Pastor's Meditations

  The Relative (Leviticus 25)

            “…anyone of their family...may redeem them...”

            The year of Jubilee was indeed a blessing from God to his people.  Every fifty years all the slaves were set free and the poor could return to their repossessed homes.  It was truly a year of jubilation and celebration!

            If someone could not or didn’t wish to wait that long to be free or to recover their property, they had another option:  Redemption.  To redeem was to pay the full price for freedom or any debt.  If the person could not afford his own redemption, someone from his family had the right under the Law, to redeem and set him free.

            Christ is our closest Relative.  He redeemed us when we were slaves to sin and our souls belonged to (or were controlled by) the devil.  We inherited a life of misery from our “uncle” Adam and later on we sold ourselves to a sinful lifestyle.

            The saddest part of this dilemma is that the human race couldn’t afford their own redemption from sin and death.  There is not enough money in the universe to pay for our freedom and our best works failed to impress God.

            But thanks be to God that Jesus chose to be our Relative!  He became like us in order to rescue a fallen and sinful race in our darkest hour.  He did not bring money or treasures from heaven to pay our insurmountable debt.  He paid our eternal debt with his own blood.

            Brethren we are not alone in this world.  We have a Celestial Relative who saved us, and gave us a reason to live.  One day, when we enter through Eternity’s gates we shall see Christ our Eternal Relative...and we will praise Him forever.

            A. G.

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Beaten by God (Leviticus 24)

            “…to bring you pure oil of beaten olives...”

            Sometimes I have asked God, or myself why are there so many tests in my life.   When everything seems to be marching right along, I am visited again by a calamity or by some incomprehensible incident.

            Some of these tests seemed unbearable at that time, but we have survived, and hopefully become better (or better equipped) Christians.  The old adage has been materialized through the pain:  “Before God can use somebody, he has to ‘break’ him.”

            Biblical examples abound.  Moses was “burned” in the dessert of Midiam for forty years before becoming the deliverer.  Paul was blinded by Jesus on the road to Damascus, and Peter “betrayed” Jesus three times before he became an apostle of God.

            We would like to think (or dream) that God does not operate in this way anymore, that he has a “softer” or more relaxed approach to make us useful disciples.  From my own experience, I can testify that God works extremely hard to break our pride and vanity before he begins to decide if he wants to use  us or not.

            If I would ask today, who enjoys being broken or beaten by God, not many would respond affirmatively.  This is a painful process in which God “beats the old life out of us” to extract our best, and at the same time the Holy Spirit begins to really shine in us through our circumstances.

            The Israelites would beat the poor olives to withdraw pure oil.  God uses the tests and trials of life to beat our ego into oblivion.  His goal is for us to become transparent vessels through which Christ can be clearly seen. 

             Do you still want to be used by God?

             A. G.

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 Sacred Food (Leviticus 22)

            “No lay person shall eat of the sacred...”

            A priest’s food was sacred; it was to be eaten only by him and those in his household and only within the temple’s confines.  No lay person was allowed to even touch that food. 

            A Christian’s food is also sacred.  We feed on the holy Word of God; which is more potent and balanced than the most nutritious breakfast.  In the Bible we find vitamins for the soul and protein for our spirits. 

            God’s Word, however, is not a magical book, but it is full of divine power.  When we read the word, we are receiving a transfusion of spiritual strength and wisdom; we are connected with the Lord of the universe!

            Christ said:  “Do not throw pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6).  He meant that many people are like spiritual pigs that cannot understand or even appreciate the eternal value of God’s word.  These “pigs” are unbelievers who are spiritually dead and cannot grasp the simplicity or “foolishness” (as they call it) of the Gospel. 

            Beloved, you can understand the Word of God and you must feed on it every day for the rest of your life.  The Holy Spirit is in you, and he will illuminate your mind as you read the Word, so you can fully comprehend what God is communicating to you.  He will also remind you of what has already been learned.

            Therefore when you open the Bible, first open your mind and heart to God.  Come with a spirit of humility and a desire to hear from God and obey what he says.  He will feed you personally; He will give you exactly what you need.

             A. G.

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Party Days (Leviticus 23)

             “...a holy convocation...the appointed feasts...”

            Everybody loves holidays, feasts and parties.  Birthday celebrations are always welcome, no matter how old we are and we also celebrate anniversaries, graduations and a host of other festive occasions.

            Believers in Christ are no strangers to parties and celebrations.  We rejoice during Holy Week (some call it “Easter,” I don’t know why), Thanksgiving and Nativity, also known as “Christmas.”

            These Christian feasts produce in us a mixture of sadness and joy at the same time.  We experience great sadness because Jesus endured great pains and utmost suffering on our behalf.  We are also overcome with pure and unadulterated joy, for the simple reason that Jesus was triumphant over sin, death and hell; and because his victory, is our victory.

            In these feasts or holidays we must praise the Lord with gladness in our hearts; not merely satisfy our carnal appetites with food and drinks.  These are “solemn” feasts designed to exalt the name of God for his love and goodness.

            These holidays should be called “Holy Days,” for they are a “Holy Convocation” to come before God in holiness and humility.   Remember this when you are preparing a banquet on Thanksgiving or buying a gift during the Nativity season.

            The good news is that we do not have to wait for the holidays to come.  Every day is a gift of God, so let’s have a party with the Lord!  Today is a Holy Day to celebrate who Christ is and what he has done for us!

             A. G.

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In His Courts (Leviticus 21)

            “He shall not go outside the sanctuary...”

            There is a verse in the Bible that has always touched my heart. This verse declares that there is no better place to be than in the presence of the Almighty God. I pray that this becomes a reality in my own life, as it was in the life of David, who said:

            “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.”

            These were the words of the kingly psalmist (Psalm 84:10).  He understood the imperative need to be in God’s house to worship the Lord and fellowship with other believers.  To him it was not an obligation, but a pure joy.

            The priest was forbidden to leave the tabernacle.  To go outside of the sanctuary meant a desecration of the tent of meeting, for the anointing of God was upon him.

            Today, there is no tabernacle and there are no Jewish priests, but the same principle applies.  It is good for us to attend church regularly to spend quality time with the Lord.  Regrettably we have to go out of the sanctuary to devote our time to work, school and other mundane activities.

            Our purpose in attending church should be to worship God and to be equipped for the ministry.  Then when we leave the sanctuary, our goal should be to minister to the world.

            The psalmist desired to be in God’s presence more than anything in the world.  In fact a day with the Lord was more valuable to him than a thousand without Him.  Is that your aim? Do you spend time with God? Do you enjoy spending time with the Lord?              

            Is your heart inside his holy sanctuary?

            A. G.

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