“Keep my commands and follow them. I am the Lord. Do not profane my holy name. I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who makes you holy and who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I” (Leviticus 22:31-33)
The God of promises repeated His purposes to His people, declaring His plans for a land of much abundance and hope. He also reminded Israel He had selected them to be a separate and unique nation (holy), totally distinct from their neighbors. Chapter 22 reminds religious leaders of their special responsibilities before God. Any misconduct on their part brings dishonor on God’s name and leads God’s people to ignore His holiness. Religious leaders serve only because God chose them apart to obey Him in all aspect of life.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, we as your people must understand our own responsibilities as Your people, and our leaders must also remember that You chose them specifically for His purposes and they must distance themselves from any dishonor towards themselves and God Himself. This we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“When you don’t witness for God, you are witnessing against God!”
“Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have back for good—-no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.” (Philemon 1:15-17)
Christian love and brotherhood helps solve problems and disputes among believers in the church. Paul come have commanded Philemon to accept back his runaway slave Onesimus, but decided to appeal to Philemon as a brother in Christ. This serves as a model for settling disputes in the church. So Paul did not comment on the rightness or wrongness of the institution of slavery. Instead he provided a basis for overcoming the social barriers of business relationships and ultimately of doing away with slaver. To treat another person as a brother makes owning a person as a slave impossible.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Other hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1st Peter 4:8-10)
Only Christ’s blood an cleanse from sin and provide salvation. Through the Spirit’s sanctifying work, we can purify ourselves by obeying the truth of the gospel. Obedience should reveal itself in loving our brothers and sisters from a pure heart. Such pure works demonstrate Christ has cleansed and saved us. Jews expected religious acts or ceremonies to cleanse them. Such rites have no effect, only loving actions. Christian purity comes through the truth of faith in Christ. It expresses itself in love for others.
2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.” (1st John 2:9-11)
Consistent hatred of others is not the trait of a disciple. Love should characterize the disciple’s relationships with other people. No one should take communion, if they are in a dark relationship with a brother or sister. Instead, they should come together to see if they can find common ground to resolver their issue. A witness should also be taken to attest that an effort was indeed attempted. If not resolved, they should then go before the congregation, to openly discuss whatever caused their feelings, and resolve them before taking communion again. We always want to guard ourselves from darkness, because we know who lives in darkness, and it is not Jesus Christ!