Hebrews 10

Vs. 10, “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  Brothers & sisters, we have a problem: sin.  But God took that problem and gave the most incredible sacrifice for us in His son Jesus.  The old covenant sacrificial system was but a shadow of the sacrifice to come (vs. 1-10).  Jesus’ sacrifice was final and did not need to be continually done (vs. 11-18).  We are also reminded that only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place (vs. 19), but now Jesus gives all of us that amazing access (vs. 19-25).  We are then presented quite a stern warning about deliberate sinning (vs. 26-31).  Even in the old sacrificial system, there were no sacrifices that could be used to cover willful and deliberate sins.  And lastly, the author of Hebrews ends this portion of his text with a upbeat note (vs. 32-39), encouraging those who have so faithfully lived in faith.

Regarding application…Draw Near.  Vs. 22, “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”  It seems like an obvious exhortation to draw near to God.  But for many, this realization that access to God at anytime and anywhere was still very foreign.  In fact, I would contend to say that while Christians know this privilege, we don’t act upon it.  We don’t just have to turn to God while we are at physically at church.  Jesus gives us the assurance and boldness to approach the throne of God with humility and confidence.  As we do so, let us continue to find ways to encourage each other to keep drawing nearer to God (vs. 24-25).

Hebrews 9

Vs. 11, “But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation.”  Having been fresh off the book of Leviticus, this is a familiar description of the earthy tabernacle (vs. 1-10).  While the earthly tabernacle was ordained by God, it is inferior because of its location (earthly).  Other things to note is that it was only accessible by the high priest (holy of holies) and that ultimately it was a temporary residence (vs. 8).  But as we are reminded, there is more superior and heavenly sanctuary (vs. 11-28).   Question: Why?  Remember the author’s intention is to exhort a people who were still holding onto the past.  In the OT, the high priest also sacrificed for his own sins.  However, Jesus our high priest was the sacrifice not for his sons, but ours!  We can’t help but see God’s eternal plan working itself out before His creation!

Regarding application…Only The Blood.  Vs. 22, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”  Someone had to pay a price for our sins.  It was the greater sacrifice through Jesus that covered over our transgressions.  We were bought at a very high price.  When something is valuable, we have a tendency to take care of it.  By God’s grace, we were considered valuable enough for Him to sacrifice His one and only son.  This is a wonderful reminder this week as Christmas draws nearer each day.  Think about something you can do today that shows the value of God’s love and act upon it!

Leviticus 22

Vs. 2, “Tell Aaron and his sons to treat with respect the sacred offerings the Israelites consecrate to me, so they will not profane my holy name. I am the Lord.”  Yesterday, we were reminded how the priests were to keep a standard of holy living.  Our chapter today continues this with an emphasis now on respecting God’s sacred offerings.  The priests were held to the same standard of the other Israelites when it came to being ceremonially unclean (vs. 1-8).  The priests are also given information on how is allowed to eat the food within the priestly families (vs. 10-16).  We are reminded of how they were to not sacrifice any animals with defects (vs. 17-25).  To the chagrin of some readers, the reality is, God held the priests to a higher standard (vs. 26-33).

Regarding application…Taking Things for Granted.  Vs. 31, “Keep my commands and follow them. I am the Lord.”  You might wonder why the LORD is stating the obvious.  However, when you do something repetitively day in and day out, it’s easy to begin to take things for granted.  While we don’t have physical sacred offerings, we still must look into our hearts.  Whether we do our quiet times, worship at church, fellowship, etc., we must endeavor to do it with reverence and joy!  Too often in many churches today, we just don’t take the time to give him the proper attitude of worship.  Let be people who appreciate the daily provision of our Lord and live as a holy kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:6).

Leviticus 17

Vs. 12, “Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.”  Question: Why such important rules with blood?  Even before modern science would tell us the importance of blood for life, the LORD tells us that blood gives life (vs. 11).  The word “blood” is found nearly 400 times in the NIV bible.  Through the blood sacrifice of an animal, grace and life was given to others.  Those who would carelessly shed blood and eat their own animal were guilty.  Question: Why?  Animals don’t grow on trees, so it was expensive.  Also, the sacrificial system was setup for accountability and provision for all God’s people.  Some might try to kill their own animals for their own wayward purposes.  This law would be tweaked a bit once they entered the land of Canaan.  However, for now, the people were to give everything first unto the Lord.

Regarding application…Atoning Blood.  Vs. 11, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”  Because blood is life and God is the giver of life, we should treat it with the utmost respect.  The LORD instructed His people to be different.  Certainly, we do not adhere to the kosher laws of the Jews, but we can take the application today.  Because of the blood, we have the yoke of sin taken away from us.  God gave us guidelines we are now to follow, not out of legalism, but out of a right heart.  As we have such amazing freedoms in Christ today, let us be thankful for all that He provides this Thanksgiving Day!

Leviticus 16

Vs. 34, “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.” And it was done, as the Lord commanded Moses.”  On the tenth day of the seventh month, the Israelites were to observe the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).  Question: What was the purpose?  They were to make sacrifices to reconcile God’s people to Him and forgive their sins (vs. 16-28).  It started with Aaron the high priest and was to be a tradition passed on that only the High Priest could administer.  Only the high priest could enter the most holy of holies on this one day (vs. 2).  The sin offerings (bulls and goats) and burnt offerings (ram) each had their purposes.  It was a sobering and solemn day for the Israelites.  On this day, it was the only required fast given to the people.

Regarding application…Jesus, the Final Sacrifice.  Each year, this special Day of Atonement was given as a picture of God’s grace.  But it was not a permanent solution.  The writer from the book of Hebrews, gives us additional insight to this very important day.  Jesus is portrayed as the final High Priest (Hebrews 10).  Like the sacrifices outside the walls of Jerusalem, Jesus died outside the walls (Hebrews 13:12).  Since the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, the Jews have stopped the actual sacrifices on this day.  However, they still recognize this Day of Atonement.  Sadly, the Jews along with the lost world do not realize Jesus was the sacrificial lamb slain for our sins.  Brothers and sisters, we have much to be thankful for in Christ this Thanksgiving week.  Let us be a light to our friends and family as we recognize God’s wonderful provisions in our life!

Leviticus 8

Vs. 4, “Moses did as the Lord commanded him, and the assembly gathered at the entrance to the tent of meeting.”  The Israelite leaders gathered together with Moses to fulfill Exodus 29, the ordination of the Aaron and his sons into the priesthood.  They were to be consecrated (set apart) for this very important duty to run the tabernacle sacrifices.  How wonderful to see that it was the LORD who had instituted this special ordination process.  Earlier, we were told the priests were to bathe once all over (Exodus 38), but then once doing their duties they were to wash their hands and feet at the laver.  Jesus would refer to this in the washing of the disciples feet (John 13).  The intricate details and special garments show us how the beauty of the Lord.  Sacrifices were made and God would use this priestly office to help serve His people.

Regarding application…Atonement For You.  Vs. 34, “What has been done today was commanded by the Lord to make atonement for you.”  Let us not forget what Aaron had done while Moses was up on the mountain.  He had allowed the people to make a golden calf (Exodus 32).  Aaron had sinned.  He dropped the ball.  Would God replace Aaron’s intended position with someone else?  Through this ordination process, atonement (compensation for wrong) was utilized for Aaron and his sons.  Throughout the Bible, we see God’s grace and atonement extended to imperfect people.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, His blood and sacrifice on the cross atoned for our sins once and for all!  With such an amazing reminder as we start out our day, let us reflect that atonement in our life!

Leviticus 7

Vs. 1, “These are the regulations for the guilt offering, which is most holy.”  Our chapter continues the last two offerings: guilt and fellowship.  While the earlier chapters discussed these offerings, they were to be addressed to the Israelites. The repeating of the offerings are directed toward the priests.  The process of the sin/trespass offering (vs. 1-10) give us more insight when addressed to the priests.  We also see how the priests were not only fed, but also got to keep the hides of the animals too (vs. 8).  The last offering mentioned to the priests was the fellowship/peace offering (vs. 11-21).  There are specific instructions as to when the offering could be consumed.  One of the things that made this offering unique was that it allowed the Israelites, not just the priests to eat the fellowship offering and share it.  We then get a bit more detail to the ban on eating fat and blood (vs. 22-27).  And lastly, we see the portions that were to be allocated to the priests (vs. 28-36).

Regarding application…One Sacrifice.  At the end of our chapter, we have one more offering added, the ordination offering which will be expounded upon in tomorrow’s chapter.  The Israelites had six different sacrifices to keep a right standing before God.  By the grace of God we have one final sacrifice.  “But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10:12).  Jesus was the great high priest and the sacrifice all in one.  Question: How does that encourage us?  Because, the pressure is off.  We have the luxury to live a relationship with God without all the worries of ensuring the right offering was presented.  When there is less pressure, I know I tend to perform better!  Let’s not ever take for granted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins!

Leviticus 4

Vs. 2, “Say to the Israelites: ‘When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands.”  Unlike the previous three offerings, the sin offering was a mandatory offering that was required.  There were instructions for the high priest, congregation, leaders, individuals, and specific sins.  Different animals were required depending on who sinned.  Question: What was the purpose of the sin offering?  It was offered to the people who sinned unintentionally.  This understanding can be a bit ambiguous.  Most of us don’t wake up on a particular day and deliberately have the idea to specifically sin.  But there are times that we are going to sin.  We don’t do it with a hardened heart.  This was the sin offering that was available to the people who sinned, but did not have a premeditated intention.

Regarding application…Forgiveness.  Forgiveness is costly.  So costly, that Jesus had to be sacrificed.  I think we take for granted the extreme measures God has taken to forgive us.  You may recall the poignant moment when Joseph was face to face with his brothers again in Egypt.  He was given the opportunity to lash out in revenge or to forgive.  I want you to think about people in your own life right now.  We live in a sin-filled world where people are going to intentionally and unintentionally hurt us.  How are we going to respond?  We must forgive for He forgave us (Matthew 6:12).  Question: Is there anyone in your life that you need to extend forgiveness to?

Leviticus 1

Vs. 1, “The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting…”  The saga continues as we pick up where Exodus left off.  The glory of God now went from the mountain to the tabernacle.  Exodus gave us much detail into the construction of the tabernacle, and now we will see Leviticus focus on the source of the power of God.  The LORD directs Moses to the importance of worship (vs. 2-17) in the form of sacrifices.  The process of sacrificing involved a routine, a ritual.  In our chapter today, we are presented the burnt offering.  It was the most common offering (every morning and evening, Sabbath, new moon and yearly feasts).  It was called burnt offering because the whole animal was to be consumed by the fire.  While there were three different types of animals mentioned (bull, sheep/goat, dove/pigeon), most scholars agree that the type of sacrifice was dependent upon the wealth of the family.  The purpose of a burnt offering was to atone for sins and restore their relationship with God.  It was to be a pleasing aroma to the Lord.

Regarding application…Willing Sacrifice.  Vs. 2, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When any of you brings an offering to the Lord, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.”  Having a right relationship with God is costly.  While we do not sacrifice with animals and blood, we certainly understand that following God is not easy.  We not only sacrifice our tithing, our time by coming to church, etc., if we follow God, our lives are a living sacrifice.  We begin to realize that God’s tabernacle today (the church) is going to ask you to go above and beyond.  Question: Are you willing to sacrifice?  There are all sorts of reasons why we give back to the Lord and the church.  But let’s not forget the simple fact that sacrificing is pleasing to God (vs. 9, 13, 17).

Exodus 24

Vs. 1, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance.”  Moses, Aaron, Moses’ oldest sons and the seventy elders (first mentioned) are called to climb towards God.  It’s notable how the higher they climbed, the access to God became more limited.  We will see this pattern take shape in the remaining chapters of Exodus with the Tabernacle instructions.  After Moses wrote down the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) and the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20:22-23:33), he reads it to all the people and they respond with a resounding affirmation (vs. 3-4).  Moses goes onto to build an alter to bring offerings as a sign of God’s covenant promises (vs. 3-8).  These offerings were a sign of atoning for their sins and celebrating God by the blood from the sacrifices.  The LORD proceeds to show them His feet and the beautiful pavement they are on (vs. 9-10).  It’s almost a funny thought, but God gave them a glimpse of His glory.  After a wonderful meal to solidify the covenant (vs. 11), Moses along with Joshua go up the mountain (Joshua only a part of the way) (vs. 12-18).  It was symbol of cloud by day and fire by night that God was with Israel and it is fitting that He would be a consuming fire on the mountain (vs. 17).

Regarding application…Eating Together.  Vs. 11, “But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.”  As briefly mentioned above, it was customary to solidify a covenant by sharing a friendly meal.  Jesus mentions a future feast that we all can look forward to (Matthew 8:11, Revelation 19:9).  There is just something special about sharing a meal together.  Jesus is the manna and the Bread of life (John 6), and daily He desires to have you dine at the table with Him!  That is why we do our daily quiet times; because there is something special about spending time with Jesus.  Let the word of God nourish your body today.  After a good meal with others, there is always a sense of satisfaction.  Let the word of God dwell in your heart and thoughts today!