Matt 27:51 “The veil was torn…” when Christ died on the cross.

Brothers and sisters we now have access (Romans 5:2) through the cross.  I know that I only see God now through the Scripture, but some day I will bow before this real God who is holy.  Someday I will fellowship with Him in Heaven.  Someday I will join with the masses of believers who have already gone to Heaven.  I will worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!!

Dear friends, I have heard the joyful sound, Jesus saves!!!

 

Praise to the God who carries us (Exodus 19-20)

February 17, 2020

‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Exodus 19:4

By the time God’s treasured people (19:5) came to Mount Sinai, 3 months had passed since they had been delivered from Egypt.  Moses had been to this place before (3:1).  The previous time it had just been he and his sheep.  On that day Moses met God.  But this time Moses comes with 2 million of his countrymen.  God again speaks too Moses. His words too Moses, “I have carried you…” reminded me of how God has carried me all my life.  For a deeper study on the word carry, check out Deuteronomy 32:11-12; Isaiah 63:1-11; Rev. 12:14.

Brothers and sisters, has God carried you through life?  I have to pause now and praise Him for He has carried me all the days of my life.  I sing with the saints of old, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

For 80 years God carried Moses.  Think about all the years He has carried you?  While in Egypt I was reminded day after day of how God carries His people through this broken world.  A brother told me the story of how that one day as he was walking home a mob of haters of Christ had formed in the city where he lived. He said, I was four blocks from home and had no way around them.  He went on the say that as he prayed a peace came over him and God said I will carry you through.  This brother said, it was as if God made him invisible as he walked through the mob and no one noticed him.

As Israel stood before the mountain of God all those years ago, God said, if you want me to continue to carry you, all you have to do is simply two things:

  • Obey my voice
  • Keep my covenant

Oh how this applies to our day.  God says, I lead you follow.  God says, I have set the standards, you simply carry them out.   This is what Exodus 20 was all about.  If God was leading, His people would then want to carry out the 10 commandments.

Brothers and sisters, if you and I are obeying His voice, He is carrying us.  If we are keeping the standards he has set for us, then we will experience His power in every moment of our lives.  Father help me to obey your voice and keep your covenant.