THE WORD FOR TODAY
1 Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.
I struck up a conversation with a waitress one day. I asked her about the most wearisome part of her job. Without hesitation she said, “The chronic complaints from unhappy customers.”
Complaining to a waitress about a meal is one thing. Complaining about God…now that’s another story. Just ask the people of Israel. God heard some of them complaining…and the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.
It doesn’t take long to see that Israel had a huge contentment problem. They complained about everything and seemed that everyday Moses was dealing one complaint after the other. It had to be wearisome. It cost them more that they could really afford.
Let’s bring it close to home. Am I a complainer? Am I a chronic complainer?
I am going to take the 5th on those two questions. I think you know that at some point all of us are guilty of complaining…about how long the worship service goes…how long we sing a certain song…that we didn’t like the sermon the preacher preached…the food was too hot…the steak wasn’t cooked properly…the waiter ignored us and the complaints go on and on and on.
It would be really interesting reading to receive an email at the end of the day…perhaps an email from God that listed “all the complaints” that came from our lips during the day. Now…I don’t know about you…but I sure hope God doesn’t have email…OH wait He does…its called conviction of the Holy Spirit every time we complain. So…
Let’s be careful about complaining…the price is too high.
Lord, it’s so easy to complain…to become bitter…especially about things that are unimportant to the mission of reaching lost men, women, boys and girls…help me learn to be content…no matter what…In Jesus Name…Amen!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
18 I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn of the children of Israel. 19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the work for the children of Israel in the tabernacle of meeting, and to make atonement for the children of Israel, that there be no plague among the children of Israel when the children of Israel come near the sanctuary.”
Each Sunday I walk into a very clean sanctuary. Carpets vacuumed…windows, pews and furnishings dusted and cleaned and loose trash thrown away. As people arrive the children’s teachers and helpers move to their rooms to greet the children and teach them God’s Word during Sunday School. Adults move to their respective classes where their teacher has prepared all week for that very special moment of teaching God’s Word. Then we enter the sanctuary after a time of Bible Study to Worship God. The Pastor, Minister of Music, Choir and the people have prepared themselves for worship. The sound tech is making sure that all aspects of the sound system are working properly…the people of God are prepared for worship………
A lot of work and effort is involved in just a simple Sunday Morning at the average Church.
I love that the Levites had been set aside for service to God. Their work was to tend the issues surrounding the tabernacle of meeting. They were considered a gift to Aaron and his sons in the responsibility for the worship life of Israel. Their work was indeed very special to God and to the people of Israel.
So is your WORK for Him in your local church. I thank God for the volunteers who are willing to be used in all kinds of service points in God’s church. Just the other day I taught one of my deacons to run the sound system during a funeral where I needed help. Thank God that he took the time to learn how to make sure we had quality sound for that very special service.
I could go on and on about the servants in my church. I could write testimony about how over the years men and women, boys and girls said they wanted to be servants for God.
Here is the CHALLENGE: God has given every believer the unique opportunity to minister as His “LEVITES” in the work of the Kingdom. I think you would agree with me that we must continue this GOOD work.
Lord Jesus, You are Lord of the harvest send forth laborers to work in Your kingdom…let there be no shortfall of servants committed to ministering in YOUR Holy Name…In Jesus Name...AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
6 “Speak to the children of Israel: ‘When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit in unfaithfulness against the LORD, and that person is guilty,
W. S. Plumer in “The Pursuit of Holiness” said, “We never see sin aright until we see it as against God...All sin is against God in this sense: that it is His law that is broken, His authority that is despised, His government that is set at naught...Pharaoh and Balaam, Saul and Judas each said, ‘I have sinned;’ but the returning prodigal said, ‘I have sinned against heaven and before thee;’ and David said, ‘Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned.’”
Moses, inspired by God wrote, “When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit in unfaithfulness against the Lord, and that person is guilty…”
After reading this text I went to the mirror and saw, “Guilty” written across my forehead. All of us have guilty written across our forehead.
Don’t fear…because scripture declares, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Confession is simply agreeing with God about our sin…agreeing with God that our sin has offended the heart of God and then when we agree with Him about our sin HE is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse from all unrighteousness. We don’t have to live under the guilt and burden of our sin…because He has made a way to freedom. I was reading about man who “turned his back on God” because he said that the Baptist Church had instilled guilt in him so he concluded that he didn’t need God. You can only be guilty because you are guilty and it’s what you do with guilt.
I lay my guilt before a loving and merciful God and KNOW with full assurance that HE forgives my sin.
Lord Jesus, thank YOU for forgiving my sin…In Jesus Name...AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Leviticus 26-28
Leviticus 26:18 And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
I learned at an early age that if my Mama said, “One more time and I am going whip you.”, that she meant every word of it. I probably am not the only one that has been on the receiving end of immediate punishment for disobedience. Mama never said it twice and believe me there was never a third time.
In the closing chapters of Leviticus God is laying out what He will do should His people disobey Him. In verses 16-17 of chapter 26 He makes if very clear that He will not tolerate their disobedience. And then He says, “And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.”
I distinctly remember some of my whippings as a kid. I remember some more vividly than others. Like the one where I threw a live mouse on my sister. I thought it was funny…my step dad felt differently. The whippings that were really bad…I really deserved. It seemed that they hurt the most because I had really blown it. If that hurt…I wouldn’t want to see God’s punishment seven times over what I am already getting.
History shows us that Israel did not heed the voice of God. The Father had to punish His children. History also shows that punishment to be very, very severe. Our sins deserve punishment. God knew that when He inspired the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 53.
1 Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
Pay attention to the bold print. Jesus received the seven fold punishment for the sins of humanity. I can only say, “Thank you Father.”
Father, when we needed punishment…you sent your Son…when needed a lashing…you sent your Son…when we were continually disobedient…you placed your only Son on the Cross…when we needed hope…you gave us hope through Jesus your Son…thank you Father…thank you…In Jesus Name…AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Leviticus 23-25
Leviticus 23:22 ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God.’”.
The Red Kettle Christmas Campaign enables the Salvation Army to provide food, toys and clothing to over 6 million people during the Christmas season and helps more than 34 million Americans recovering from all kinds of personal disasters in communities across the nation. Bell Ringers brave the elements for 4 hour shifts volunteering during one of the most important times of the year. I remember very well spending time with a former Commanding Officer as we rang the bell outside a mall in Pensacola, FL. We knew that the money was going to a worthy cause. We knew that the poor would receive some help during the holiday season. We were doing our part to help.
God has a concern for the poor. He instructed His people, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God.” His intention was for them to leave something for those that needed it and for the stranger passing through.
Most of us are not farmers. We don’t have fields that we can leave the “corners of our fields” un-harvested. But we should be concerned about the plight of the poor. The poor were always in the mind and the heart of God. He has entrusted those with plenty to help those who need it the most.
How can we leave the “corners of our field un-harvested”? Here are a few ideas…
Drop a few dollars in the Salvation Army Kettle the next time you see it.
Volunteer at a local ministry that feeds the homeless.
Adopt a family in your church or community and provide food, clothing and perhaps a Christmas present.
Save all your coins during the month of December and donate it to a ministry that impacts the lives of the poor.
Lead your church to do something unique…like the annual Angel Tree…where a family will adopt an Angel and provide Christmas for the child.
Ask God to show you how you can leave the “corner of your field” un-harvested so that this Christmas can be better for someone.
Father, when we were poor you provided for us…when we had plenty you reminded us of our plenty…now help us to have eyes to see and a heart to help someone in need during this blessed season…help us to be wise in how we leave the “corners of our field” un-harvested for those in need…In Jesus Name…AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Leviticus 20-22
Leviticus 20:23 And you shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them.
How many of us have used the well worn phrase, “But the other kids…”, with our parents? How many of us have heard, “I don’t care what other kids are wearin.” “I don’t care what other kids are doing.” “I don’t care if Suzzie is your very best friend.”…you are my child and I want better things for you. Just to let you know, using those statements with my mom got me a whipping or two over the years.
As you read Leviticus 20-22 you clearly see that God was setting the standard very high for the people of Israel. He was setting it high because the behavior of the nations leaving the Promised Land caused Him to “abhor them”. Yes it caused HIM to detest them in such a way as to cast them aside in disgust. Their behavior brought out the complete anger of a Holy God.
He said to His children, “You shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you.” God knew depth of their sin. He was aware of the terrible things done in the darkness of night. He saw the evil in the hearts of men and women whose behavior in daylight or dark was absolutely shameful. He told His children that they were not going to be like them.
As Christians we are different. We should not walk in the ways of the world around us. We should never adopt the look, likeness, and sound of the people that bring reproach upon the name of God. What if we could hear our water cooler conversations as we say our bedtime prayer? What if we could see our interaction with the “guys” replayed at the end of the day in the presence of a Holy God? What if our “secret thought life” was displayed on the 6 pm news everyday?
I am overwhelmed with a sense of just how ugly the world was that was gathered at the foot of the Cross. I can hear our Savior say, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Our only hope in this world is His words, “It is finished.”
Yes, as God’s children we are different!!!
Father, help us be Holy unto YOU…In Jesus Name…AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Leviticus 17-19
Leviticus 19:35-36 35 You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. 36 You shall have honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
A young man drove through the drive through of a Kentucky Fried Chicken. He placed an order, paid for it and then departed. He opened his box of chicken to discover that it wasn’t chicken…the box was filled with money.
He returned to KFC and returned the box. The manager was ecstatic and couldn’t believe the honesty in the young man. He asked him to let him call the news station and report this incredible level of honesty. The young man refused. The manager insisted on reporting what young man had done. Finally the young man said, “Please don’t say anything to anybody. You see the woman that is in the car with me is not my wife and if my wife ever found out she would kill me.”
God had called His people to a high level of honesty. Read the words again, “You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. 36 You shall have honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”
Honesty…it is one of highest expectations of God on our life.
Father, may we honor you with complete honesty in all that we do…grant us wisdom to always walk with integrity before you and others…In Jesus Name…AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Leviticus 13-15
Leviticus 14:54-57 “This the law for any leprous sore and scale, for the leprosy of a garment and of a house, for a swelling and scab and bright spot, to teach when it is unclean and when it is clean. This is the law of leprosy.”
Just reading this passage makes me grateful for our great high priest…Jesus Our Lord.
Our Great High Priest has the power to cleanse anything in our life. We don’t have to endure the extreme measures found in Leviticus 13-15 for our uncleanness. He had taken upon Himself the sins and the uncleanness of the world.
You remember the story of the 10 lepers. As they cried for mercy Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priest. And as they went they realized they were clean. One returned to Jesus to glorify and to thank Him. He returned to the great high priest…Jesus Our Lord.
Yes, reading Leviticus 13-15 should create great gratitude for all that HE had done for us.
Father, we thank you for the sacrifice of your only Son Jesus our Lord and we praise you that He wipes away our uncleanness and that in HIM we are healed and whole…In Jesus Name…AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Leviticus 10-12
Leviticus 10:3 And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke saying, “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.’”
We had a great day of worship in our church yesterday. God’s spirit was powerful. God’s people were filled with gratitude. I know I left glad I went to church…because we made every effort to glorify God.
Nadab and Abihu didn’t make an effort to glorify God. They offered a sacrifice that hadn’t been commanded by God. The profaned not just the name of God but His very presence as well. They paid a high price for their sin…their life.
Moses reminded Aaron that God must be glorified and most especially in our worship. Too often we plan and conduct worship with the people in mind. But someone reminded me years ago…we worship before the audience of one. It is HIM that we seek to honor and glorify and praise.
How freeing it can be for us when we come to the place that our worship isn’t about us…but rather its about Him. How powerful our services can become when His people sell out in worship and adoration of Jesus. How pleased God would be when we worship Him in spirit and in truth and set Him apart as HOLY.
God said, “Before all the people I must be glorified.”
Father, we glorify your name in our hearts this day and pray that it will be seen in our walk and our talk and all that we do…In Jesus Name…AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Leviticus 7-9
Leviticus 9:6 “The Moses said, ‘This the thing which the Lord commanded you to do, and the glory of the Lord will appears to you.’”
The people came before the tabernacle of meeting. They brought their sacrifices and offerings. They stood before Moses with expectant hearts. They would experience the ‘glory of the Lord’ because of their obedience.
When you read verse 24 of Leviticus you read that glory of the Lord appeared and fire consumed the burnt offering and ‘all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces’.
It makes me wonder what would happen if the ‘glory of the Lord’ were to show up Sunday Morning or Sunday Night or during a Prayer Meeting or in our private prayer time. I am not saying that a fire is going to consume our offering…I am saying that it is easy to leave church the same as we entered…unchanged and still chained to something.
Listen to it again…it is easy to leave church the same as we entered. I believe three criteria are critical to experiencing the “glory of God” in any meeting with Him.
One, COME PREPARED. The people of Israel gathered at the tabernacle with all the offerings expected of them. They were prepared for what God wanted to do in their life. How easy it is to enter the church doors all frustrated because we are running late and we never have time to slow down and prepare. COME PREPARED to meet with God. Arrive early to get the best seat in the house…no…not the back seat.
Two, COME EXPECTING. Not only were the people prepared they were expecting God to do something in their midst. The response was to shout and fall down before Him because I suspect it was more than they expected. As you get ready to go to church tomorrow morning…what are you expecting God to do?
Third, COME OFFERING. The people offered their sacrifices. They gave up what was the best of their offering. They allowed sons of Aaron to present their burnt offerings. Should the Lord tarry, offer the sacrifice of praise tomorrow morning at your worship service. Offer your gifts for God’s glory. Offer your service to those who need served. Offer your prayers for the leaders. Offer your very best…and more than likely we will leave church different than we came in.
Father, display your glory in our life as we seek to offer you our best as living sacrifice that are holy and acceptable to YOU…In Jesus Name…AMEN!!!