The Lord said to Moses: “If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the Lord by deceiving a neighbor…” (Leviticus 6:1-2a, NIV)
In a court, lying to the judge will get you into big trouble because you’re not just lying to the judge, you’re lying to the State. Similarly, being disrespectful, disobedient, and disruptive during court proceedings can lead to being held in contempt of court. Again, this is because the judge, the jury, and the people involved are representatives of something greater–the rule of law, the State, and society at large.
Leviticus 6 makes it clear that deceiving or sinning against a neighbor is being unfaithful to God. As one pastor put it, “Sin against a neighbor is a sin against God.” Because we are made in the image of God, when we sin against someone else, we are sinning against God’s representative on earth, which is (at least indirectly) an act of rebellion against God’s authority and rule. When I sin against a fellow human being, I deface God’s image in that person. It’s like tagging God’s home with profane graffiti.
God is concerned with how we treat one another. We are called throughout Scripture to love–in fact, Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). And Paul said that love is “the most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). Every human being bears the image of God within them. The next time I’m tempted to lose my temper or raise my voice at my wife or kids, I need to pause and imagine that I’m getting ready to yell at Jesus Christ. That’s not to say I won’t discipline my kids or have that uncomfortable conversation with a friend. But how would my tone, my body language, and my attitude differ if I were having that conversation with Christ?
My prayer for the week is that we will find an opportunity to show love for another and if we have disrespected someone else, that we will seek their forgiveness and reconciliation.
In Ephesians 5:18, the Bible commands us to “be filled with the Spirit.” What does that mean? How can we be filled with the Spirit? And why are some Christians not filled with the Spirit? I continue our series on the Holy Spirit by looking at what the Bible has to say about the filling of the Spirit in the life of a believer.
“If any member of the community sins unintentionally… when they realize their guilt and the sin they have committed becomes known…” (Leviticus 4:27-28, NIV).
Sometimes we sin without even realizing it. Maybe as a new believer, we didn’t understand that a certain decision or lifestyle is sinful. Or maybe as a mature Christian, we sin without even thinking about it. Or sometimes, our sin isn’t unintentional. Sometimes even those of us who follow Jesus choose to disobey.
In the sacrificial system laid out in the Book of Leviticus, there is a distinction made between intentional and unintentional sin. What many of us don’t realize, however, is that Leviticus has no sacrifice available for willful, intentional sin. All of the “sin offerings” in Leviticus are for unintentional sin. Thankfully, Christ’s sacrifice is superior to that of bulls and goats, and His blood can even cleanse us from our rebellious hearts!
This phrasing in Leviticus 4, however, is interesting. If someone sins unintentionally, when they realize their guilt, they should come to offer the sin offering. How much unintentional, unrealized sin is in my life? Sin can hinder our relationship with God and our effectiveness in ministry–even sin we’re not aware of!
My prayer for the week is that of David in Psalm 19:
Who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep Your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
“[T]he priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.” (Leviticus 1:9, NIV)
Leviticus is both an interesting and a tedious book! Many times in my life I have started off January with a goal to read the whole Bible in a year. I generally have no trouble with Genesis–it’s filled with fascinating stories! Exodus is a mix of stories, laws, and instructions. It’s not quite as sensational as Genesis, but I still get through it. But I have been bogged down in Leviticus and gotten off-track from my read-the-Bible-in-a-year-plan on multiple years. While I’ve slogged all the way through Leviticus a few times, I’ve never read it devotionally, so I’ve decided to slow down and listen to God speaking to me in this overlooked book of the Bible!
Leviticus begins with describing the procedures for the whole burnt offering. This is when a bull, sheep, or dove would be slaughtered and burned whole on the altar as an act of worship to God. These offerings were made in the Tabernacle every morning and evening! Additionally, anyone in Israel could bring a burnt offering at any time simply to honor God and show their devotion to Him. This whole burnt offering was a little different than other offerings because the whole animal would be burned on the altar. With most other offerings and sacrifices, only part of the animal was burned on the altar. The rest would be eaten by the priests and/or the people making the offering.
The burnt offering was an offering of worship and devotion. Burning it whole symbolized that a person’s whole heart was devoted to God. As I read the first chapter of Leviticus, I felt challenged by the Lord: is my heart fully devoted to Him? How often do I come to worship on Sunday and sing half-heartedly? While I’m thankful that I don’t have to slaughter and burn a bull just so I can come and worship God, I sometimes take for granted how easy Jesus has made it for us to approach the throne of God. May we never come before Him flippantly or carelessly!
My prayer for this week is that we will remember the sacrifice of Christ, be thankful He has opened the door for us to come to the Father, and worship God with hearts that are fully devoted to Him.
2,000 years ago during the Jewish holiday of Pentecost, the world changed. The Holy Spirit was poured out with power and supernatural miracles, fulfilling an ancient prophecy and ushering in a new era in human history. I continue our series on the Holy Spirit as we look at this incredible event in Acts 2 and explore what it means to live in the Last Days.
Who is the Holy Spirit? There are so many weird, wacky ideas about Him floating around in the world, and to be honest, there’s a lot of unknown as well. For millions of Christians today, it’s too easy to neglect the Holy Spirit because we’re not really sure who He is, what He does, or how He works. I kick off a new series, The God Christians Forget, by laying a biblical foundation for who the Holy Spirit is. As we’ll discover in the weeks to come, He is the key to living the Christian life God has called us to.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:12-13a, NIV)
Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t show you all of His will for you? There have been so many times in my life that I wished God would just tell me His whole plan for me! However, in my experience, He typically gives only one or two steps at a time. When I have the faith and courage to take the step He’s shown me, God reveals the next step, and then the next, and so on. One step at a time He leads us along the path He’s laid out for us–but He only shows us the next step.
In John 16, Jesus told His disciples they couldn’t handle knowing God’s full plan. If they’d known the full details about Jesus’ death, resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the persecution they would suffer as followers of Jesus, they probably would’ve abandoned ship right then and there. I don’t think any of us could’ve walked the path the disciples walked if we’d seen where the path was leading. And I’m not convinced we would walk the path laid out for us if we could see all the twists, turns, bumps, roadblocks, and dangers ahead.
Maybe one reason why God only shows us a step at a time is that revealing His full plan to us would be more than we could bear.
Thankfully, He doesn’t have to give us the full download all at once. Instead, He gave us Himself, His Holy Spirit, who guides us one step at a time into the truth and will of God. May the Lord forgive me when I get frustrated because I can’t see more than a step on the path ahead! My prayer for this week is that we will trust God and take whatever step He’s called us to, even though we can’t see what lies beyond it.