Meditation for 05/15/2019
“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny ourselves and not do any work—whether native born or an alien living among you—because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. It is a sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the people of the community. ‘This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.’ And it was done, as the Lord commanded Moses.” (Leviticus 16:29-34)
So serious was sin under the old covenant that a special day was appointed annually to make atonement for the sins of the people. Under the new covenant, Jesus died once for all sin. His death is the new covenant’s answer to the Day of Atonement under the old covenant’s.
Still, God’s people need to be aware of our sins, confess them to God regularly, and find His forgiveness and mercy. We can never ignore the serious nature of of sin in our lives, beloved. Nor should we ignore God’s grace by forgiving us of our sins.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Abba, sin remains a serious problem for all of humanity. For believers, we can and must come before Your throne of grace and confess our sins. Then, and only then, can we fell Your closeness as at no other time, and your forgiveness is poured out upon us as if it were warm oil, that covers us completely, leaving us cleansed and fresh to begin again. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“A weakness in our attitude becomes a weakness in our character.”
“’Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the house of Israel upon yourself.’ You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of he house of Israel. ‘After you have finished this, lie down again, this time to our right side, and bear the sin of the house of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.’ (Ezekiel 4:4-8)
Ezekiel needed dramatic ways to catch people’s attention. God gave him symbolic actions which preached God’s message of Jerusalem’s siege and destruction, the Exile as a time of atonement, and the Exile as punishment. This shows the freedom to respond that God gave His inspired messengers. Beloved, sin cannot be confessed and forgiven until we understand its gravity. Ezekiel had to bear Israel’s sins symbolically to understand the immense importance of His task of calling them to repentance. Sin is not an idea or theory to be debated. It is an enemy to be fought and defeated.
Sin, Serious: (Mark 9:42-50)
Those who teach and preach are held to a higher level of accountability, because as this text addresses, if you use your influence to change the mind and hearts of those you teach or preach regarding sin and /or God, you are under the threat of being in Hell for eternity. Those who enter the kingdom of God, do so like children—in humility, faith, and trust. Greatness in the kingdom does not depend on numbers, budgets, or weapons of war. To be great in the kingdom of God one must humble oneself as a servant of others and of God. Greatness is not an achievement recognized by others but at attitude blessed by Almighty God. If we take an impressionable adult or child into wrong behavior and habits, we have darkened two lives. We would be better off buried in the deepest ocean. We must, therefore, do everything possible to prevent ourselves from sinning. Once we understand the gravity of our sins, we then may confess it and seek forgiveness, but not before.
Second Thought of the Day:
Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves. ‘If your brother sins, rebuke him and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him” (Luke 17:1-4)
We must face temptation. It is a part of life. We must not cause temptation. That is grave sin. We should take extreme steps to avoid leading new, immature believers astray. We need to pray for faith to avoid this sin and to forgive those who sin against us.
Continuing expression of forgiveness is a fundamental factor in Christian family life. Jesus described a fellow disciple rather than an actual brother in the home, but the principle of expressed forgiveness remains the same. God’s judgment is promised to those who refuse to express forgiveness even though they desire it for themselves.