1580.) Proverbs 4

May 22, 2015

Proverbs 4 (New Living Translation)

A Father’s Wise Advice

1 My children, listen when your father corrects you.
Pay attention and learn good judgment,
2 for I am giving you good guidance.
Don’t turn away from my instructions.
3 For I, too, was once my father’s son,
tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.

My father, Jasper Riskedahl, was a wonderful teacher of biblical truth and a gracious model of the godly life to me.

4 My father taught me,
“Take my words to heart.
Follow my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
Love her, and she will guard you.
7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
8 If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
Embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
she will present you with a beautiful crown.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is The Mormon Tabernacle choir sings “Faith of Our Fathers.”

  1. Faith of our fathers, living still,
    In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
    Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
    Whene’er we hear that glorious Word!
    Refrain:
    Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
    We will be true to thee till death.
  2. Faith of our fathers, we will strive
    To win all nations unto thee;
    And through the truth that comes from God,
    We all shall then be truly free.
  3. Faith of our fathers, we will love
    Both friend and foe in all our strife;
    And preach thee, too, as love knows how
    By kindly words and virtuous life.

–Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863

_________________________

10 My child, listen to me and do as I say,
and you will have a long, good life.
11 I will teach you wisdom’s ways
and lead you in straight paths.

12 When you walk, you won’t be held back;
when you run, you won’t stumble.
13
Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.
Guard them, for they are the key to life.

14 Don’t do as the wicked do,
and don’t follow the path of evildoers.
15 Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way.
Turn away and keep moving.
16 For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day.
They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble.
17 They eat the food of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence!

18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

Philippians 2:15-16 (NIV)

You shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.

19 But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.
They have no idea what they are stumbling over.

20 My child, pay attention to what I say.
Listen carefully to my words.
21 Don’t lose sight of them.
Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22 for they bring life to those who find them,
and healing to their whole body.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

23 Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.

24 Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech.

25 Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26
Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
27 Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.

Mount St. Helens

Proverbs 4:25-27 —

Let your eyes look directly forward,

and your gaze be straight before you.

Ponder the path of your feet;

then all your ways will be sure.

Do not swerve to the right or to the left;

turn your foot away from evil.

Prospects for climbing Mount St. Helens were not encouraging.  Rain was falling in torrents and the mountain we had come so far to climb couldn’t even be seen.  Hoping that the weather would improve by morning, we pitched our tents and crawled into our sleeping bags.

When morning arrived, the weather, although somewhat improved, was far from ideal.  Clouds still hid the mountain and a fine drizzle of rain was falling.  We showed little enthusiasm as we strapped on our crampons and roped up for the climb.

Five hours later, our previous lack of enthusiasm had turned to gloom.  The rain was still falling, visibility was poor, and the snow slope was becoming increasingly steep.

Another hour of dogged perseverance, however, brought us above the clouds and into dazzling sunshine.  Wave upon wave of fleece appeared to cover the universe, with the summits of Mount Adams and Mount Rainier the only visible land masses.  The discomfort which we had suffered seemed a small price to pay for the magnificent sight spread before us.

How often in the spiritual realm are mountaintop experiences preceded by periods of discouragement?  Indeed, the spiritual mountaintop experiences are often the direct result of persevering in the face of discouraging circumstances—of taking one’s stand in the face of ridicule; of staying unruffled when unfairly criticized; or of remaining steadfast in prayer for a loved one who does not recognize God’s claim upon his life.  Only those who toil to the summit will see the view!  Only those who bear the cross will receive the blessing!

–Dr. Onas Cudley Scandrette, in Stones of Remembrance

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Proverbs 4:18-19.    http://k53.pbase.com/v3/89/415789/2/51688760.favproverbs41819.jpg
boy running.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/1bc4c-jackson_running.jpg
shining stars.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/4-shining-stars.jpg
heart and tree.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/hearttree.jpg
Mount St. Helens.    http://images.reserve123.com/product/8708-2.jpg

1579.) Psalm 35

May 21, 2015

Psalm 35 (NASB)

1Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
2Take hold of buckler and shield
And rise up for my help.
3Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me;
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”

1 Thessalonians 5:9 (ESV)

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us.

4Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life;
Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.
5Let them be like chaff before the wind,
With the angel of the LORD driving them on.
6Let their way be dark and slippery,
With the angel of the LORD pursuing them.
7For without cause they hid their net for me;
Without cause they dug a pit for my soul.
8Let destruction come upon him unawares,
And let the net which he hid catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall.

9And my soul shall rejoice in the LORD;
It shall exult in His salvation.

Ps35 v910All my bones will say, “LORD, who is like You,
Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him,
And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?”

11Malicious witnesses rise up;
They ask me of things that I do not know.
12They repay me evil for good,
To the bereavement of my soul.

13But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled my soul with fasting,
And my prayer kept returning to my bosom.

enemies_love_

Here’s a great verse to help you pray for your enemies.

Psalm 35:13 says:  “But as for me when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth.  I humbled my soul with fasting and my prayer returned into my own bosom.”

Praying for people you do not like, or people who hate you, is not the most inspirational thing to do—I must admit. But there is great benefit in doing so.

David is saying here that his prayers did not benefit his enemies due to their sin and rebelliousness toward God. Yet God rewarded him for his prayers and for showing mercy and grace toward them in their time of trouble (“my prayer returned into my own bosom”).

David fasted and prayed for his enemies. He showed compassion toward them.  He treated his enemy as a friend. He returned good for evil, as he would to his own brother or mother. What a great heart!

Jesus told us to turn the other cheek.In Matthew 5:44 he said: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” He not only taught it, he lived it.

On the cross he prayed “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Do you need to pray a prayer like this?

–Lui Ponifazio

14I went about as though it were my friend or brother;
I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother.
15But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered themselves together;
The smiters whom I did not know gathered together against me,
They slandered me without ceasing.
16Like godless jesters at a feast,
They gnashed at me with their teeth.
17Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue my soul from their ravages,
My only life from the lions.
18I will give You thanks in the great congregation;
I will praise You among a mighty throng.

19Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me;
Nor let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously.
20
For they do not speak peace,
But they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land.
21
They opened their mouth wide against me;
They said, “Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it!”
22You have seen it, O LORD, do not keep silent;
O Lord, do not be far from me.

Genesis 16:13 (NLT)

Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.”

23Stir up Yourself, and awake to my right
And to my cause, my God and my Lord.
24Judge me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness,
And do not let them rejoice over me.
25Do not let them say in their heart, “Aha, our desire!”
Do not let them say, “We have swallowed him up!”

26Let those be ashamed and humiliated altogether who rejoice at my distress;
Let those be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves over me.

27Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication;
And let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified,
Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.”
28And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness
And Your praise all day long.

My lips will praise you, for you are holy.
My voice will ever rise before your throne.
My heart will love you, for you are lovely,
and you have called me to become your own.

_________________________

Music:

All together, now!  HERE  is “O for a thousand tongues to sing,” written by Charles Wesley (who visited the island where I live, St. Simons Island, GA, in 1736). The hymn was placed first in John Wesley’s A Collection of Hymns for the People Called Methodists published in 1780. It appeared first in every (Wesleyan) Methodist hymnal for the next 200 years!

_________________________

New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Images courtesy of:
flower and 35:23.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/35-flower-and-v27.jpg
Jesus died for me.    http://www.gospelgifs.com/art_pages_12/images/jdfm01.gif
35:9.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/4c/97/db/4c97db607b20b3e666c595093e3a1f40.jpg
Love your enemies.     http://luiponifasio.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/enemies_love_.jpg
Hagar and the God who sees her.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/hagar2bund2bel2broi.jpg
heart and notes.    http://www.stevesternberg.com/images/heart_q5ct.gif

1578.) Psalm 31

May 20, 2015


Psalm 31 (NIV)

1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.

2 Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.

3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

4 Free me from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.

5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Psalm 31:5 — Into Thine hand I commit my spirit:  Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

Do you ever find prayer difficult because of tiredness or dryness?  When that is so, it is an immense help to let the Psalms and hymns we know by heart say themselves or sing themselves inside us.  This is possible anywhere and at any time.

We can’t be mistaken in using this easy, open way of prayer, for our Lord Jesus used it.  His very last prayer, when He was far too tired to pray as He usually did, was Psalm 31:5.  Every Jewish mother used to teach her child to say those words as a good-night prayer.

Hymns, little prayer-songs of our own, even the simplest of them, can sing us into His love.  Or more truly, into the consciousness of his love, for we are never for one moment out of it.

6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
I trust in the LORD.

7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.

“Hagar and the Angel in the Desert,” by James Tissot, 1896 (The Jewish Museum, New York)

“Hagar and the Angel in the Desert,” by James Tissot, 1896 (The Jewish Museum, New York)

Genesis 16:7, 13 (NIV)

The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur . . .

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me.”

8 You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.

9 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief.

10 My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.

11 Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors;
I am a dread to my friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.

12 I am forgotten by them as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.

Psalm 31:12 (Contemporary English Version)

I am completely forgotten

like someone dead.

I am merely a broken dish.

13 For I hear the slander of many;
there is terror on every side;
they conspire against me
and plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”

Faith and prayer must go together.  He that believes, let him pray—I believe, therefore I have spoken; and he that prays, let him believe;  for the prayer of faith is the prevailing prayer.

–Matthew Henry

15 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from my enemies
and from those who pursue me.

16 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.

17 Let me not be put to shame, O LORD,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and lie silent in the grave.

18 Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.

19 How great is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you,
which you bestow in the sight of men
on those who take refuge in you.

Ephesians 3:16-19 (New Living Translation)

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.  Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from the intrigues of men;
in your dwelling you keep them safe
from accusing tongues.

21 Praise be to the LORD,
for he showed his wonderful love to me
when I was in a besieged city.

_________________________

Music:

So many stories in the Bible of God answering the prayers of desperate people! Are you feeling trapped in a “besieged city” now? Call to the Lord for help.  HERE  is “You Are My Hiding Place” by Selah.

_________________________

22 In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.

23 Love the LORD, all his saints!
The LORD preserves the faithful,
but the proud he pays back in full.

24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the LORD.

Ps31 v24

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
verses 14-15.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/preview_psalm31_14-15.jpg
face of Jesus.    http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/Stations/images/hface.jpg
Tissot.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/hagar_desert.jpg
“Broken Dishes” by Jean Cannon.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/31-brokendishes.jpg
prayer and faith.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/31-prayer-and-faith-umbrella2.jpg
“Deep Roots”  oil painting by Jimmy King.   http://fineartamerica.com/images-medium/deep-roots-jimmy-king.jpg
He shall strengthen your heart.    http://alittleperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/psa-31-24-ww-wall-900×600.jpg

1577.) Leviticus 27

May 19, 2015
votive candles

votive candles

Leviticus 27   (NRSV)

Votive Offerings

votive:

  1. Given or dedicated in fulfillment of a vow or pledge: a votive offering.
  2. Expressing or symbolizing a wish, desire, or vow: a votive prayer; votive candles.

–The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When a person makes an explicit vow to the Lord concerning the equivalent for a human being, 3the equivalent for a male shall be: from twenty to sixty years of age the equivalent shall be fifty shekels of silver by the sanctuary shekel. 4If the person is a female, the equivalent is thirty shekels. 5If the age is from five to twenty years of age, the equivalent is twenty shekels for a male and ten shekels for a female. 6If the age is from one month to five years, the equivalent for a male is five shekels of silver, and for a female the equivalent is three shekels of silver. 7And if the person is sixty years old or over, then the equivalent for a male is fifteen shekels, and for a female ten shekels. 8If any cannot afford the equivalent, they shall be brought before the priest and the priest shall assess them; the priest shall assess them according to what each one making a vow can afford.

27. humanvaluechart

Persons were assigned a value according to their age and general usefulness to society; especially in an agricultural society, there was a definite sense in which a man between 20 and 50 was more “valuable” than a child one month to five years old.

–David Guzik

9If it concerns an animal that may be brought as an offering to the Lord, any such that may be given to the Lord shall be holy. 10Another shall not be exchanged or substituted for it, either good for bad or bad for good; and if one animal is substituted for another, both that one and its substitute shall be holy. 11If it concerns any unclean animal that may not be brought as an offering to the Lord, the animal shall be presented before the priest. 12The priest shall assess it: whether good or bad, according to the assessment of the priest, so it shall be. 13But if it is to be redeemed, one-fifth must be added to the assessment.

27. cow and sheep

14If a person consecrates a house to the Lord, the priest shall assess it: whether good or bad, as the priest assesses it, so it shall stand. 15And if the one who consecrates the house wishes to redeem it, one-fifth shall be added to its assessed value, and it shall revert to the original owner.

27. monopoly-house

16If a person consecrates to the Lord any inherited landholding, its assessment shall be in accordance with its seed requirements: fifty shekels of silver to a homer of barley seed. 17If the person consecrates the field as of the year of jubilee, that assessment shall stand; 18but if the field is consecrated after the jubilee, the priest shall compute the price for it according to the years that remain until the year of jubilee, and the assessment shall be reduced. 19And if the one who consecrates the field wishes to redeem it, then one-fifth shall be added to its assessed value, and it shall revert to the original owner; 20but if the field is not redeemed, or if it has been sold to someone else, it shall no longer be redeemable. 21But when the field is released in the jubilee, it shall be holy to the Lord as a devoted field; it becomes the priest’s holding.

22If someone consecrates to the Lord a field that has been purchased, which is not a part of the inherited landholding, 23the priest shall compute for it the proportionate assessment up to the year of jubilee, and the assessment shall be paid as of that day, a sacred donation to the Lord. 24In the year of jubilee the field shall return to the one from whom it was bought, whose holding the land is. 25All assessments shall be by the sanctuary shekel: twenty gerahs shall make a shekel.

27. field in Russia

26A firstling of animals, however, which as a firstling belongs to the Lord, cannot be consecrated by anyone; whether ox or sheep, it is the Lord’s. 27If it is an unclean animal, it shall be ransomed at its assessment, with one-fifth added; if it is not redeemed, it shall be sold at its assessment.

28Nothing that a person owns that has been devoted to destruction for the Lord, be it human or animal, or inherited landholding, may be sold or redeemed; every devoted thing is most holy to the Lord.

29No human beings who have been devoted to destruction can be ransomed; they shall be put to death.

30All tithes from the land, whether the seed from the ground or the fruit from the tree, are the Lord’s; they are holy to the Lord.

Ten percent of red color

Malachi 3:10 (NIV)

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

31If persons wish to redeem any of their tithes, they must add one-fifth to them. 32All tithes of herd and flock, every tenth one that passes under the shepherd’s staff, shall be holy to the Lord. 33Let no one inquire whether it is good or bad, or make substitution for it; if one makes substitution for it, then both it and the substitute shall be holy and cannot be redeemed.

34These are the commandments that the Lord gave to Moses for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai.

“Reader, thou hast now gone through the whole of this most interesting book; a book whose subject is too little regarded by Christians in general. Here thou mayest discover the rigid requisitions of Divine justice, the sinfulness of sin, the exceeding breadth of the commandment, and the end of all human perfection . . . By this law then is the knowledge, but not the cure of sin . . . We see then that Christ was the end of the law for righteousness (for justification) to every one that believeth.”

–Adam Clarke, quoted in David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

YOU HAVE MADE IT! — all the way to the end of Leviticus!  Congratulations!  I hope you have learned something through these chapters about God’s love for his people and his concern for holiness in every detail in our lives.  The song “You Are Mine” —  HERE  — speaks to us in our current daily situations, but note the echoes of Leviticus as you listen.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
votive candles.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/galleries/prayeraids/images/1.jpg
human value chart.  http://www.jerrypettit.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/humanvalue.png
animals.  http://images.replacements.com/images/images5/china/C/department_56_little_town_of_bethlehem_no_box_P0000149993S0207T2.jpg
house.  http://media.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/real_estate/s_monopoly-house.jpg
field of grain in Russia.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/27-field-in-russia.jpg?w=450
10%.    http://duplexchick.com/files/2009/04/10-percent.jpg

1576.) Leviticus 26

May 18, 2015
Leviticus 26:12

Leviticus 26:12

Leviticus 26   (NRSV)

Rewards for Obedience

You shall make for yourselves no idols and erect no carved images or pillars, and you shall not place figured stones in your land, to worship at them; for I am the Lord your God.

2You shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.

3If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, 4I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land.

In the ancient Near East it was customary for legal treaties to conclude with passages containing blessings upon those who observed the enactments, and curses upon those who did not.

–David Guzik

6And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword shall go through your land.

Lev26 peaceful_kingdom

Psalm 29:11 (KJV)

The LORD will give strength unto his people;
the LORD will bless his people with peace.

7You shall give chase to your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8Five of you shall give chase to a hundred, and a hundred of you shall give chase to ten thousand; your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

9I will look with favor upon you and make you fruitful and multiply you; and I will maintain my covenant with you. 10You shall eat old grain long stored, and you shall have to clear out the old to make way for the new. 11I will place my dwelling in your midst, and I shall not abhor you. 12And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people.

26. Good Shepherd Hospital

Mark 2:17 (NLT)

Jesus told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

13I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be their slaves no more; I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

Lev26 mummy-holding-a-baby

Psalm 3:3 (NASB)

But You, O LORD, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “It Is You”  —  words and music by Australian musician Peter Furler, of the Newsboys, a Christian pop rock band.

_________________________

Penalties for Disobedience

14But if you will not obey me, and do not observe all these commandments, 15if you spurn my statutes, and abhor my ordinances, so that you will not observe all my commandments, and you break my covenant, 16I in turn will do this to you: I will bring terror on you; consumption and fever that waste the eyes and cause life to pine away. You shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down by your enemies; your foes shall rule over you, and you shall flee though no one pursues you.

18And if in spite of this you will not obey me, I will continue to punish you sevenfold for your sins. 19I will break your proud glory, and I will make your sky like iron and your earth like copper.

"Iron Earth Copper Sky"

“Iron Earth-Copper Sky” photograph by Eren Ozkapici, 2005.

20Your strength shall be spent to no purpose: your land shall not yield its produce, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit.

21If you continue hostile to me, and will not obey me, I will continue to plague you sevenfold for your sins. 22I will let loose wild animals against you, and they shall bereave you of your children and destroy your livestock; they shall make you few in number, and your roads shall be deserted.

23If in spite of these punishments you have not turned back to me, but continue hostile to me, 24then I too will continue hostile to you: I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins. 25I will bring the sword against you, executing vengeance for the covenant; and if you withdraw within your cities, I will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into enemy hands. 26When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven, and they shall dole out your bread by weight; and though you eat, you shall not be satisfied.

27But if, despite this, you disobey me, and continue hostile to me, 28I will continue hostile to you in fury; I in turn will punish you myself sevenfold for your sins. 29You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. 30I will destroy your high places and cut down your incense altars; I will heap your carcasses on the carcasses of your idols. I will abhor you. 31I will lay your cities waste, will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your pleasing odors.

Lev26 ArchofTitus

Psalm 74:3-7 (NIV)

Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins,
all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.

Your foes roared in the place where you met with us;
they set up their standards as signs.

They behaved like men wielding axes
to cut through a thicket of trees.

They smashed all the carved paneling
with their axes and hatchets.

They burned your sanctuary to the ground;
they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.

32I will devastate the land, so that your enemies who come to settle in it shall be appalled at it. 33And you I will scatter among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword against you; your land shall be a desolation, and your cities a waste. 34Then the land shall enjoy its sabbath years as long as it lies desolate, while you are in the land of your enemies; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its sabbath years. 35As long as it lies desolate, it shall have the rest it did not have on your sabbaths when you were living on it.

36And as for those of you who survive, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall though no one pursues. 37They shall stumble over one another, as if to escape a sword, though no one pursues; and you shall have no power to stand against your enemies. 38You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall devour you. 39And those of you who survive shall languish in the land of your enemies because of their iniquities; also they shall languish because of the iniquities of their ancestors.

26. praying_man

2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

40But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their ancestors, in that they committed treachery against me and, moreover, that they continued hostile to me— 41so that I, in turn, continued hostile to them and brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; I will remember also my covenant with Isaac and also my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43For the land shall be deserted by them, and enjoy its sabbath years by lying desolate without them, while they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they dared to spurn my ordinances, and they abhorred my statutes. 44Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, or abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God; 45but I will remember in their favor the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, to be their God: I am the Lord.

26. kitten sees lion

Reflection:

We make our decisions, and then our decisions turn around and make us.
–R. W. Boreham

What a choice put before the Israelites:  to obey or not to obey.  What decision could you make today that would help you grow more and more into the person God wants you to be?

46These are the statutes and ordinances and laws that the Lord established between himself and the people of Israel on Mount Sinai through Moses.

Resources:

Lev26 ScrollJars

See  HERE  a portion of Leviticus from the Dead Sea Scrolls!

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
verse 12.   https://iamlori2.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/leviticus.gif
“A Peaceful Kingdom” by Florida artist Maryanne Jacobsen.  http://www.maryannejacobsen.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/peaceful_kingdom.jpg
Good Shepherd Hospital in Swaziland.  http://steganography.tripod.com/africa/gsh/gsh.jpg
mom holding baby’s head.  http://www.babyphotospictures.com/thumb/mummy-holding-a-baby.jpg
Ozkapici.  http://gallery.photo.net/photo/3202167-md.jpg
Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum — the lampstand may have been taken from Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem.  http://www.ebibleteacher.com/images/ArchofTitusTempleTreasurestbn011901.jpg
praying man.   http://feastoftheheart.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/man-kneeling3.jpg
kitten sees lion.  http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/askville/5880747_9088679_mywrite/kitty.jpg
archaeological pottery.  http://jewishexponent.com/sites/default/files/article/main_image/ScrollJars-1.jpg

1575.) Leviticus 25

May 15, 2015

Lev25 year of jubilee
Leviticus 25   (NRSV)

The Sabbatical Year

The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: 2Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land shall observe a sabbath for the Lord. 3Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield; 4but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of complete rest for the land, a sabbath for the Lord: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your unpruned vine: it shall be a year of complete rest for the land. 6You may eat what the land yields during its sabbath—you, your male and female slaves, your hired and your bound laborers who live with you; 7for your livestock also, and for the wild animals in your land all its yield shall be for food.

Psalm 24:1  (New International Version)

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.

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Music:

HERE  is “The Sabbath Song,”  by Loretta Weinberger.  Have a blessed and peaceful Sabbath — every seven days and every seven years!

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The Year of Jubilee

Sound the trumpets!

Sound the trumpets!

8You shall count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years. 9Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; on the tenth day of the seventh month—on the day of atonement—you shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land.

"Proclaim Liberty throughout All the Land unto All the Inhabitants thereof" -- Leviticus 25:10

“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the Land unto All the Inhabitants thereof” — Leviticus 25:10 (on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia)

10And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family. 11That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, or reap the aftergrowth, or harvest the unpruned vines. 12For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat only what the field itself produces.

13In this year of jubilee you shall return, every one of you, to your property.

14When you make a sale to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you shall not cheat one another. 15When you buy from your neighbor, you shall pay only for the number of years since the jubilee; the seller shall charge you only for the remaining crop years. 16If the years are more, you shall increase the price, and if the years are fewer, you shall diminish the price; for it is a certain number of harvests that are being sold to you. 17You shall not cheat one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God.

Proverbs 12:3 (English Standard Version)

No one is established by wickedness,
but the root of the righteous will never be moved.

18You shall observe my statutes and faithfully keep my ordinances, so that you may live on the land securely. 19The land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live on it securely. 20Should you ask, What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we may not sow or gather in our crop? 21I will order my blessing for you in the sixth year, so that it will yield a crop for three years. 22When you sow in the eighth year, you will be eating from the old crop; until the ninth year, when its produce comes in, you shall eat the old.

23The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants. 24Throughout the land that you hold, you shall provide for the redemption of the land.

25If anyone of your kin falls into difficulty and sells a piece of property, then the next of kin shall come and redeem what the relative has sold.

25. Boaz gives wheat to Ruth

Ruth 2:19-20 (New Living Translation)

“Where did you gather all this grain today?” Naomi asked. “Where did you work? May the Lord bless the one who helped you!”

So Ruth told her mother-in-law about the man in whose field she had worked. She said, “The man I worked with today is named Boaz.”

“May the Lord bless him!” Naomi told her daughter-in-law. “He is showing his kindness to us as well as to your dead husband. That man is one of our closest relatives, one of our family redeemers.”

26If the person has no one to redeem it, but then prospers and finds sufficient means to do so, 27the years since its sale shall be computed and the difference shall be refunded to the person to whom it was sold, and the property shall be returned. 28But if there is not sufficient means to recover it, what was sold shall remain with the purchaser until the year of jubilee; in the jubilee it shall be released, and the property shall be returned.

29If anyone sells a dwelling house in a walled city, it may be redeemed until a year has elapsed since its sale; the right of redemption shall be one year. 30If it is not redeemed before a full year has elapsed, a house that is in a walled city shall pass in perpetuity to the purchaser, throughout the generations; it shall not be released in the jubilee. 31But houses in villages that have no walls around them shall be classed as open country; they may be redeemed, and they shall be released in the jubilee.

32As for the cities of the Levites, the Levites shall forever have the right of redemption of the houses in the cities belonging to them. 33Such property as may be redeemed from the Levites—houses sold in a city belonging to them—shall be released in the jubilee; because the houses in the cities of the Levites are their possession among the people of Israel. 34But the open land around their cities may not be sold; for that is their possession for all time.

35If any of your kin fall into difficulty and become dependent on you, you shall support them; they shall live with you as though resident aliens. 36Do not take interest in advance or otherwise make a profit from them, but fear your God; let them live with you.

fear your God

A print by Atlanta artist Mark Lawrence, titled “Leviticus 25:36.”

37You shall not lend them your money at interest taken in advance, or provide them food at a profit. 38I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, to be your God.

39If any who are dependent on you become so impoverished that they sell themselves to you, you shall not make them serve as slaves. 40They shall remain with you as hired or bound laborers. They shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee. 41Then they and their children with them shall be free from your authority; they shall go back to their own family and return to their ancestral property. 42For they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves are sold. 43You shall not rule over them with harshness, but shall fear your God.

44As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves.

The Bible contains

verse 44:   I’ll bet the Canadians don’t read Leviticus that way!

45You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. 46You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness.

47If resident aliens among you prosper, and if any of your kin fall into difficulty with one of them and sell themselves to an alien, or to a branch of the alien’s family, 48after they have sold themselves they shall have the right of redemption; one of their brothers may redeem them, 49or their uncle or their uncle’s son may redeem them, or anyone of their family who is of their own flesh may redeem them; or if they prosper they may redeem themselves. 50They shall compute with the purchaser the total from the year when they sold themselves to the alien until the jubilee year; the price of the sale shall be applied to the number of years: the time they were with the owner shall be rated as the time of a hired laborer. 51If many years remain, they shall pay for their redemption in proportion to the purchase price; 52and if few years remain until the jubilee year, they shall compute thus: according to the years involved they shall make payment for their redemption. 53As a laborer hired by the year they shall be under the alien’s authority, who shall not, however, rule with harshness over them in your sight.

54And if they have not been redeemed in any of these ways, they and their children with them shall go free in the jubilee year. 55For to me the people of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

_________________________

Music:

A song of victory in the Year of Jubilee!  HERE  Paul Wilbur sings “The Shout of El Shaddai.”

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
blowing the trumpet over the land.    http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/shofar-i-dawnstarstudios-.jpg
sound the trumpet.  http://s3.amazonaws.com/rapgenius/Cnq3ljt8SjbLPWYgpSEo_trumpet.jpeg
Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.   http://onward.justia.com/seo-images/1005_libertybell.jpg
Boaz gives grain to Ruth.  http://www.preceptaustin.org/Ruth%203%20Boaz%20gives%20wheat%20to%20Ruth.jpg
Lawrence.    http://imagecache5.art.com/p/LRG/18/1899/T8H9D00Z/mark-lawrence-leviticus-2536.jpg
Uncle Leviticus mug.  http://rlv.zcache.com/leviticus_25_44_mug-p168894257436200659qzje_400.jpg

1574.) Leviticus 24

May 14, 2015
Bread and incense before the Lord

Bread and incense before the Lord

Leviticus 24   (NRSV)

The Lamp

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly. 3Aaron shall set it up in the tent of meeting, outside the curtain of the covenant, to burn from evening to morning before the Lord regularly; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 4He shall set up the lamps on the lampstand of pure gold before the Lord regularly.

Jesus said . . .

Jesus said . . .

__________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Burn in Me”  by Paul Wilbur, singer-songwriter, worship leader, and pastor in the Messianic music genre.

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The Bread for the Tabernacle

5You shall take choice flour, and bake twelve loaves of it; two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. 6You shall place them in two rows, six in a row, on the table of pure gold. 7You shall put pure frankincense with each row, to be a token offering for the bread, as an offering by fire to the Lord. 8Every sabbath day Aaron shall set them in order before the Lord regularly as a commitment of the people of Israel, as a covenant forever. 9They shall be for Aaron and his descendants, who shall eat them in a holy place, for they are most holy portions for him from the offerings by fire to the Lord, a perpetual due.

Jesus said . . .

Jesus said . . .

Matthew 12:1-7 (Contemporary English Version)

One Sabbath, Jesus and his disciples were walking through some wheat fields.  His disciples were hungry and began picking and eating grains of wheat.  Some Pharisees noticed this and said to Jesus, “Why are your disciples picking grain on the Sabbath? They are not supposed to do that!”

Jesus answered:   You surely must have read what David did when he and his followers were hungry.  He went into the house of God, and then they ate the sacred loaves of bread that only priests are supposed to eat. Haven’t you read in the Law of Moses that the priests are allowed to work in the temple on the Sabbath?  But no one says that they are guilty of breaking the law of the Sabbath.  I tell you that there is something here greater than the temple.  Don’t you know what the Scriptures mean when they say, “Instead of offering sacrifices to me, I want you to be merciful to others”?  If you knew what this means, you would not condemn these innocent disciples of mine.

Blasphemy and Its Punishment

10A man whose mother was an Israelite and whose father was an Egyptian came out among the people of Israel; and the Israelite woman’s son and a certain Israelite began fighting in the camp. 11The Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name in a curse. And they brought him to Moses—now his mother’s name was Shelomith, daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan— 12and they put him in custody, until the decision of the Lord should be made clear to them.

24. Jesus-Is-Lord

Psalm 138:2 (New International Version)

I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.

13The Lord said to Moses, saying: 14Take the blasphemer outside the camp; and let all who were within hearing lay their hands on his head, and let the whole congregation stone him. 15And speak to the people of Israel, saying: Anyone who curses God shall bear the sin. 16One who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death; the whole congregation shall stone the blasphemer. Aliens as well as citizens, when they blaspheme the Name, shall be put to death.

24.-christ-before-the-high-priest-gerrit-van-honthorst

Mark 14:61-64 (NLT)

But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

Jesus said, “I Am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses?  You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?”

“Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!”

_______________

To keep themselves from blaspheming the name of the Lord, the Jews, in their traditions, went to extreme lengths to avoid saying or writing the name of God–because, in their thinking, you could not blaspheme God’s name if you never said it.

So, only the High Priest was allowed to pronounce the holy name of God (Yahweh), and only once a year, on the day of atonement. The proper pronunciation of the name would be passed on from the high priest to his successor, with the former’s last breath. This is why where was confusion for many years about the exact pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton (YHWH), some pronouncing the name “Jehovah” instead of “Yahweh.”

The Jews also did not write the name of God, because if that paper were destroyed, it might be considered blasphemy or taking the name of the Lord in vain. So, they would write Adonai (“Lord”) instead of Yahweh, and instead of “God” write “G-d,” and refer to God with names like “the Name” instead of saying “God.”

–David Guzik

17Anyone who kills a human being shall be put to death. 18Anyone who kills an animal shall make restitution for it, life for life. 19Anyone who maims another shall suffer the same injury in return: 20fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; the injury inflicted is the injury to be suffered. 21One who kills an animal shall make restitution for it; but one who kills a human being shall be put to death.

24. eye for eye blind

Lex Talionis

One of the purposes of the law is to provide an equitable retaliation for an injured party.  The extent must be defined and restricted.  These verses, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” give us the principle of a punishment equal to, or fitting for,  the crime.  The Latin phrase lex talionis is often used to refer to this principle.

22You shall have one law for the alien and for the citizen: for I am the Lord your God.

23Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel; and they took the blasphemer outside the camp, and stoned him to death.

24. stoning

The people of Israel did as the Lord had commanded Moses.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
bread on the table before the Lord.  http://www.mishkanministries.org/images/TableofShewbread2.jpg
light of the world.  http://dimlamp.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/i-am2.jpg
bread of life.  http://dimlamp.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/i-am1.jpg
“Jesus is Lord.”   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/jesus-is-lord.jpg
“Christ before the High Priest”  by Gerrit van Honthorst, 1617 (National Gallery, London).  http://www.lib-art.com/imgpainting/4/6/12464-christ-before-the-high-priest-gerrit-van-honthorst.jpg
Gandhi quote.  https://harshitkumargupta.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/btn_eye_eye_2751.gif
stoning.  http://www.missiontoisrael.org/images/capital.jpg

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