Day 50 – February 19, 2021
Scripture: Leviticus 1-3, 2 Corinthians 7
Leviticus is where many Bible plans taper off, and we lose sight of the goal to finish the whole Bible in a year!
I would like to encourage you to take 8 minutes to watch this video from the Bible Project people. They offer a helpful overview of the book of Leviticus here: BIBLE PROJECT LEVITICUS
Having watched the video and read Leviticus 1-3, it is easy to see today’s connection when we come across Paul’s words here:
2 Corinthians 7:1 "Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."
Leviticus will play an important role in shaping our understanding of holiness and purity. For now, we are encourage to pursue holiness. It may look a lot different now than the burnt offerings and grain offerings of the Old Testament. But we are encourage to live a holy life made possible in Jesus Christ.
Be Holy out of Reverence for God!
Day 49 – February 18, 2021
Scriptures: Exodus 39-40, 2 Corinthians 6
God with Us
God is with His people. There are comforting reminders strung throughout Scripture that teach us that God is with us. Today’s reading is among them. Let’s begin with Paul, He quotes what might be Leviticus, or really a handful of passages, but he writes, “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
We are the temple of the living God. God says, “ I will live with them and walk among them.”
In Exodus, we get a great connection to this, in the traveling tent, the Tabernacle, the closing of Exodus it says, “36 In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; 37 but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. 38 So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels.” (Exodus 40:36-38)
The Lord goes with the Israelites. The Lord goes with us, His temple.
I don’t know all the challenges, discouragements or frustrations that you are facing today. I don’t know the joys you have, or the gratitude in your heart. I don’t know everything going on right now, but I do know that God is with you. A comforting, encouraging reminder that as we navigate the good and the bad, God is with us, His people.
You are the temple of the Living God, He will walk with you. You are not alone.
Day 48 – February 17, 2021
Scriptures: Exodus 37-38 and 2 Corinthians 5
Our Exodus reading continues to give details on the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle will be used by the Levites, the priests, to offer sacrifices to God, and continually seek the forgiveness and blessings of God.
The Ark, the table, the courtyard, the lampstand, each of these items play a part in communicating with God, reconciling, seeking God’s forgiveness.
When we arrive in our reading over in 2 Corinthians 5, we are reminded that we are a New Creation in Christ. The old is gone and the new has come!
The closing hope is, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
We share in the righteousness of God, because of Jesus Christ.
Day 47 – February 16, 2021
Scriptures: Exodus 35-36, 2 Corinthians 4
There is a small, but important connection between the two texts, and I would suggest that it is in regards to Sabbath rest.
Paul says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
We have in Exodus, “Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things the Lord has commanded you to do: 2 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death. 3 Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.” – Exodus 35:1-3
The rest of Exodus 35 -36, is the details of their work and labor in building what would be “seen.”
God wants the Israelites to know that what is unseen is what really matters. The rest that they lacked in Egypt, will be theirs in a relationship with God. They will be able to take a break from making the things that will be seen. It will be important that they rest.
What is unseen is eternal. What matters most is going on within us, not what we create.
God is continually helping His people see that they are not known for what they do, but for what God is doing in them. God is setting them apart, working in their life, moving heaven and earth to redeem them.
God commands we rest in Him.
Today’s a good day to rest in the comfort and strength of God.
Day 46, February 15, 2021
Scriptures: Exodus 33-34, 2 Corinthians 3
Well, it’s nice when the reason why the texts were selected are pretty much blatantly obvious!
Paul directly points to Exodus 34. Moses’ veiled face when he leaves the presence of God and goes to be among the people.
Before we get to the veiled faces and unveiled faces of 2 Cor. 3, I’d like to take a moment and address one of my favorite OT texts, Exodus 33.
Moses is pleading the case that God must go with the Israelites. If they don’t have His presence go with them, then there is no hope for them at all. For one, they simply couldn’t survive without the presence of God. But Moses also knows that the presence of God going with them is the point of the whole thing. How will the other nations know that they are set apart and distinguished as God’s people if their God isn’t with them?
That’s why Moses begs for God to go with them, not to let His presence depart from them.
God goes with the Israelites. When Moses meets with God, after he leaves and we are told that he veils his face from the people. The Israelites apparently can’t handle the radiant glory of God, shining off of Moses face.
Paul is addressing the Corinthian church. And he says of them something quite remarkable.
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
We are being transformed into the image of Christ. When we look at one another, our faces are no longer veiled from seeing the glory of God. We see the glory of God on display, in one another. When we look at one another, we are shining the glory of God, the transformative love of God.
We are marked, sealed, anointed, adopted, loved, and now, transformed. You have a place in God’s family and we shine for Him.
Day 45, February 14, 2021
Scriptures: Exodus 31-32, 2 Corinthians 2
What a powerful connection to both books today, forgiveness!
In Exodus 31 and 32, we are reminded once again of the brokenness of humankind. The Israelites blatantly sin. They make the golden calf, worship it, and declare, “This is the god who delivered us from Egypt!”
How dumb can you be? After everything that just happened. After everything God has done, to redeem them and rescue them? This is what they do and say?
It is heart wrenching, because we know the feeling. We know what it is like to personally know the love of God, and give credit elsewhere.
It must have been me! I did it! I’m so great!
God is ready to destroy all of them for this blatant sin and disregard for God. But Moses intercedes for them and seeks forgiveness for them. God relents, but there are still consequences to their disobedience.
The connection to 2 Corinthians 2 is a focus on an individual who grieves the community.
We don’t necessarily know the grievous activity, but it is something that Paul commends the people to forgive.
The theme today is forgiveness.
Paul knows that humankind will continue to grieve God, grieve one another. But the way forward is forgiveness.
Forgiveness is what will reconcile the church community and help it to move forward together. God doesn’t see the church as a community that won’t need forgiveness. Rather, God very much knows that moving forward, His great love for humankind will be on display in this community that grieves one another, but doesn’t give up on each other.
We will grieve God and one another, but forgiveness is the way forward.
Day 44, February 13, 2021
Exodus 29-30, 2 Corinthians 1
When I saw that we were transitioning to 2 Corinthians, I wondered what the arranger of this “themed” Bible reading approach was up to. I mean, 2 Corinthians? What does that have to do with the book of Exodus, especially where we are at within the story of the Israelites.
Sure enough, I’m pleasantly surprised as I have been throughout the readings.
Here it is:
Exodus 30:30–33 (TNIV) — 30 “Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. 31 Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. 32 Do not pour it on anyone else’s body and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. 33 Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from their people.’ ”
2 Corinthians 1:21–22 “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
We are anointed, a seal of the ownership of God is upon us. The Spirit of God is on us. We are His!
I’ll be curious how the rest of the reading and connections go, but for now. This is an important one. Paul understands that we are now the children of God, grafted in to belong to special people of God. We are holy, set apart for His purposes.
You again, are blessed to be a blessing.
You are comforted, to offer the comfort of God to a lost and hurting world.
You are anointed, set apart, marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit.
You belong to God.
Day 43, February 12, 2021
Exodus 27-28, Psalm 96
Psalm 96:6 “Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.”
Psalm 96:8 “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.”
Exodus 27-28 give further details to the ark, the tabernacle courts and sanctuary.
With all the details that go into the tabernacle, we are later told that, “Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord. Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.” (Exodus 28:-29-30.
Psalm 96 gives the language of the tabernacle. It offers all who will come to approach God the language of praise. When they enter into the courts, praise the Lord! Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name.
For great is the Lord and He is most worthy of praise.
When we look at these two separate texts, we are wise to remember that the people of God were called out of Egypt to be worshipers of God. That was much of the dialogue between Moses and Pharaoh. “Let my people go, that they may worship the Lord.” Lost in the details of the tabernacle is the purpose of it. We catch a glimpse of it, concerning Aaron. Aaron will be seeking the Lord and considering the people of Israel at the same time. They will be on his heart, literally and figuratively.
And the Israelites will be on the heart of God.
They will be a people of praise and worship. This tent will go with them so they may continually enter the courts and ascribe praise to the God to whom all glory is due.
As you travel today, offer God praise!
Day 42, February 11, 2021
Scripture: Exodus 25-26, 1 Peter 5
Cast your cares on the Lord
The reading today gives us details on the Ark and Tabernacle. These two items will shape the life of Israel as thee wander in the wilderness. This is the reminder that God goes with them and meets with them. The details all point to the holiness of God and the reliability of God. It is representative of God’s steadfast faithfulness, mercy, presence and love.
When we turn to the New Testament, and look at 1 Peter 5, we are told about the undershepherds, caring for the flock. In a way, I see a beautiful connection to Moses, a shepherd, leading Israel. Of course, the great Shepherd mentioned in 1 Peter is our Lord Jesus, and this is a nod to our Savior leading and caring for us.
What I see today as a meaningful connection is Peter’s call to the church to cast their cares on the Lord. The tabernacle became a meeting place for the people of God to express their sins, and their sorrows. It was the place to meet with God.
It is this wonderful realization that we don’t need the tabernacle to meet with God, but that we are able to take our concerns directly to God through prayer in Jesus Christ. The Shepherd of our souls is with us. Cast your cares on the Lord. You don’t need an intricate, elaborate tent of meeting, only a humble heart, ready to turn to God.
Cast your cares on the Lord. He will lift you up.
Scriptures: Exodus 23-24, 1 Peter 4
1 Peter 4:7–11 (TNIV) — 7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If you speak, you should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If you serve, you should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
I forgot to write a devotion for today. So I’m offering this quick, but important connection.
Love covers a multitude of sins.
Use whatever gifts you have to serve others.
Be a faithful steward of God’s grace, in all its various and wonderful ways – share it with others!
Speak, speak the loving words of God.
Serve, do it in God’s strength!
So that in everything, absolutely everything we do, God is praised!
That’s what the world needs! Love, hospitality, encouragement and serving!
To him be glory!
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.