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 . . .

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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

1573.) Leviticus 23

May 13, 2015

23. festival book

Leviticus 23   (NRSV)

Appointed Festivals

This chapter introduces us to the seven annual feasts Israel celebrated. These feasts are rich with symbolic and prophetic significance.
–David Guzik (and all following comments in green)

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: These are the appointed festivals of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations, my appointed festivals.

The Sabbath

3Six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no work: it is a sabbath to the Lord throughout your settlements.

Hebrews 4:9-10 (New International Version)

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.

The Passover and Unleavened Bread

Passover star of David

Passover was meant to commemorate Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, and with the sacrifice of the lamb for each family, show how the blood of the lamb averted the judgment of God for each Israelite family.

4These are the appointed festivals of the Lord, the holy convocations, which you shall celebrate at the time appointed for them. 5In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a passover offering to the Lord, 6and on the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of unleavened bread to the Lord; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. 8For seven days you shall present the Lord’s offerings by fire; on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation: you shall not work at your occupations.

The Offering of First Fruits

"Sheaves of Wheat"  by Vincent Van Gogh

“Sheaves of Wheat” by Vincent Van Gogh

The day following Passover’s Sabbath was a time to give the firstfruits of the harvest to God. The idea was to dedicate the first ripened stalks of grain to God, in anticipation of a greater harvest to come.

9The Lord spoke to Moses: 10Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11He shall raise the sheaf before the Lord, that you may find acceptance; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall raise it. 12On the day when you raise the sheaf, you shall offer a lamb a year old, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the Lord. 13And the grain offering with it shall be two-tenths of an ephah of choice flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord; and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. 14You shall eat no bread or parched grain or fresh ears until that very day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your settlements.

The Festival of Weeks

Fifty days after the feast of firstfruits, at the completion of the wheat harvest, Israel was to celebrate the feast of Pentecost by bringing a new grain offering to the Lord; and by waving two loaves of leavened bread unto the Lord.

15And from the day after the sabbath, from the day on which you bring the sheaf of the elevation offering, you shall count off seven weeks; they shall be complete. 16You shall count until the day after the seventh sabbath, fifty days; then you shall present an offering of new grain to the Lord.

Lev23 Pentecost

Acts 2:1-4 (New Living Translation)

On the day of Pentecost[a] all the believers were meeting together in one place.  Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.  Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.  And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

a.  The Festival of Pentecost came 50 days after Passover (when Jesus was crucified).

17You shall bring from your settlements two loaves of bread as an elevation offering, each made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of choice flour, baked with leaven, as first fruits to the Lord. 18You shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, one young bull, and two rams; they shall be a burnt offering to the Lord, along with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord. 19You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of well-being. 20The priest shall raise them with the bread of the first fruits as an elevation offering before the Lord, together with the two lambs; they shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. 21On that same day you shall make proclamation; you shall hold a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. This is a statute forever in all your settlements throughout your generations.

22When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the alien: I am the Lord your God.

23. aliens cartoon

The Festival of Trumpets

shofar

shofar: a ritual instrument often made from a ram’s horn — used to call an assembly or to signal sacrifice

On the first day of the month Tishri on the Jewish ceremonial calendar, the feast of trumpets was held; trumpets were blown to gather together God’s people for a holy convocation.

23The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 24Speak to the people of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of complete rest, a holy convocation commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25You shall not work at your occupations; and you shall present the Lord’s offering by fire.

Matthew 24:31 (English Standard Version)

And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

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Music:

Hear the sound of the shofar  HERE  !

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The Day of Atonement

The people gathered again for a holy convocation; but this was not a celebration feast, but a day to afflict your souls in humble recognition of one’s sin and need for atonement.

26The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27Now, the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you: you shall deny yourselves and present the Lord’s offering by fire; 28and you shall do no work during that entire day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God. 29For anyone who does not practice self-denial during that entire day shall be cut off from the people. 30And anyone who does any work during that entire day, such a one I will destroy from the midst of the people. 31You shall do no work: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your settlements. 32It shall be to you a sabbath of complete rest, and you shall deny yourselves; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening you shall keep your sabbath.

23. Jesus on the Cross

The Day of Atonement

This day is so important that a whole chapter of Leviticus is devoted to it — remember chapter 16?  And Hebrews chapter 9 clearly explains how this day points to Jesus Christ and the work he did on the cross.

The Festival of Booths

The Feast of Tabernacles was a time to rejoice in God’s deliverance and provision for Israel during the time of wilderness wandering; a time when having come into the promised land, looking back with gratitude on all God had done to deliver and provide in the tough times of the wilderness. The Feast of Tabernacles began and ended in rest; it was all about celebration and rest and refreshment.

33The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 34Speak to the people of Israel, saying: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month, and lasting seven days, there shall be the festival of booths to the Lord.

35The first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. 36Seven days you shall present the Lord’s offerings by fire; on the eighth day you shall observe a holy convocation and present the Lord’s offerings by fire; it is a solemn assembly; you shall not work at your occupations.

37These are the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you shall celebrate as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the Lord offerings by fire—burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day— 38apart from the sabbaths of the Lord, and apart from your gifts, and apart from all your votive offerings, and apart from all your freewill offerings, which you give to the Lord.

39Now, the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall keep the festival of the Lord, lasting seven days; a complete rest on the first day, and a complete rest on the eighth day. 40On the first day you shall take the fruit of majestic trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. 41You shall keep it as a festival to the Lord seven days in the year; you shall keep it in the seventh month as a statute forever throughout your generations. 42You shall live in booths for seven days; all that are citizens in Israel shall live in booths, 43so that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

23. sukkah

Nehemiah 8:13-17 (New International Version)

On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the scribe to give attention to the words of the Law.  They found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in booths during the feast of the seventh month  and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make booths”-as it is written.

So the people went out and brought back branches and built themselves booths on their own roofs, in their courtyards, in the courts of the house of God and in the square by the Water Gate and the one by the Gate of Ephraim. The whole company that had returned from exile built booths and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great.

44Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the appointed festivals of the Lord.

23. celebrate stamp

–by Robert C. “Dag” Johnson in Stones of Remembrance

God in His gracious wisdom has always encouraged His people to celebrate the significant events of their lives.  He consistently nudges us to remember our experiences and accomplishments in relation to His sovereign grace.  These nudges may come at unexpected times or in our more reflective hours.  Each seeks to focus our attention on His loving provision.  How often the children of Israel were reminded to establish markers of remembrance in their historic journey.

Celebrations are some of the most important events in our passage through life.  Without them the true meaning of our days here on earth is obscured.  We can diminish life to mere existence, living in a world without a true sense of color or dimension.  Celebrations are essential to our understanding and appreciation of one’s value and worth.  They fuel our dreams and aspirations–they memorialize our commitments and achievements.  They may be personal or cultural, provincial or universal, prosaic or profound, but all are to be enjoyed, relished, and remembered.  Births, marriages, graduations, reunions–all are reminders to celebrate.  Remembering is the avenue for our realization that celebration is one of God’s greatest gifts to us.

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Music:

A perfect song for every celebration — and every day is a gift to celebrate!   HERE   is “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation.”  Sung by Fernando Ortega.

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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:
Book of Jewish Festivals.  http://www.judaicadepot.com/images/book2lg.jpg
Van Gogh. http://www.tfsimon.com/vincent-van-gogh-sheaves-of-wheat.jpg
Pentecost.  http://calvarylutheran.info/Pentecost.jpg
Prayer Pups cartoon.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/23-aliens-cartoon.jpg
blowing the ram’s horn trumpet (shofar).  http://www.helperin.com/images/300dpi/press_shofar_300dpi.jpg
Jesus on the cross.  http://motorcyclingintheusa.com/PhotoGallery/Inspirational/Jesus%20on%20the%20Cross.jpg
booth.  http://subversiveinfluence.com/images/blogposts/sukkah.gif
“Celebrate!” 41-cent stamp.  https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2007/html/pb22211/images/info1.4.10.1.jpg

1572.) Leviticus 22

May 12, 2015
Offering

Psalm 96:8 — “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.”

Leviticus 22   (NRSV)

The Use of Holy Offerings

“We Give Thee But Thine Own”
by William W. How, 1823-1897

We give Thee but Thine own,
Whate’er the gift may be;
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from Thee.

May we Thy bounties thus
As stewards true receive
And gladly, as Thou blessest us,
To Thee our first-fruits give!

To comfort and to bless,
To find a balm for woe,
To tend the lone and fatherless,
Is angels’ work below.

The captive to release,
To God the lost to bring,
To teach the way of life and peace,
It is a Christlike thing.

And we believe Thy Word,
Though dim our faith may be:
Whate’er for Thine we do, O Lord,
We do it unto Thee.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Direct Aaron and his sons to deal carefully with the sacred donations of the people of Israel, which they dedicate to me, so that they may not profane my holy name; I am the Lord.

22. offering-plate-3Say to them: If anyone among all your offspring throughout your generations comes near the sacred donations, which the people of Israel dedicate to the Lord, while he is in a state of uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord.

4No one of Aaron’s offspring who has a leprous disease or suffers a discharge may eat of the sacred donations until he is clean. Whoever touches anything made unclean by a corpse or a man who has had an emission of semen, 5and whoever touches any swarming thing by which he may be made unclean or any human being by whom he may be made unclean—whatever his uncleanness may be— 6the person who touches any such shall be unclean until evening and shall not eat of the sacred donations unless he has washed his body in water. 7When the sun sets he shall be clean; and afterward he may eat of the sacred donations, for they are his food.

The Jews start their days at sundown, not sunrise or midnight. With this description, God indicates that one can start the new day clean and pure to the Lord. No matter how we might have failed the day before, we can begin each new day pure and close to the Lord. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). In application, we can stop beating our selves up for yesterday’s sin. We should confess it, repent of it, and then get on with the business of walking with the Lord today.

–David Guzik

8That which died or was torn by wild animals he shall not eat, becoming unclean by it: I am the Lord.

9They shall keep my charge, so that they may not incur guilt and die in the sanctuary for having profaned it: I am the Lord; I sanctify them.

10No lay person shall eat of the sacred donations. No bound or hired servant of the priest shall eat of the sacred donations; 11but if a priest acquires anyone by purchase, the person may eat of them; and those that are born in his house may eat of his food. 12If a priest’s daughter marries a layman, she shall not eat of the offering of the sacred donations; 13but if a priest’s daughter is widowed or divorced, without offspring, and returns to her father’s house, as in her youth, she may eat of her father’s food. No lay person shall eat of it.

14If a man eats of the sacred donation unintentionally, he shall add one-fifth of its value to it, and give the sacred donation to the priest. 15No one shall profane the sacred donations of the people of Israel, which they offer to the Lord, 16causing them to bear guilt requiring a guilt offering, by eating their sacred donations: for I am the Lord; I sanctify them.

Acceptable Offerings

17The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 18Speak to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel and say to them: When anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens residing in Israel presents an offering, whether in payment of a vow or as a freewill offering that is offered to the Lord as a burnt offering, 19to be acceptable in your behalf it shall be a male without blemish, of the cattle or the sheep or the goats. 20You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable in your behalf. 21When anyone offers a sacrifice of well-being to the Lord, in fulfillment of a vow or as a freewill offering, from the herd or from the flock, to be acceptable it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. 22Anything blind, or injured, or maimed, or having a discharge or an itch or scabs—these you shall not offer to the Lord or put any of them on the altar as offerings by fire to the Lord. 23An ox or a lamb that has a limb too long or too short you may present for a freewill offering; but it will not be accepted for a vow.

Animals with physical anomalies, such as this three-legged goat . . .

24Any animal that has its testicles bruised or crushed or torn or cut, you shall not offer to the Lord; such you shall not do within your land, 25nor shall you accept any such animals from a foreigner to offer as food to your God; since they are mutilated, with a blemish in them, they shall not be accepted in your behalf.

Lev22 steer

. . . or animals which had been castrated, such as the steers pictured above, were useful for food or for service in agricultural areas, but were not acceptable for sacrifice to God.

26The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall remain seven days with its mother, and from the eighth day on it shall be acceptable as the Lord’s offering by fire. 28But you shall not slaughter, from the herd or the flock, an animal with its young on the same day.

29When you sacrifice a thanksgiving offering to the Lord, you shall sacrifice it so that it may be acceptable in your behalf.

Psalm 107:22 (New International Version)

Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy.

30It shall be eaten on the same day; you shall not leave any of it until morning: I am the Lord.

31Thus you shall keep my commandments and observe them: I am the Lord. 32You shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel: I am the Lord; I sanctify you, 33I who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord.

_________________________

Music:

“You Are Lord.”  Written and sung  HERE  by Micah Stampley.

_________________________

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:
offering watercolor picture.  http://redbooks.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/00000000000000000.jpg
offering plate.  http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_le7et4niN11qf4s32.jpg
goat.  http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2019/2534114695_a2f1e74aea.jpg?v=1212097513
Senepol-Brahman cross steers.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/image/6385910-3×2-940×627.jpg

1571.) Leviticus 21

May 11, 2015
Priests on the Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

Priests on the Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem.  The tower in the background is the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.

Leviticus 21   (NRSV)

The Holiness of Priests

Today is my husband’s birthday. David, thank you, in these years of our married life, for being such a wonderful example to me of devotion and obedience to the Lord. I love you.

The Lord said to Moses: Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: No one shall defile himself for a dead person among his relatives, 2except for his nearest kin: his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, his brother; 3likewise, for a virgin sister, close to him because she has had no husband, he may defile himself for her. 4But he shall not defile himself as a husband among his people and so profane himself.

5They shall not make bald spots upon their heads, or shave off the edges of their beards, or make any gashes in their flesh. 6They shall be holy to their God, and not profane the name of their God; for they offer the Lord’s offerings by fire, the food of their God; therefore they shall be holy.

7They shall not marry a prostitute or a woman who has been defiled; neither shall they marry a woman divorced from her husband.

Priests were only to take virgins for wives, as an illustration of the commitment and purity that was required of priests. Priests, under the Old or New Covenant, were only to set their affections on that which is pure.

–David Guzik

For they are holy to their God, 8and you shall treat them as holy, since they offer the food of your God; they shall be holy to you, for I the Lord, I who sanctify you, am holy.

"Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life." --Proverbs 6:25-26

“Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.” –Proverbs 6:25-26

9When the daughter of a priest profanes herself through prostitution, she profanes her father; she shall be burned to death.

10The priest who is exalted above his fellows, on whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been consecrated to wear the vestments, shall not dishevel his hair, nor tear his vestments.

The high priest who tried Jesus sinned against this command at the trial of Jesus (Matthew 26:65), in a dramatic display of horror that Jesus claimed to be God.

–David Guzik

11He shall not go where there is a dead body; he shall not defile himself even for his father or mother. 12He shall not go outside the sanctuary and thus profane the sanctuary of his God; for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the Lord.

13He shall marry only a woman who is a virgin. 14A widow, or a divorced woman, or a woman who has been defiled, a prostitute, these he shall not marry. He shall marry a virgin of his own kin, 15that he may not profane his offspring among his kin; for I am the Lord; I sanctify him.

16The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 17Speak to Aaron and say: No one of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the food of his God. 18For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, one who is blind or lame,

21. parking cartoon

or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, 19or one who has a broken foot or a broken hand, 20or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a blemish in his eyes or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles. 21No descendant of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord’s offerings by fire; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God. 22He may eat the food of his God, of the most holy as well as of the holy. 23But he shall not come near the curtain or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries; for I am the Lord; I sanctify them.

24Thus Moses spoke to Aaron and to his sons and to all the people of Israel.

_________________________

Music:

What are you learning about the need for personal holiness as you are reading through Leviticus?

The priests of Israel were to be, in every detail of their lives, “holy to the Lord.”  Peter says in 1 Peter 2:9 (Amplified Bible) —

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, God’s own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

So through Christ, all of us are priests — all of us are called to be “Living for Your Glory.”  This song,  HERE,   is by Tim Hughes, who is the Director of Worship in an Anglican church in London.

_________________________

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:
priests.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/21-via-dolorosa-jerusalem.jpg?w=450&h=301
San Francisco red light district.   http://images.askmen.com/blogs/news/san-francisco-red-light-district.jpg
cartoon.  http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/mba/lowres/mban120l.jpg

1570.) Leviticus 20

May 8, 2015
John 14:15 -- Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command."

John 14:15 — Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

Leviticus 20  (NRSV)

Penalties for Violations of Holiness

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Say further to the people of Israel: Any of the people of Israel, or of the aliens who reside in Israel, who give any of their offspring to Molech shall be put to death; the people of the land shall stone them to death. 3I myself will set my face against them, and will cut them off from the people, because they have given of their offspring to Molech, defiling my sanctuary and profaning my holy name. 4And if the people of the land should ever close their eyes to them, when they give of their offspring to Molech, and do not put them to death, 5I myself will set my face against them and against their family, and will cut them off from among their people, them and all who follow them in prostituting themselves to Molech.

The worship of the horrific idol Molech was mentioned in Leviticus 18:21. Molech was worshipped by heating a metal statue representing the god until it was red hot, then by placing a living infant on the outstretched hands of the statue, while beating drums drowned out the screams of the child until it burned to death.

–David Guzik

20. ZuluChildren

Psalm 72:4 (New International Version)

He will save the children.

6If any turn to mediums and wizards, prostituting themselves to them, I will set my face against them, and will cut them off from the people.

7Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am the Lord your God. 8Keep my statutes, and observe them; I am the Lord; I sanctify you.

Lev20 little-light

1 Peter 1:13-16 (New International Version)

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

_________________________

from Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit,
by Paul Chilcote

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal.
–Philippians 3:12

God of Perfect Love,

You call me to be perfect even as you are perfect.  That is a monumental claim upon my life.  Despite the fact that this call to be completely conformed to the image of Christ–to be absolutely Christlike in my life–is offensive to many, I will strive to open my life to the transforming power of your perfecting love.  My prayer is that I might become daily more and more like Jesus, your Son.

The perfection to which you call me certainly does not mean that I will ever be free from ignorance or mistakes or infirmities or temptation; neither is it a call to absolute perfection, for only your unconditional love is perfect in this sense.

Rather you call me quite simply to develop such a close and loving relationship with you that I would never want to do anything to separate myself from that love or withhold it from anyone else.  You call me to be loving as Christ was loving, in every relationship and at all times.  And if I live by your grace in this way, then I will always be able to look you in the face without fear and with love in my eyes.

So I pray sincerely that the blood of Christ might cleanse me from all sin.  I know that you are ready to forgive all the darkness of my past and that you are able to fill my heart with your life-transforming Spirit.  I know that Jesus is my advocate, a liberator who frees me from the bondage of my past and sets my course for a future filled with reconciling and liberating love.  Purify me from pride, from self-will, and from anger.

Grant me courage to press on toward the mark for the prize of your high calling in Jesus Christ, not because I can make it my own, but because you have made me your own.   Amen.

9All who curse father or mother shall be put to death; having cursed father or mother, their blood is upon them.

Virtually all commentators agree this is not the outburst of a small child – or even an adolescent – against their parent, but the settled heart of an adult child against their parent. Such inter-generational warfare was not to be tolerated, and punishable by death.

–David Guzik

10If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.

20. lipstick on collar

Reflections on adultery:

“The evils of the body are, murder, theft, and adultery; of the tongue, lying, slander, abuse, and idle talk; of the mind, covetousness, hatred, and error.”
–Buddha

“Adultery occurs in the head long before it occurs in the bed.”
–Charles Swindoll

“He and I had an office so tiny that an inch smaller and it would have been adultery.”
–Dorothy Parker

“I love songs about horses, railroads, land, Judgment Day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak, and love.  And Mother.  And God.”
–Johnny Cash

“Sin cannot tear you away from Christ, even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders.”
–Martin Luther

“Cheating isn’t always kissing, touching, or flirting.  If you gotta delete text messages so your partner won’t see them, you’re already there.”
–anonymous

In cases of this sort, let us say adultery, rightness and wrongness do not depend on committing it with the right woman at the right time and in the right manner, but the mere fact of committing such action at all is to do wrong.
–Aristotle

11The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

12If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall be put to death; they have committed perversion, their blood is upon them.

13If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

14If a man takes a wife and her mother also, it is depravity; they shall be burned to death, both he and they, that there may be no depravity among you.

–Hard to believe they needed a command to say, “Don’t marry your mother-in-law”!

20. mother-in-law cartoon

15If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the animal. 16If a woman approaches any animal and has sexual relations with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them.

17If a man takes his sister, a daughter of his father or a daughter of his mother, and sees her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace, and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people; he has uncovered his sister’s nakedness, he shall be subject to punishment.

18If a man lies with a woman having her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has laid bare her flow and she has laid bare her flow of blood; both of them shall be cut off from their people.

19You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister or of your father’s sister, for that is to lay bare one’s own flesh; they shall be subject to punishment. 20If a man lies with his uncle’s wife, he has uncovered his uncle’s nakedness; they shall be subject to punishment; they shall die childless. 21If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is impurity; he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.

22You shall keep all my statutes and all my ordinances, and observe them, so that the land to which I bring you to settle in may not vomit you out. 23You shall not follow the practices of the nation that I am driving out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24But I have said to you: You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey. I am the Lord your God; I have separated you from the peoples.

25You shall therefore make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; you shall not bring abomination on yourselves by animal or by bird or by anything with which the ground teems, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean. 26You shall be holy to me; for I the Lord am holy, and I have separated you from the other peoples to be mine.

The Canaanites who presently lived in the Promised Land were deeply involved in these sins, and because of that, God would use Israel to judge them and drive them out. God pleaded with Israel to obey Him, that the same fate would not befall Israel. Unfortunately, eventually it did — and the land did cast out Israel, resulting in the exile both for the northern nation of Israel and the southern nation of Judah.

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

The hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” was written in 1826 by Reginald Heber, a bishop in the north of India for the Church of England and a prolific hymn writer.  It is a true classic — sung  HERE  by Hillsong United.

_________________________

27A man or a woman who is a medium or a wizard shall be put to death; they shall be stoned to death, their blood is upon them.

Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Florida

Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Florida

_________________________

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:
obedience training.  http://www.giovannasdogtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/dogTraining-31.jpg
Zulu children.  http://www.figo2009.org.za/photogallery/Culture/ZuluChildren.jpg
this little light.  https://knowmyworth.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/this-little-light.jpg
lipstick on collar.   http://clippernolan.wordpress.com/2008/02/07/10-songs-about-cheating/
mother-in-law cartoon.  http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/awh/lowres/awhn204l.jpg
Cassadaga.   http://perceptivetravel.com/issues/0708/photos/cassadaga.jpg

1569.) Leviticus 19

May 7, 2015
"Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy."  --  Leviticus 19:2

“Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” — Leviticus 19:2

Leviticus 19   (NRSV)

Ritual and Moral Holiness

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

The idea behind the word holy is “separate.” As it is applied to God, it describes God’s apartness. It means that God is different than man and from all other beings in the greatness and majesty of His attributes. He has a righteousness unlike any other; a justice unlike any other; a purity unlike any other; and love, grace, and mercy unlike any other. Part of this idea is that God is not merely a super-man; His being and character are divine, not human.

–David Guzik

3You shall each revere your mother and father,

19. Ten Commandment tablets

Exodus 20:12 (ESV)

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”

and you shall keep my sabbaths: I am the Lord your God.

19. Ten Commandment tablets

Exodus 20:8 (ESV)

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

4Do not turn to idols or make cast images for yourselves: I am the Lord your God.

19. Ten Commandment tablets

Exodus 20:4 (ESV)

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

5When you offer a sacrifice of well-being to the Lord, offer it in such a way that it is acceptable on your behalf. 6It shall be eaten on the same day you offer it, or on the next day; and anything left over until the third day shall be consumed in fire. 7If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination; it will not be acceptable. 8All who eat it shall be subject to punishment, because they have profaned what is holy to the Lord; and any such person shall be cut off from the people.

9When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.

19. Ruth

Ruth 2:2 (NLT)

One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.”

Naomi replied, “All right, my daughter, go ahead.”

11You shall not steal;

19. Ten Commandment tablets

Exodus 20:15 (ESV)

“You shall not steal.”

you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another.

12And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord.

19. Ten Commandment tablets

Exodus 20:7 (ESV)

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”

13You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning.

14You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

19. ada_symbol

Luke 14:13-14 (NIV)

“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

15You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor.

1 Timothy 5:21 (NIV)

I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

16You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

Psalm 15:1-5 (NIV)

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart

and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman.

17You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself.

Galatians 6:1 (The Message)

Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

19You shall keep my statutes.

You shall not let your animals breed with a different kind; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed; nor shall you put on a garment made of two different materials.

"Treat yourself to a spot of everyday luxury with this handsome, luxurious ‘casual’ shirt cut from a fine blend of 45% silk and 55% cotton."

“Treat yourself to a spot of everyday luxury with this handsome, luxurious ‘casual’ shirt cut from a fine blend of 45% silk and 55% cotton.”

20If a man has sexual relations with a woman who is a slave, designated for another man but not ransomed or given her freedom, an inquiry shall be held. They shall not be put to death, since she has not been freed; 21but he shall bring a guilt offering for himself to the Lord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, a ram as guilt offering. 22And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of guilt offering before the Lord for his sin that he committed; and the sin he committed shall be forgiven him.

23When you come into the land and plant all kinds of trees for food, then you shall regard their fruit as forbidden; three years it shall be forbidden to you, it must not be eaten. 24In the fourth year all their fruit shall be set apart for rejoicing in the Lord. 25But in the fifth year you may eat of their fruit, that their yield may be increased for you: I am the Lord your God.

26You shall not eat anything with its blood.

You shall not practice augury or witchcraft.

27You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.

Lev19 beard

To do this was to imitate pagan customs of that day; today, Jewish orthodox men are conspicuous by their untrimmed beards and long, curly locks on the sides of their heads.

28You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.

But I want a tattoo like this!!!

But I want a tattoo like this!!!

29Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, that the land not become prostituted and full of depravity.

30You shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.

31Do not turn to mediums or wizards; do not seek them out, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.

Do not

Do not enter.

John 6:68 (NIV)

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

32You shall rise before the aged, and defer to the old; and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

Lev19 couple-with-greying-hair

Proverbs 16:31 (CEV)

Gray hair is a glorious crown

worn by those

who have lived right.

33When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. 34The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

19. Statue of Liberty

Philippians 3:20 (NIV)

But our citizenship is in heaven.

35You shall not cheat in measuring length, weight, or quantity. 36You shall have honest balances, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

37You shall keep all my statutes and all my ordinances, and observe them: I am the Lord.

_________________________

Music:

Psalm 51:10-12 (NKJV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

HERE  is “Lord, Make Me Pure in Heart”  by Lenny LeBlanc.

_________________________

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:
Holiness.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/holiness1.jpg
Ten Commandments tablet.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/19-ten-commandment-tablets.jpg?w=148&h=150
Ruth gathering grain.   http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/Pictures/Standard%20Bible%20Story%20Readers,%20Book%20Four/images/scan0016.jpg
parking sign.  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/eb/Handicapped_Accessible_sign.svg/2000px-Handicapped_Accessible_sign.svg.png
shirt.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/19-cotton-silk-shirt.jpg?w=450
Orthodox hair.   https://rajandharni.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/med.jpg
tattoo.  http://lh5.ggpht.com/likethisfree/R5NkB6uOwSI/AAAAAAAAASI/tHnboniE-wI/s1600/Full%20Body%20Tattoos3.jpg
psychic sign.    http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumb_36/1135876254WLqc05.jpg
grey-haired couple.   http://iahealth.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/couple-with-greying-hair.jpg
Statue of Liberty.  http://wirednewyork.com/images/city-guide/liberty/liberty.jpg

1568.) Leviticus 18

May 6, 2015
The fundamental issue behind all these prohibitions is the concern to honor God's procreational commission to "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28).

The fundamental issue behind all these prohibitions is the concern to honor God’s procreational commission to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28).

Leviticus 18   (NRSV)

Sexual Relations

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: I am the Lord your God. 3You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not follow their statutes. 4My ordinances you shall observe and my statutes you shall keep, following them: I am the Lord your God. 5You shall keep my statutes and my ordinances; by doing so one shall live: I am the Lord.

6None of you shall approach anyone near of kin to uncover nakedness: I am the Lord.

Who you cannot marry

All these people you cannot marry!  “To uncover nakedness” is a euphemism for sexual relations.

7You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness.

8You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is the nakedness of your father.

9You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born abroad.

10You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son’s daughter or of your daughter’s daughter, for their nakedness is your own nakedness.

11You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, begotten by your father, since she is your sister.

12You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister; she is your father’s flesh.

13You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s flesh.

14You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother, that is, you shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt.

15You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law: she is your son’s wife; you shall not uncover her nakedness.

16You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; it is your brother’s nakedness.

_________________________

Music:

All these complicated rules — but they prevent even more more complicated family relations!  HERE  Ray Stevens sings “I’m My Own Grandpa.”

_________________________

17You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, and you shall not take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are your flesh; it is depravity.

18And you shall not take a woman as a rival to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.

19You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness.

20You shall not have sexual relations with your kinsman’s wife, and defile yourself with her.

21You shall not give any of your offspring to sacrifice them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.

Lev18-philippine-children

Psalm 72:4 (New International Version)

He will save the children.

22You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

This verse is often heard

This verse has been cited for thousands of years in the Judeo-Christian tradition to support the view that homosexual activity is sin.

23You shall not have sexual relations with any animal and defile yourself with it, nor shall any woman give herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it: it is perversion.

24Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for by all these practices the nations I am casting out before you have defiled themselves. 25Thus the land became defiled; and I punished it for its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26But you shall keep my statutes and my ordinances and commit none of these abominations, either the citizen or the alien who resides among you 27(for the inhabitants of the land, who were before you, committed all of these abominations, and the land became defiled); 28otherwise the land will vomit you out for defiling it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.

29For whoever commits any of these abominations shall be cut off from their people. 30So keep my charge not to commit any of these abominations that were done before you, and not to defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God.

18. cross with heart

Ephesians 3:14-19 (New International Version)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

_________________________

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:
gender symbols.  https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7251/6996008403_b4c5bc9fbc.jpg
marriage chart.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/18-who-you-can-marry1.gif
children of the Philippines, photo by Jasper Llanderal.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/18-philippine-children1.jpg
two guys.  http://www.merinews.com/upload/thumbimage/1223032715981_homosexuals_t.JPG
cross with heart, made by the Benedictine Monks of the Weston Priory in Vermont.   http://www.westonpriory.org/esales/images/WC01-400.jpg

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