Bible Reading and Commentary for the Week January 9 – January 14, 2017

Bible Reading and Commentary for the Week
January 9 – January 14, 2017

Monday, January 9, Leviticus 23
This chapter summarizes the annual festivals God commanded the Jews to celebrate in the Old Testament. Taking the time to learn about these festivals will increase your appreciation of New Testament stories in the life of Jesus and the apostles.

Vv. 1-3, Sabbath — A weekly “festival” of rest and worship.
Vv, 4-8, Passover and Unleavened Bread — Passover reminded the people of God’s grace in the exodus from Egypt. Unleavened bread was to remind them of how the Lord brought their ancestors out of the misery of Egypt with haste.
Vv. 9-14, First fruits — Waving a sheaf of the first barley harvested (as well as the other offerings) reminded the people of the richness of the land the Lord had given them and that God was to come first in their lives.
Vv. 15-22, Feast of Weeks/Pentecost — A celebration of joy in thanks to God for the harvest. In the New Testament it was called “Pentecost” because it came 50 days after the festival of Unleavened Bread. Jews from all over were gathered in Jerusalem for this festival when the events of Acts 2 take place. You can look there at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as the New Testament harvest festival–a harvest of souls.
Vv. 23-25, Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah/New Year — A day of rest and sacrifices as the Jews began a new year.
Vv. 26-32, Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur — The day on which the people celebrated their purification from sin both by sacrifice and the ceremony of the scapegoat (read Leviticus 16:2-34).
Vv. 33-44, Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) — The people constructed small booths (interwoven branches, Neh. 8:15) to live in for the
festival, remembering the “booths” they lived in during the time of the exodus and their travels to the Promised Land.
The festivals for which all Jewish men were to come to Jerusalem were: Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and Ingathering (Thanksgiving) Ex. 23:14-17) See if you can name the church year festivals we celebrate in Christian freedom. If you can’t name them, check out “Luther’s Small Catechism” under the Third Commandment.

Tuesday, January 10, Leviticus 24

Vv. 1-9 — The lamps were to be burning continually through the night, but evidently extinguished in the morning. (I Sam. 3:3) This is the origin of the “eternal light” you see in some churches. The 12 loaves of bread baked weekly and set on the gold table in the Holy Place, reminded the Israelites that their daily bread came from God. Focus on that section of the Lord’s Prayer in your prayers today.

Vv. 10-23 — Despite the beautiful reminders of God’s love and presence, sin still caused problems. We also wrestle with sin each day of our lives. The fact that the blasphemer was stoned to death is a reminder that God is serious about sin–and it’s a call to repentance for all of us.

Wednesday, January 11, Leviticus 25
Vv. 1-7 — Every 7th year was a year of rest. While the Hebrews did not practice crop rotation, the untilled year served the same purpose.
Vv. 8-55 — Every 50th year was “Jubilee Year” where the land also rested as did the people. Property was returned to its original owner. It was a good stewardship lesson. Verse 23 is the reminder the Lord intended.

Thursday, January 12, Leviticus 26
God promises His presence with and blessing on those who love and fol-low Him. To those who reject God and take His blessings for granted, He promises, “I will break down your stubborn pride.” (v. 19) God’s goal was to keep the lives of His people wrapped securely in His mercy (vv. 40-45).

Friday, January 13, Leviticus 27
This final chapter concerns things vowed to the Lord, whether they were servants, animals, a house, family land or purchased land. God gave the people an out, a way to “redeem” it. To substitute cash for the specific item, the people were to add a fifth of its value. Such vows expressed special thanksgiving to the Lord and were over and above their normal sacrifices. Not only would that prevent frivolous vows, but it would point the people to the fact that everything truly belonged to the Lord anyway!

Saturday, January 14, Reviewing key concepts — We see the grace of God in the 5 offerings (chap. 1-7), the High Priest (chap. 8-10), and the 7 feasts (chap. 23). They looked ahead to the freedom from sin that Jesus would win for us through His perfect atonement on the cross. One of the key thoughts in Leviticus is “Holiness.” There is a beautiful picture of that on the Day of Atonement. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of that in the New Testament. Look up and read II Cor. 5:19, 21; Rev. 7:14; Is. 61:10.

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