Food for the Poor (Leviticus 19)

             “…you shall leave them for the poor and the alien:”

            The land of Canaan was beautiful and fertile.  This was the land God had promised the people of Israel; a fruitful land and a great place to live!  God in his infinite mercy and incomparable compassion provided the best place under the sun for the Jews.  He was also gracious with the poor and with the foreigners that had made the perilous trek from Egypt.

During harvest season, the people of God were instructed not to reap the entire field.  They were also forbidden to gather fallen fruits.  These “leftovers” were for the poor and the aliens (not from Mars).  Sometimes the saying becomes reality:

            “A man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

As believers in Christ, we have the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23), and we bear spiritual fruits as well (John 15:5, 8).  This fruit is not designed for self-consumption or self-edification, but to be a channel of God’s blessings unto others.  God wants to bless everyone around us, specially the poor and the alien.

The “poor” are those weaker brothers and sisters that need our affirmation.  God can use our fruits and gifts to edify these needy Christians in the ways of the Lord.  We can also help those who are physically poor, specially our brothers and sisters in Christ.

The “alien” is that person who is living in sin, without Christ and void of hope.  He also needs to “eat” the Bread of life and drink the Living Water that we possess.  After all, it was Jesus who commanded the apostles, on the feeding of the 5,000:

             “…you give them something to eat.”

A. G.

    Two Outfits (Leviticus 18)

                                                                   

“You shall not uncover the nakedness…”

A Pastor asked the following question during a worship service:

“Who would like to be an immoral person?”  No one raised their hands.

Undaunted, the pastor asked yet another question,

“Who would like to live in holiness for the Lord?”

There was a unanimous vote.

Most Christians I know, desire the same thing, but only very few are able to practice holiness consistently.  Why? For the same reason that holiness doesn’t come to our lives just because we wish to be holy.  It takes prayer, meditation in God’s word and active pursuit, in the midst of a tempting and darkened world.

God prohibited the Israelites to uncover anybody’s nakedness (except the spouse), simply because as humans we have a strong tendency to sin.  Pornography has ruined the lives of many believers including well known Christian leaders.  We are called to be an example to the world, but an example of holiness and love, not of adultery, divorce and immorality.

God demands holiness from his church today!  If we fix our eyes on Jesus, then we won’t look to pornography in any of its manifestations.  Remember that God is holy and we are holy in Christ, therefore we must live in holiness.

Every morning of your life there will be two different outfits waiting to be chosen by you.  One is beautiful on the outside and it’s called “Immorality.”  The other one is glorious inside and it is made by God:  “Holiness.”

Which one will you wear?

A. G.

Cut Off (Leviticus 17)

            “…he shall be cut off from the people.”

A little girl and her grandfather went one day to the park to fly a kite.  It was a sunny day and a gentle breeze was flowing from the south; an ideal situation for flying kites indeed!

Her beautiful kite flew higher than all the other ones, and she was enjoying every minute until…

  “Look Grandpa; the line is stuck in the tree!” Screamed the girl, as she watched how the line was severed and the colorful kite disappeared forever into the blue sky.

God promised the same end to those who dared mock him with incorrect or incomplete sacrifices:  They would be cut off from the people; in other words, they would die for their sins.

Believe it or not, there are Christians who mock God and his vicarious sacrifice.  We sometimes get involved in this foolish game, where we “play” the role of disobedient believers who attempt to ridicule the Lord.

This is a dangerous game to play for two reasons:  We cannot mock God, and he can cut us off.

Cut us off?

Certainly! Even though we have eternal (spiritual) life in Christ, God can cut our physical existence short if we are useless or immoral.

The Bible admonishes us not to be like children anymore who, as the cordless kite, are “tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine.” (Ephesians 4:14).  Let us then, remain connected to God so that we become useful Christians who minister, not mock, the Holy and Sovereign God.

A.  G.

 From the Tavern to the Tabernacle (Leviticus 16)

            “…the tent of the meeting…”

Since the beginning of Creation God’s purpose has been to meet with his creatures.  He enjoyed his daily meetings with Adam and Eve until the day of their fall into sin.  Now they were hiding from God; the same God who made them.

Many years after that fateful incident, we see God initiating again another relationship.  Now it was with the recently liberated people of Israel.  God ordered Moses to build a tabernacle, a holy tent of meeting, where God and his people could meet again.

This building (and the temple later on) was considered to be God’s house.  Nevertheless, you and I know that there is no house or universe for that matter, that can accommodate the Omnipresent God.  But somehow God’s presence and his glory were in the Tabernacle.

The main purpose of the tent was to be a place of meeting between true worshippers and the Lord of lords and God of glory.  Unfortunately not everyone could go into the Holy Place; a priest had to represent the people.

The Tabernacle or temple of God is now our own body.  Jesus dwells inside our hearts, but we rarely “meet” with the Lord.  We tend to take God for granted and dedicate the bulk of our time to the pursuit of the trivial and the temporal.  Beloved, this is wrong; we must meet with Jesus daily.

The Israelites left the “Taverns of Egypt,” a place of sin and slavery, and now they had the opportunity to come to the “Tabernacle of Elohim.”  God wants to meet with you today and every day.  To Him it is a great pleasure and for us a necessity.

A. G.

Until the Evening (Leviticus 15)

            “…and be unclean until the evening.”

I have worked with children in summer camps for many years, and I have seen my share of unclean boys (and girls).  Sometimes the mothers would get hysterical to see so much dirt on their children.  There was dirt on their knees, hands, faces, hair and in some noses as well.

That was the natural consequence of taking a group of energetic kids to the park.  You see, a child doesn’t just play; he interacts with dirt until he becomes “one with the earth.”  They become unclean as they have fun in the mud, but do not worry; a good bath will take care of the dirt, that is, if you can make the child take a “good” bath.

There is another kind of uncleanness which is invisible, and hard to clean at the same time.  I’m referring specifically to the unclean heart.  Satan was created as an angel of light and marvelous in all his ways until his heart became unclean.

Pride entered into his heart and with it, the impossible desire to become God; but there was only one small problem, there was already a God!  Since then, Satan became unclean and an enemy of the Lord.  What began in his heart, now developed into a full blown rebellion against Yahweh in which he persuaded a myriad of angels to join him in his doomed “empire.”  Those angels became known as demons or unclean spirits.

Uncleanness was later transmitted to humanity through the “valiant” efforts of Adam and Eve.  Though we still retain God’s image it has been perverted and distorted by sin.  Thank God we were unclean only until the “evening;” for it was at that time that Jesus shed his blood to clean our sins forever!

A. G.