Apr 12, 2022

(Leviticus 16, Psalm 19; Optional Romans 7:1-12, Proverbs 18:15-19)

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LEVITICUS 16 – The holiest day in the Jewish calendar – Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Only the high priest could enter the holy of holies where God’s glory was seated on the throne of the ark of the covenant. And he could only enter on this one day each year. And he had to enter wearing unique clothes for that day (much simpler than his normal ornate robes). First bathing / cleansing himself (contrast Jesus cleansing OTHERS on the way to offer Himself – see John 13). Then offering a sacrifice to atone for his OWN sin. Then bringing incense as another veil / shield / cover when the high priest entered the Most Holy Place behind the thick cloth veil. And he could only enter with the cloud of incense AND sprinkling the blood from the sacrifices. He’d make more than one visit behind the veil on this day, doing exactly as God had commanded. Part of the long and detailed day was the release of the scapegoat into the wilderness, symbolically bearing the sins of the people far away. And burning the remains from the sacrifices outside the camp, symbolizing removing the sin far away (compare Ps 103:10-12, Heb 13:11-13).

Then next year the same ceremony was needed. Until Jesus gave His own life as the PERFECT sacrifice, once for all time. When He shouted “It is finished,” now EVERY day is the Day of Atonement for His people! From the hymn Hallelujah, What a Savior: “Guilty, vile and helpless we, Spotless Lamb of God was He; FULL ATONEMENT, can it be? Hallelujah, what a Savior!”

Lev 16:2 – When Jesus died, that veil that blocked entrance to the presence of God was torn from top to bottom – God reaching down to us, opening through Jesus the way to His presence for ANYONE that trusts in Jesus. Jesus fulfills the whole picture – He’s the High Priest bearing the offering, and He’s also the perfect sacrifice. He takes our sins far away. The entire Day of Atonement that happened every year pointed to Him!

Lev 16:34 – “statute forever” – This is important for how we view the Mosaic Law. Jesus clearly fulfilled the Day of Atonement and provided a way for ALL who trust in Him to enter ANY time into God’s presence (see Heb 9-10). So “forever” CAN mean “until fulfilled / surpassed by Jesus.” Sometimes folks feel guilty for not holding to some Mosaic Laws that use the term “forever,” not realizing this. They wouldn’t dream of trying to make a blood sacrifice to make atonement, but MAY try to keep some of the OTHER “forever” statutes that have also been fulfilled in Jesus.

PSALM 19  – God reveals Himself 1) in His CREATION (Ps 19:1-6) and 2) in His WORD (Ps 19:7-11). When you compare Ps 19:1-6 to the very similar Rom 1:18-21, we see that there’s NOT enough revealed in Creation for people to get SAVED from God’s righteous judgment (that’s why God’s revelation in SCRIPTURE is necessary). But God DOES reveal enough in Creation to hold all people ACCOUNTABLE (Rom 1:20 – “they are WITHOUT EXCUSE”). There are stories of people that have never seen a Bible traveling many miles searching for someone to tell them about how to be right with God. They say things like this: “When I looked at creation I knew that Someone powerful had made all this, and I must find out who He is and how to be right with Him.”

Ps 19:7-11 is how God reveals Himself in His WORD (and lots of great motivations to regularly study and meditate on His Word).

Ps 19:12-14 is a closing prayer asking God to keep His people from sin. When God reveals Himself, His people want to be close to Him and fully acceptable (see v 14) in our deeds, words and thoughts.

Optional Rom 7:1-12 – Compare this to the notes at Lev 16 about Jesus fulfilling the law. Don’t miss the summary verses in v 4, 6. Believers still must obey what God has commanded (see how Jesus made clear that those who don’t obey don’t truly love – see Jn 14:15-17), but it is closely linked to our LOVE for Him and empowered by His indwelling Holy Spirit. Spurgeon quotes (and I’ve slightly edited) preacher and hymn-writer John Berridge: ‘“Run, John, and work” the law commands, yet gives me neither feet nor hands. But sweeter news the gospel brings – it bids me fly and gives me wings!”

Optional Proverbs 18:15-19 – v 17 (and compare v 13) are VITAL to how we should evaluate issues, and evaluate narratives that we hear (whether in relationships, media, etc). We must be sure we’re getting the WHOLE STORY. It’s easy to rush to judgment far too quickly!