Saturday, April 5, 2014

Leviticus 26

Today's reading in our daily plan is Leviticus 26. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • After twenty-five chapters of (mostly) rules, God promises blessings for those who obey them, in verses 3-13.
  • Then, starting in verse 14, God promises punishment for those who disobey his commands. (Again, as we have gone over several times in our study of Leviticus, putting our faith in Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross for us takes away the ultimate punishment for our disobedience of God's commands.) (But God puts rules in place not just because he wants us to follow them, but also because they show the best way to live. When we disobey them we are choosing to live in an inferior way, and we will suffer the consequences of that, whether we believe in Jesus or not.)
  • Verse 41 speaks of "uncircumcised hearts." During this time, circumcision was a sign of faith. People circumcised their kids because of their belief in God, and as a sign of their relationship with God. But a person could go through this action without truly believing, and it's truly believing that counts. This is why the Bible says, in Romans 2:28-29, "A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code."
  • The last verse of this chapter offers a kind of summary statement for the first 26 books of Leviticus.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • God loves you whether you obey his commands or not. But obeying God is the path to being blessed by God. The Bible makes this clear repeatedly. See, for instance, Galatians 6:7-10 and James 1:22-25.
  • God is not so concerned with people having the outward appearance of faith (such as a circumcision of the body) but instead is very concerned with us truly having faith (a "circumcision of the heart").

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Where are you not very happy with the way your life has gone? 
      • Perhaps you're not happy with where you're at financially?
      • Or you don't like the way your dating relationships have gone, and ended
      • Or you're not thrilled with your job situation?
    • Is it possible that your life hasn't gone the way in that particular area because you want because you're not obeying God in that particular area, and therefore he's not blessing you?
      • Are you tithing?
      • Are you waiting for marriage to have sex?
      • Are you working your job with all your heart, as if God is the one you're working for?
    • If not, you should expect to be experiencing the consequences of your disobedience. So … maybe it's time to start obeying God and experiencing his blessings?
  • Where might you be practicing the outward acts of faith, without really having your heart in it?  And how can you change that?
    • Maybe you show up at church, but during the songs your heart isn't really into worshipping God?
    • Maybe you take communion, but you don't really focus on and thank Jesus for dying for you?
    • Maybe you read the Bible, but don't ask Go to speak to you through it, or apply what you've read?