GETTING THE MOST FROM GOD'S WORD:

"Do NOT labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting LIFE..." - The Gospel of John 6:27 (NKJV)
A systematic and daily reading of the Word of God is important in maintaining a strong Christian life. Establish a daily quiet time with God and His Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you understand what you read. By following our daily Bible reading schedule through this blog, you will be able to read the Bible through in a year. Please note that you may utilize the ‘BIBLE READER’ app that is installed at the bottom of this webpage to assist you in reading the specified scripture portion for today.

To get the MOST from God's Word, please do the following intentionally:
1. REQUEST God to connect with you as you read the word of God with FOCUS and OPENNESS to see what God wants to speak with you.
2. READ the selected sections of Scripture slowly as you mark the words and phrases that intrigue you, even reading them the second time to get a better understanding.
3. REFLECT on what God is communicating to you; stopping long enough to let the seed of God's Word take root in your heart.
4. RESPOND to the passage speaking directly to God about what is in your heart, and then look out for ways to live out what you find - individually, and to others within your church and elsewhere.

As you read and meditate, ask yourself the following three questions:
a) What is God speaking to me through this passage?
b) Is there a command, a promise or a warning for me?
c) Is there an example for me to follow?

Please POST your comments below if there is a thought or message that the Lord has spoken to you through the passage that you are reading and meditating today. Please make sure that your post is aligned to the scripture passage mentioned at the header. All comments should pertain to the relevant scripture portions only, and should be aimed to glorify God (the true author of 'The Bible') & edify everyone who visits this blog site daily - both young and old. May God bless you abundantly for encouraging others through your comments!

Let's PRAY...
LORD, give me the desire to take a little time out of my busy schedule today as I read and meditate on Your Word. Give me this day MY DAILY BREAD. Speak to me clearly & lead me today as my Good Shepherd. Help me to be a blessing to others who interact with me as I attempt to be a living witness of Your Word today. In Your Name I pray, AMEN.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 7 Bible Reading: Leviticus Chapters 22-24

Don’t DISHONOR God’s NAME through WORDS or ACTIONS: And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Take outside the camp him who has cursed; then let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. Then you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death." (Lev. 24:13-16)

The narrative of various laws recorded in the book of Leviticus is interrupted by the account of an altercation between an Israelite man and another man whose father was an Egyptian but whose mother was an Israelite woman from the tribe of Dan by the name of Shelomith (v. 11). This inter-racial person, who was apparently one of the ‘mixed multitude’ (see Ex. 12:38; Num. 11:4), blasphemed the holy name of Jehovah God by cursing and violating the 3rd commandment that God had given to the Israelites (Exod. 20:7; 22:28). Ultimately, this act was a trespass against the Holy One of Israel (v. 22).

God had rescued the Israelites from Egypt and bound them to Himself through His covenant at Sinai. To blaspheme His name was a rebellion against God. The punishment for such a gross infringement was death by stoning at the hands of the entire assembly (v. 16). In fact, God Himself issued the command for this offender to be stoned. This person was taken outside the camp as a sign that he had been cut off from the people of Israel, and so that his death would not defile the camp. By this act of stoning, the people transferred to him whatever guilt might have accrued to the community. His subsequent death then atoned for his own and his hearers’ sin. The sinner bore full personal responsibility for this gross sinful act against God (v. 15).

The incident shows that the law was the same for anyone who lived in the camp of Israel, whether he was a full-blooded Jew or not (v. 22). It also shows that blasphemy (like murder) was punishable by death (vv. 14, 16, 17, 23). The verb translated ‘blasphemed’ actually means ‘to pierce with the intent of debilitating a person’. The word ‘cursed’ means ‘to declare someone to be without significance’. The guilty person here did not pronounce a curse in our sense of the word, but rather attacked God’s holy nature and declared Him to be without any significance!

Let us understand that God takes His name very seriously, as this unfortunate incident reveals. But in dishonoring God, he was committing the sin of blasphemy for which he was sentenced the death penalty. Let us recall that God had warned His people in the Ten Commandments that He would not hold that person guiltless who took His name in vain (Ex. 20:7).

In our day and time, it is possible that we may dishonor God’s name in any one of the three ways listed below:
  1. When we blame God for the evil happening around the world: This may include calling natural disasters as the ‘acts of God’. Through this we are imputing responsibility on God for things that may be the result of sin and evil, which amounts to blasphemy. God cannot be the author of evil (James 1:13) since He gives us only good and perfect gifts every time (James 1:17).
  2. When we dishonor another person who is created in the image of God: The Bible warns us strongly against this practice (James 3:9–10).  When we dishonor another human being, we are dishonoring God who created him/her, and this is a sin that amounts to blasphemy.
  3. When we willfully/persistently rebel against God through our unbelief: It is possible that we will display our unbelief in God’s Word during times of crisis. We may also insult God by turning our backs on His clearly revealed will for our lives and resisting the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:31–32). In fact, we may fall away from a vital relationship with God through our unbelief and disobedience (see Heb. 6:1–20). In doing so, we will clearly limit the work of God like the Israelites did in the wilderness (Psalms 78:41). We should note that even Jesus could not do any mighty works in His own country because of the unbelief of the people (Matt. 13:58).
Let us never dishonor God’s Name through either our words or actions in the coming days! Instead, let us walk in the Spirit so that we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). "Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit." (1 Cor. 12:3)

"Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today', lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb. 3:12-13)

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