Saturday, December 26, 2009

Isaiah 13-20

Babylon, Philistia, Moab, Damascus, Cush, Assyria, Egypt - all powers in the land, none of them friends of the people of God. Yet despite the power with which they dominated or seduced God's people, the Lord will have the final word.
The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day (19:21).
In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying "Blessed by Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance."
Assyria, Judah's most dangerous foe, and Egypt, her most dangerous ally, will be united with Judah and they will all be God's people. Thank you, Lord, for overcoming your enemies by making them your friends and your people.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Numbers 4

God was dangerous then. Only designated people could handle His things, and then only in the appropriate way, lest they die. He is still dangerous, and if He were to approach us so closely again, we would be in the same peril. Only the designated people could stand. Today we celebrate the birth of the One by whom we become the designated people of God, a kingdom of priests, who may touch His things without peril. It is His blood that cleanses us, that sets us apart so we may enter the Holy Place of God and stand in His presence without dying. Thank you God, for sending your Son so that all who believe in you may stand before you and live.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Numbers 2

Everything decently and in order. For those of us who feel like order and structure stifle the Spirit, this passage is an antidote. Thank you God for working in orderly ways as well as in the unexpected, for being the Creator of patterns and structure and order as well as the One who interrupts all of our tidy arrangements. Help me to learn from your ordering of things and to joyfully submit to the order that you establish for my life.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Psalm 98

Rejoice, celebrate, make a racket for the Lord, the righteous judge, comes! All we have had until now are unrighteous judges, who could not tell evil from good, whose own interests interfered with what was really right, who were blind to the truth. Even I myself have unrighteously judged myself, condemning what was right in my life and excusing what was sinful. But now the righteous judge comes and he will show the unanswerable truth about who we are. The good will be seen and celebrated for what it is, and the evil will be seen and condemned for what it is. No more wolves in sheep's clothing, no more invisible and unacknowledged good. And for those who have turned their lives over to the good shepherd, the evil that is condemned will be washed away by the blood of the Lamb and the good will be raised to new life. Praise God, for He will make things right at last!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Leviticus 26

Thank you God, for making it hard for us to not follow you. Thank you for the burdens that make life on our own insupportable, that finally drive us back to you to seek what we should have been seeking all along. And thank you that it doesn't matter when we turn, or what we were doing before we turned, that you will receive us back. Your arms are open and you will run to us and celebrate our homecoming even though moments before we were fighting you with all our hearts. Thank you for your forbearance and love.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Leviticus 25

Thank you, Lord, for having in mind for us sabbatical years, when we and our land can rest. I have no idea how that would work today, but I want to get closer to that in my life; to find seasons where I need not drive myself to achieve, but can step back and rest in your provision. It would be sweet to enter into your rest that way. Indeed it is necessary to; the Israelites were exiled one year for each sabbatical year they did not observe. May I not find myself set aside that way because I would not rest in you.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Leviticus 24

Light and bread, the two signs of the presence and provision of God through all the ages. Thank you, Lord, for being with us in the basic stuff of life, the essential provision we need.

An eye for an eye does not fix anything - that has to wait for the Second Coming - but it does make the pain of the crime felt by the one who committed it, and limits the vengeance of the one who would take two eyes in return for the one he lost. Thank you, Lord, for ordaining justice rather than injustice.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Leviticus 23

God gives His people holidays woven out of our walk of faith with Him. One day out of seven, the Sabbath teaches me that I can trust Him and let go of my agendas and my struggle to do it myself. Passover and Booths remind me to look back to God's provision for His people in delivering them from slavery and walking with them in the wilderness. First Fruits and Weeks remind me of His present provision in giving me food, clothing, my home and all that I have. Trumpets points me forward into a new year in God's care and Atonement brings me face to face with my need for cleansing from my sin and God's provision of Christ to make that once-for-all atonement for that sin.

How far my celebration of holidays has drifted from the spirit of Leviticus. Father, though I am not a part of a community that celebrates the holidays you gave your chosen people, help me to walk in their spirit in my day. Fill my Sundays, and Christmas and New Years and all of the seasons of the year with reminders that you have been faithful, you are being faithful and you will be faithful through all the seasons of my life, and help me to rest in that faithfulness and give you the praise and glory for being our faithful God.