February 13, 2016

Leviticus 21-23
God spoke to Moses: “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron. Tell them, A priest must not ritually contaminate himself by touching the dead, except for close relatives...Priests must not shave their heads or trim their beards or gash their bodies. They must be holy to their God and must not profane the name of their God... Because a priest is holy to his God he must not marry a woman who has been a harlot or a cult prostitute or a divorced woman...

The high priest, the one among his brothers who has received the anointing oil poured on his head and been ordained to wear the priestly vestments, must not let his hair go wild and tangled nor wear ragged and torn clothes.... He is to marry a young virgin, not a widow, not a divorcee, not a cult prostitute—he is only to marry a virgin from his own people....

God spoke to Moses: “Tell Aaron, None of your descendants, in any generation to come, who has a defect of any kind may present as an offering the food of his God...No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to offer gifts to God; he has a defect and so must not offer the food of his God. 

Moses delivered this message to Aaron, his sons, and to all the People of Israel.

God spoke to Moses: “Tell Aaron and his sons to treat the holy offerings that the Israelites consecrate to me with reverence so they won’t desecrate my holy name. I am God....The priests must observe my instructions lest they become guilty and die by treating the offerings with irreverence. I am God who makes them holy.  No layperson may eat anything set apart as holy. Nor may a priest’s guest or his hired hand eat anything holy.... If anyone eats from a holy offering accidentally, he must give back the holy offering to the priest and add twenty percent to it.  The priests must not treat with irreverence the holy offerings of the Israelites that they contribute to God lest they desecrate themselves and make themselves guilty when they eat the holy offerings. I am God who makes them holy.”

God spoke to Moses: “Tell Aaron and his sons and all the People of Israel, Each and every one of you, whether native born or foreigner,... whenever anyone brings an offering from cattle or sheep as a Peace-Offering to God to fulfill a vow or as a Freewill-Offering, it has to be perfect, without defect, to be acceptable. 

God spoke to Moses: “When a calf or lamb or goat is born, it is to stay with its mother for seven days. After the eighth day, it is acceptable as an offering, a gift to God....when you sacrifice a Thanksgiving-Offering to God, do it right so it will be acceptable. Eat it on the same day; don’t leave any leftovers until morning. I am God.

Do what I tell you; live what I tell you. I am God.  Don’t desecrate my holy name. I insist on being treated with holy reverence among the People of Israel. I am God who makes you holy and brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am God.”

God spoke to Moses: “Tell the People of Israel, These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of God which you are to decree as sacred assemblies.

Work six days. The seventh day is a Sabbath, a day of total and complete rest, a sacred assembly. Don’t do any work. Wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to God.

These are the appointed feasts of God, the sacred assemblies which you are to announce at the times set for them:
- God’s Passover, beginning at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month.
God’s Feast of Unraised Bread, on the fifteenth day of this same month. You are to eat unraised bread for seven days. Hold a sacred assembly on the first day; don’t do any regular work. Offer Fire-Gifts to God for seven days. On the seventh day hold a sacred assembly; don’t do any regular work.

God spoke to Moses: “Tell the People of Israel, When you arrive at the land that I am giving you and reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain that you harvest.... on the morning after Sabbath, the priest will wave it....offer a year-old male lamb without defect for a Whole-Burnt-Offering to God and with it the Grain-Offering of four quarts of fine flour mixed with oil—...and also a Drink-Offering of a quart of wine....This is a perpetual decree for all your generations to come, wherever you live.
Count seven full weeks from the morning after the Sabbath when you brought the sheaf as a Wave-Offering, fifty days until the morning of the seventh Sabbath. Then present a new Grain-Offering to God.... In addition to the bread, offer seven yearling male lambs without defect, plus one bull and two rams....Proclaim the day as a sacred assembly. Don’t do any ordinary work. It is a perpetual decree wherever you live down through your generations.  When you reap the harvest of your land, don’t reap the corners of your field or gather the gleanings. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners. I am God, your God.”

God said to Moses: “Tell the People of Israel, On the first day of the seventh month, set aside a day of rest, a sacred assembly—mark it with loud blasts on the ram’s horn. Don’t do any ordinary work....The tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly, fast,... Don’t work on that day because it is a day of atonement to make atonement for you before your God.... This is a perpetual decree for all the generations to come, wherever you happen to be living. It is a Sabbath of complete and total rest, a fast day. Observe your Sabbath from the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening.”

God said to Moses: “Tell the People of Israel, God’s Feast of Booths begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. It lasts seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; don’t do any ordinary work... On the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and offer a gift to God. It is a solemn convocation. Don’t do any ordinary work.

These are the appointed feasts of God which you will decree as sacred assemblies for presenting Fire-Gifts to God: the Whole-Burnt-Offerings, Grain-Offerings, sacrifices, and Drink-Offerings assigned to each day...

Moses posted the calendar for the annual appointed feasts of God which Israel was to celebrate.

Hebrews 10:19-10:39
So friends, we can now--without hesitation-walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.”  Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifices, acting as our priest before God.  The curtain into God’s presence is his body.  So let’s do it--full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out.  Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going.  He always keeps his word.  

Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshipping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the Big Day approaching.  If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice and are let out on our own to face the Judgment...This is no light matter.  God has warned us that he’ll hold us to account and make us pay.  He was quite explicit;...nobody’s getting by with anything, believe me.  

Remember those early days after you first saw the light?  There were hard times!!  Nothing others did, though, bothered you, nothing set you back.  So don’t throw it all away now.  You were sure of yourselves then.  It’s still a sure thing!  But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion...But we’re not quitters who lose out.  Oh no!  We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.