Pastor's Meditations

Hard Work (Leviticus 4)

            “He shall bring...and lay his hands...slaughtered...and sprinkle...”

            Sinning is very easy.  We only need to let ourselves be led astray by the passions of the flesh.  Temptation is also very appealing and brings with it the promise of temporary pleasure.  Therefore it’s not difficult to fall into sin.

            To pay for sin however, is very difficult, better yet, it is impossible.  Let’s suppose for a moment, that you and I lived during Moses time, and we had to bring an offering to the tabernacle.

            First of all, we had to travel to the tabernacle and bring one of our best animals to be sacrificed.  Then we had to place our hands on its head, while we confessed our sins.  After we finished doing that, we had to witness how our favorite animal was slaughtered before our very eyes.

            But wait, there is more!  The priest would then dip his finger in the fresh blood, and sprinkle the altar several times.  Finally, we observed how our lamb, OUR LAMB, was burned in the consuming fire!  When we returned home we watched the long line of sinners (and their sheep), waiting for their turn to offer the sacrifice.

            All this hard work had one purpose:  To teach sinners that it does not pay to sin.

             A second of pleasure, is not worth the pain of having offended God, or the guilt that we must now carry on our conscience.

            To repent, and change is also hard work.  We have to bring our broken hearts to Jesus; place our sins at his altar; slaughter our pride and lust; and finally we must be “sprinkled” or filled with the assurance of his everlasting forgiveness.

             A. G.

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The Substitute (Leviticus 3)

            “You shall lay your hand...”

            I read a story about a little boy that was giving blood to be used in his brother’s surgery. As the nurse drained his blood, he remained stoic and quiet, but when she was finished with the transfusion, he asked her:

            “When do I die?”

            In his innocent mind, he was giving not only his blood, but his life to save his brother.  He had become a substitute!

            When the Israelites brought their peace offerings to God, they were required to place their hand over the animal’s head.  This was a symbolic act that represented the “transfer” of their own sins and guilt to their sacrifice.  The animal being offered would become a substitute for the repentant sinners and then die on the altar.

            How sad is to think that an innocent beast was sacrificed for the sin of a human being!  Even more tragic (but necessary) was the crucifixion of Jesus, who died for us, even though he was blameless and pure.  He was and is our one and only Substitute.

            If the blood of animals was unable to forgive sins (Heb. 10:4); then why did they have to be slaughtered and burned?  Those poor sheep and bulls were sacrificed because they were used as substitutes for sinners and as a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice of our Savior.

            One day, in the future, there would appear a Perfect Lamb that would die for the sins of the world “once and for all” (Hebrews 9:12, 26).  Thanks be to God for Jesus, our Substitute!

             A. G.

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Accepted (Leviticus 1)

            “…and it shall be acceptable...”

            Heaven is a gift from God.  Those who want to live in heaven, must receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, and beg Him with repentance and true faith to enter into their hearts.  To be accepted by God however, is in my opinion at least as important or perhaps even more so, than to “accept” Him (like some say).

            The offerings and sacrifices of the Israelites had to be without any blemish.  God would not accept any lamb, ram or bull that were sick, lame, blind or defective in any way. God expected and demanded the best.

            Let us probe ourselves to see if what we are doing is acceptable to God.  Do we have a godly attitude?  Are we serving God or looking for fame or approval?  Is there pride in our hearts? The heart must be the first area to be examined for impurities.  Jesus will only accept a clean and pure heart; a heart that is “broken and contrite” (Ps. 51:17).

            We are accepted by Christ, who in turn makes us acceptable unto the Father.  This is the work of God’s grace in our previously “unacceptable” and sinful lifestyle.  We were redeemed by the blood of Jesus, transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and accepted forever by God the Father.

            If the world despises and rejects us, have no fear for Jesus is here.  Perhaps you will never win an Olympic gold medal (a past dream of mine), or be crowned in a beauty contest, but you are accepted (and loved) by God.

            Desist from pursuing popularity in an effort to be accepted by humans.  You are accepted by God, therefore do works that are acceptable and that bring glory to the Lord.

            A. G.

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A Touch of Oil (Leviticus 2)

           “You shall add oil to it...”

            I enjoy eating bread.  There are many varieties I like, such as Cuban, French, Italian, White Mountain, garlic, etc. I can eat these breads with or without butter, but my favorite additive is olive oil.

            Olive oil (and a little touch of salt or black pepper) brings up the flavor to another dimension.  Any type of bread “anointed” with, or dipped in olive oil becomes a delicacy, a delicious and mouthwatering feast.  Olive oil can transform dry bread into a meal coveted by everyone.

            Oil was indispensable for the grain offerings; without oil they were unacceptable.  The oil was added to the flour, or it was mixed with it, to make unleavened cakes and wafers.  As you know, it is impossible to bake bread or cakes without some kind of oil.

            It is also impossible to be a Christian or live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit.  In the Old Testament, the oil was used for some offerings and to anoint Kings and priests.  In the New, the Holy Spirit replaced this archaic use of oil

            We are anointed with the Holy Spirit today!  To be anointed is to be filled and empowered by the Spirit, to serve God in a mighty way.  We need to pray and ask God to fill us with his Holy Spirit every day, so we can become very effective and powerful Christians.

            Is your life a bit dry and tasteless today?  Ask God for a “touch of oil.” He will not anoint your head with olive oil or give you a second baptism with the Spirit, but he will fill us with his Spirit and we shall become powerful, useful and pleasing to God.

            A. G.

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Order (Exodus 40)

            “...and arrange its setting;”

            The house of God must be in order.  The furniture in the Tabernacle was orderly arranged.  Everything was in its place, whether it was in the outer court, in the Holy Place or in the Holy of Holies.

            An old saying goes like this, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

            I will say that there must be order in every church, and in every church all things must be done in order.

            When we mention the word “order,” it means something different to different people.  For example, some believe that the sanctuary must be orderly; others perhaps place a strong emphasis either in the organizational infrastructure or in the order of the worship service.

            All the aforementioned concepts are good; nevertheless there are far more important matters.  Our churches must place a high value and maintain the order in the following areas:

  1. Doctrinal
  2. Moral/Ethical
  3. Relational (Love)

            When the above items are in order, there will be no divisions or immoral practices in our congregations.  Divisions and scandals in our churches stem from following “every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14), or by loving this world more than God. Therefore, let’s put our lives in order by following the Word; practicing love; and pursuing holiness.

        A. G.

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