A house for God

When we think of worshipping God we usually think about a building for this to take place. For many these buildings of worship take on a ‘holy’ status. I know people who believe that the best place to pray to God is in a ‘church building’. Somehow, they believe that by being there they are closer to God and perhaps God will listen more to them in that setting.

The religious Jews in Israel today still have this view of the Western Wall: as this wall was once connected with the temple, where God lived, the closest they can now get to that is the wall. They write out prayers and put them in the cracks between the stones of the wall and, when near the wall, they touch it believing it puts them into closer contact with God. Continue reading “A house for God”

Priests of God

In the opening chapters of Leviticus, we find that there were particular men from the tribe of Levi and part of Aaron’s family who were to serve as priests for God’s people. These men were to offer the sacrifices to God for the Israelites.

“This is the law of the guilt offering. It is most holy. In the place where they kill the burnt offering they shall kill the guilt offering, and its blood shall be thrown against the sides of the altar…The priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering to the LORD; it is a guilt offering” (Leviticus 7:1-5 ESV). Continue reading “Priests of God”

A perfect sacrifice

“The Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock. If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish…If his gift for a burnt offering is from the flock, from the sheep or goats, he shall bring a male without blemish’” (Leviticus 1:1-3,10 ESV).

Although the books of the Law are usually not our favorite scriptures to read, these are God’s word. Even though they were given to the Israelites as they were becoming God’s nation, they do contain principles and lessons for us as Christians who are living 3,500 years later. So they are worthy of our consideration. Continue reading “A perfect sacrifice”

Love one another

“I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 NET).

Just after Jesus finished washing the feet of his disciples (John 13:1-17) and Judas had departed (John 13:18-33), Jesus began to give his final instructions to the men who had been with him for so long. Jesus loved these men (John 13:1) and he wanted to prepare them for what was about to happen (John 13:33). Continue reading “Love one another”

How quickly we forget

It took the Israelites three months to reach Mount Sinai after leaving Egypt (Exodus 19:1). During this time God had shown that he was with his people and that he would take care of them.

Besides leading them out of Egypt after the last plague with the plunder they had been given, he led them through the Red Sea when it appeared they were boxed in and had no where to go (Exodus 14). When they needed fresh water, God provided (Exodus 15, 17). When they needed food, God provided quail and manna (Exodus 16). When enemies attacked them, God gave Israel the victory (Exodus 17). Whatever they needed the Lord provided. Continue reading “How quickly we forget”

In the world, not of the world

This is a phrase we often hear concerning Christians: we are in the world but we are not to be of the world. The fact is that we live on the earth – we are in the world. But Christians are to be different from those we live among – we are not to be of the world.

The idea of God’s people being different from those who don’t follow God seems to have always been there. Abel obeyed God in his sacrifice while Cain did not. Noah built an ark while everyone else questioned what he was doing. Abraham was given a special symbol – circumcision – to show that he was different and that he and his descendants followed God. Continue reading “In the world, not of the world”

People are important

There are some chapters in the Bible that we tend to avoid reading and that we definitely don’t want to have to read in public! The top of our list would undoubtedly be genealogies – someone begat someone who begat someone else…and on and on the list goes. Just down from that would be lists of names like we find in Romans 16.

Although we might initially find such lists “boring,” the more we study them the more I become fascinated with what I find. Rather than “just” being a list of names, what we have in Romans 16 are snapshots into Paul’s life. We really don’t know much about Paul. We have a general overview of his life from the time he became a Christian in the book of Acts, although great chunks are even missing from that account. We have a few odds and ends scattered throughout the letters he wrote. Then we find a long list of names like we have here. His life suddenly becomes quite interesting. Continue reading “People are important”

The war against Christians

In Revelation 12 we have what could be considered one of the easiest to understand of the word-pictures in John’s Revelation. Although possibly a simple picture to understand, it contains a message that all Christians would do well to remember.

“Then a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was screaming in labour pains, struggling to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: a huge red dragon that had seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadem crowns. Now the dragon’s tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. So the woman gave birth to a son, a male child, who is going to rule over all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was suddenly caught up to God and to his throne, and she fled into the wilderness where a place had been prepared for her by God, so she could be taken care of for 1,260 day” (Revelation 12:1-6 NET). Continue reading “The war against Christians”

Are we as bad as ancient Israel?

There are three ways we can read the history of Israel in the Old Testament. We can read with disinterest, arrogance or humility. Only one of these is acceptable to God.

We read with disinterest because we don’t care about what happened to them. Moreover, we likely don’t see any real value in the Old Testament. In doing so, we set ourselves at odds with God.

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4, NKJV).

Continue reading “Are we as bad as ancient Israel?”