(Leviticus 24, Psalm 31; Optional Romans 9:30-10:13, Proverbs 19:27-29)
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Lots of sad things happening in the lives of those we love right now. Please pray as we grieve with them and yet grieve in a different way from the world (see Psalm 30 in today’s readings).
LEVITICUS 24 – Laws governing the daily life of priests serving in the Tabernacle (Lev 24:1-9), and laws giving legal limits to retribution allowed under law (Lev 24:17-23). In between these sections, a story of a man (only Jewish on his mother’s side) who was executed for blaspheming the Name – the personal, covenant Name “Yahweh” (see Ex 3:13-15).
Lev 24:5-9 – This bread is called “the bread of the Presence” (or “showbread”) in Ex 25:30. This is what David and his men ate to survive when fleeing Saul’s jealous wrath in 1 Sam 21:1-6 and that Jesus referred to in Matt 12:3-4.
Lev 24:12 – One of a very few times when very short-term incarceration was used, and only until the Lord told them to execute the man. No long-term incarceration was EVER commanded. There was much greater use of capital punishment and restorative justice or removal from the community (unclear sometimes whether that was exile or death).
Lev 24:17-21 – Capital punishment emphasized again for taking the life of a person (see its institution just after Noah’s Ark in Gen 9:5-6 and application to governments after the cross in Rom 13:1-4).
Lev 24:22-23 – Important in context because of the actual incident in question with the man with a mixed heritage (see v 10-16). Important in today’s discussions about justice regarding immigration / assimilation, etc.
PSALM 31 – Psalm 31:1-8 – In hard times, believers take refuge in God! Jesus quotes v 5 from the cross, and 1 Pet 2:21-23 reminds us that Jesus is our example in how He entrusted His cause and His life into His heavenly Father’s all-wise and all-good and all-powerful hands.
Psalm 31:9-18 – What a perfect psalm to help believers endure suffering well! Inspired prayer requests frame this section (Ps 31:9, 14-18) and we see the depth of the suffering in v 10-13. Notice that the focus is on enemies on the outside, but at least PART of the suffering was from his own sin (v 10).
After honestly pouring out the emotional and physical pain that he’s going through, note the clear turning point in v 14 – “BUT I trust in You, O LORD…” I love the quiet confidence of v 15 – “My times are in Your hand”. Yes! Enemies (or even the consequences of our own sin) do NOT get the last or decisive word!
Optional Rom 9:30-10:13 – It grieves me to see increasing separation between people of different backgrounds in churches that seem built to cater to different groups. The differences between Jews and Gentiles seemed huge on the surface, but there is ONE LORD and ONE GOSPEL and incredible UNITY for all who are in Christ.
Optional Proverbs 19:27-29 – This applies to the importance of something like a through-the-Bible reading plan 😊