Bible reading for April 17 -- Leviticus 21; Psalm 26-27.
"...but he shall not go through the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries, for I am the LORD who sanctifies them." (Leviticus 21:23)
The perfection of the priest. The Lord sets apart his priests to be holy: "I am the Lord who sanctifies..." (21:8, 15, 23). Both the priest and the sacrifices he offers must be perfect. This points us to Christ who alone is both perfect high priest and unblemished sacrifice (Heb 7:26; 9:14).
We draw near to God by faith in Christ. We believe... 1) that his life and death for us is a complete and perfect work that truly and actually removes our guilt and cleanses our conscience before God (Heb 9:14). 2) That Christ's death and resurrection free us to serve the living God (Heb 9:14); that is, we serve God not fearfully or grudgingly, but joyfully as children of grace. And 3) that Christ ascended to heaven, and perfectly intercedes for us even now since his priesthood remains in force forever (Heb 7:25-26); that is, everything about my life now is filtered (i.e. mediated, curated) to God through my perfect and living Savior.
Do you and I actually believe these truths? Do we live in the light of the perfect priesthood of Christ?
"O LORD, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells." (Psalm 26:8)
Integrity. Psalm 26 is about knowing which community we are members of (cf. Psalm 1:1), and which name we confess with our lips (Rom 10:9-10; Heb 13:15). Integrity here means soundness, wholeness, or being entire and undiminished. Though King David prayed this prayer, only the Lord Jesus fulfilled it perfectly with his entire life. One application for us is to pray through this psalm and confess where we have failed to find our wholeness -- our entire identity -- in Christ. We should repent of our divided hearts and partial allegiance.
One thing. Psalm 27 has been a favorite for me. It is an encouraging psalm to read during this pandemic, with its promises that we need not fear anything coming against us, and that we will in time see the goodness of the Lord. There is also the precious promise of verse 10, that if we lose parents, the Lord will care for us. Like the previous psalm this one also calls for integrity in the pursuit of God. We too should pray, "One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire [or, meditate] in his temple" (27:4).
Jesus told Martha that her sister, Mary, had rightly chosen "the one thing" necessary (Lu 10:42). And Paul said, "one thing I do..." (Phil 3:13-14). One thing, one direction, one over-riding purpose in life! Too many of us dabble in too many things, going too many different directions. These two psalms are about wholeness of heart and singleness of purpose. Lord, make us undividely and whole-heartedly yours!
Photo above is of the setting sun through an old redbud tree in our yard. Despite its age, it is single-minded and whole-hearted in producing blossoms.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.