Bible reading for April 18-19.
"And you shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the LORD who sanctifies you, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD." (Leviticus 22:32-33)
Leviticus 22. It may seem like the Bible has an obsession for cleanliness, but this is not because of pettiness on the part of God. Rather, it is because of his revelation (and our realization) that he is infinitely transcendent and holy (22:2). He is high and lifted up above all creation (Isa 6:1-7). We are not to treat lightly, misuse, or profane the holy things of God (Ex 20:7). In fact we pray that the Father's name and reputation be honored by all (Matt 6:9). In the early church God chastised the people who profaned the Lord's supper with their sinful divisions (1 Cor 11:17-32). Although we don't follow the regulations of the Aaronic priesthood any longer, the principle remains: we must ever live and walk in the light of the holiness of God (Rev 4:8).
Leviticus 23 outlines the annual festivals for the nation. These feasts and convocations were both joyful and serious. In the early spring there was Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits. These foreshadowed the death and resurrection of Christ (1 Cor 5:7-8; 15:23). Fifty days later was Pentecost, a celebration of the full harvest of the grain crops. The Holy Spirit later descended upon the church on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1). In autumn the Israelites celebrated Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Festival of Booths. This celebrated God's calling of Israel as a nation to himself. This too prefigures our relationship to Christ as his redeemed and pilgrim people. It seems to me that the spring festivals typified Christ's first coming, and the fall festivals foreshadow Christ's second coming to gather his people.
My take-aways: God is holy and we should treat him as such. Always. And God is Lord of history, and Jesus Christ his Son is the Center of that story. We may live for a season as sojourners in this world but one day the trumpet shall sound and we will be gathered to him forever (1 Cor 15:52).
"For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." (Psalm 30:5)
Psalm 28. King David loved the house of the Lord (Ps 26:8), and it is where he wanted to dwell forever (Ps 27:4). He lifted up his hands in prayer toward God's sanctuary (Ps 28:2), and it was the place where he worshiped with God's people (Ps 29:1). The house of God -- first the tabernacle and later the temple -- was the place where the Lord revealed his glory and where believers might come near to him in fellowship, prayer, and praise. Our Lord Jesus is now the dwelling place of God (John 1:14; 2:19-21). We draw near to God through him (John 14:9), and he sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us forever (John 14:16). As Christians we do not gather in a special building to worship God, for we ourselves together are the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16). Are we like David, do we love our Lord and the gathering of his people?
Psalm 29 and Psalm 30. The Lord is enthroned in power, and he gives power to his people (Ps 29:11). He himself is their strength (Ps 28:8). The Lord enabled David to stand strong in his reign as king (Ps 30:7). Today, God imparts to us the strength we need to face any and all circumstances (Phil 4:13). In this life we will experience sorrow and humbling, and there will be nights of weeping (Ps 30:5). But our confidence is that God will turn our sighs and sorrows into shouts of joy (Jn 16:20; Rev 21:4).
My take-aways: We should delight in our fellowship with God through Christ and his Holy Spirit. We should long for and seek out the gathering of God's people in worship. The church should be our happy place. We have every reason to sing God's praises! He will strengthen us and bring us through it all, and safely home to himself. Even though we may weep for a while, we will yet see the joyful morning that God brings!
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.