Daily Reading: May 12th

#DailyDevotion The Nations Should Repent and It Starts With Us

Easter week 4 Friday

Read Lev. 18:1–7, 20—19:8

Lev 18:24-28  “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean,  (25)  and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.  (26)  But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you  (27)  (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean),  (28)  lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. Lev 19:2  “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.


The sins of the Canaanites polluted the land.  This is why the Lord sends the Israelites into the land to be hand of his wrath.  They are the instruments through which his wrath is executed.  Now the Lord is warning them to not pollute the land through similar sinful ways.  They have been called to be holy as the Lord God is holy.  The laws and rituals that were given were there to instruct them how to live holy before the Lord and be a witness unto the surrounding nations.


Well we know what happened.  The Israelites went into the land and for several hundred years went back and forth between following the Lord and following the way of the pagan nations surrounding them.  Because they did this the Lord sent the Assyrians first to wipe out Northern Israel and then a couple of hundred years later the Babylonians to bring the Jews into exile.  After returning to Canaan for several hundred years the Jews rejected their God in Christ and the Lord destroyed the temple in 70 AD.


Now we, like the Israelites, have been called to be his holy people.  As we have been baptized into Christ Jesus we have been grafted into Israel.  By baptism he has declared us holy and makes us holy.  By the gift of the Holy Spirit we are able to turn from the sinful ways of the world and our own flesh and are called to do so.  We are to be witnesses of God’s reconciliation with the World in Jesus.  We proclaim a free gift of forgiveness, life and salvation on account of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.


But what if the Church turns from God?  What if the nations spurn that message?  If we as a nation approve of what is wrong, sinful and evil and reject what is good and holy and if we practice injustice will the Lord God leave us alone?  God forbid! If we pollute the land which the Lord has placed us will the land vomit us up and out? May it never be! But we read that God the Lord calls the nations to repentance through calamity and war, disease and famine, droughts and flood and you name it.  If we see these things in our land then we should repent.  We should call our neighbors to repent.  That is we should change our direction, admit our faults and look to God for mercy in Christ Jesus.


May our Heavenly Father grant us and our nation such repentance that leads to eternal life.  In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Daily Reading: May 11th

#DailyDevotion The Life Is In The Blood!

Easter Week 4 Thursday

Read Lev 17:1–16

Lev 17:10-14  “If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people.  (11)  For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.  (12)  Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.  (13)  “Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth.  (14)  For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.


It seems like a pretty stiff penalty for eating blütwurst doesn’t it.  But there is a point in it.  And it’s a good thing that the Old Testament law has been abrogated by Christ Jesus.  But the fine point of the message here is that the life is in the blood.  When you spill something’s blood you are removing its life.  They were not to eat the life of the animal but only its flesh.  The life belonged to God.  So whether it was a sacrifice or a quick meal on the run, the life belonged to God by having its blood poured out at the temple as an offering for sin or buried in the ground.


Hebrews tells us there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.  You see the wages of sin is death.  The only way to escape death was t to shed blood, that is an alternate life must be offered up.  Hebrews also tell us that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins or give a clear conscience.


But all this bloodshed at the temple represented the blood Jesus would shed for us in his innocent suffering and death.  The sin we commit is always against an eternal God.  It would take the like of an eternal God to atone for our sin against him.  Jesus is eternal God.  Having become man eternal God has blood he can shed to make atonement for our sin and in particular you sin.  Through holy baptism you are washed in the blood of Jesus because you are baptized into his death. Rom. 6:3 ff.


And unlike the Old Testament sacrifices where you did not eat the blood, Jesus in his Supper gives us his very blood to drink for in drinking his blood in the cup of the sacrament we are participating in the New Testament. Jer. 31:31ff  Jesus’ blood is unlike the animals blood.  Jesus is the Author of Life.  His blood gives us forgiveness, His life and His salvation.  No longer is the blood poured out on the ground or put on the temple made with hands. You are the temple of God upon which and in which God’s blood is poured on, in and anointed with.


Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for shedding you life-giving blood for us and anointed us with that blood in baptism and your Supper.  Ever give us such faith in your blood that we may participate in your eternal life. Amen.

Daily Reading: May 10th

#DailyDevotion Need A Scapegoat? You Have One In Jesus

Easter Week 4 Wednesday

Read Lev 16:1–24

Lev 16:7-10  Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the LORD at the entrance of the tent of meeting.  (8)  And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Azazel.  (9)  And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the LORD and use it as a sin offering,  (10)  but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the LORD to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel. Lev 16:20-22  “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat.  (21)  And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness.  (22)  The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness.


One goats blood was to be an atonement sacrifice for the sins of the people.  The other goat, the SCAPEGOAT, would have the sins of the people laid on it and it would led into the wilderness and set free to be seen of again.


Jesus is our goats.  Jesus is the first goat because his blood was shed for us and made atonement for us not in an earthly temple made with hands, but his blood was poured out on the eternal mercy seat of the Father to cover our sins and be the due punishment for them.


Jesus is also the scapegoat.  You know what a scapegoat is right?  It is an innocent party that gets blamed for the guilty party.  Well you are the guilty party!  Our heavenly Father laid his hands on Jesus through the Roman guards as he was led out of the city.  He is blamed for the sin of the World.  Jesus carries our sins away from us never to be seen again.  For Jesus is the fulfillment of the New Testament as Jeremiah testifies in 31:34 For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” And David says, “Psa 103:11  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him…”


Thank God we have One whose blood makes atonement for us and takes the blame for our sins.


Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that through the shedding of your blood you have made atonement for us and we thank you for separating our sins from us as far as east is to the west.  Amen.

Daily Reading: May 9th

#DailyDevotionThank God We Have Jesus!

Easter Week 4 Tuesday

Read Lev 10:1–20

Lev 10:1-2  Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them.  (2)  And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD…12 Moses spoke to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his surviving sons: “Take the grain offering that is left of the LORD’s food offerings, and eat it unleavened beside the altar, for it is most holy.  (13)  You shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your due and your sons’ due, from the LORD’s food offerings, for so I am commanded.  (14)  But the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed you shall eat in a clean place, you and your sons and your daughters with you, for they are given as your due and your sons’ due from the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the people of Israel.  (15)  The thigh that is contributed and the breast that is waved they shall bring with the food offerings of the fat pieces to wave for a wave offering before the LORD, and it shall be yours and your sons’ with you as a due forever, as the LORD has commanded.”


One overall theme runs through this chapter…do things the way the Lord said to do them. In the first instance two sons of Aaron offer up incense in manner unprescribed by the Lord. For this infraction, the Lord’s fire consumes them. Really, obeying the Lord and doing what he commands and how he commands it is very important in the Old Testament. This is particularly true for the priests for they represent the Lord before the people.


Secondly we have when, where, who and what are the sacrifices to be consumed. The Levites were not to have land in the land the Lord was giving the Israelites. The Lord was their inheritance. The offerings given to the Lord which were not whole burnt offerings, the priest were to be given a share. Not only that but they were to eat it in a clean place, a place sanctified by the Lord in the manner he prescribed for it to be sanctified. To do otherwise would be to anger the Lord.  Now with our New Testament eyes, this may seem pretty extreme of the Lord. But God gave the commandments so that sin would be seen as utterly sinful. Indeed the Law increased sin because there were more ways to sin against the Lord. Yet even in the Writings and the Prophets the Lord lets us know, “I demand mercy and not sacrifice.” The Lord is utterly merciful and Jesus crucified proves that.


Peter reminds us in his speech before the first Church council that they and their ancestors were never able to keep God’s Law. The Lord in his great mercy sent his Son Jesus Christ to redeem us from the curse of the Law. Jesus suffered what judgments we see carried out upon those who rebel against the Lord and even trespass against his commandments unknowingly. It is in Jesus and his death we see the mercy of God.


Heavenly Father, we do not deserve your mercies or kindness for we have broken and trespasses but you had mercy on us in Jesus Christ. Grant us grace and faith to receive your mercy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: May 8th

#DailyDevotion Getting Saved Is A Messy Job

Easter Week 4 Monday

Read Lev 9:1–24

Lev 9:8-9  So Aaron drew near to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.  (9)  And the sons of Aaron presented the blood to him, and he dipped his finger in the blood and put it on the horns of the altar and poured out the blood at the base of the altar…12 Then he killed the burnt offering, and Aaron’s sons handed him the blood, and he threw it against the sides of the altar…18 Then he killed the ox and the ram, the sacrifice of peace offerings for the people. And Aaron’s sons handed him the blood, and he threw it against the sides of the altar…22 Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings…24 And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.


Approaching the Lord, the Creator of the Cosmos is a bloody business. It isn’t neat and clean. Look at what Moses and Aaron had to do to have the Lord’s glory come near unto them. The animals of course were sacrificed and the majority of them were burnt whole with various and sundry parts removed first, the fatty parts of the entrails and kidneys. I understand these were considered to be some of the best parts. Well the best belongs to the Lord.


But then the blood of the animals was cast against the sides of the altar, from each and every one of the offerings. When the temple was later built there was a ditch that carried all the blood out of the temple grounds, that’s how much blood was required for the priests and for the people to approach their Lord and God.


All these sacrifices were a type, an icon of the sacrifice that ultimately would bring God and man together. The blood of bulls, goats, lambs and the like could never truly reconciled man to God. But these were a picture to give an idea of what would be necessary to make peace between God and men. It would take the blood of one who is both God and Man, a whole burnt offering, whose scourging is seen in the way the sacrifices of the Mosaic covenant were prepared, which would truly bring peace. That one would be Jesus of Nazareth. Only his sacrifice, only the spilling of his blood upon the cross, only his scourging could ever allow us to approach the Father of lights as we do today. Even as the Lord set fire to the sacrifice before Moses and the people, the Lord exacted his price from Jesus as he cries out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” Yet for the sake of his sacrifice, our Father no longer counts our trespasses against us and our relationship is restored. But not without a price and not without a sacrifice, that which is made by our Savior Jesus Christ.


Lord Jesus Christ, we hardly begin to understand the sacrifice you have made for us by your passion and death. Always put before us your cross that we may always be grateful and that we may not treat your grace cheaply but hold it in highest esteem. In your name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: May 7th

#DailyDevotion The Lord Has Anointed A New Priesthood

4th Sunday of Easter

Read Lev 8:1–13, 30–36

Lev 8:30  Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled it on Aaron and his garments, and also on his sons and his sons’ garments. So he consecrated Aaron and his garments, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him…33 And you shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the days of your ordination are completed, for it will take seven days to ordain you.  (34)  As has been done today, the LORD has commanded to be done to make atonement for you.


Aaron and his sons had to be consecrated, set apart from all Israel as they were going to serve the Lord. Had they not been consecrated with blood, the Lord would see their sins and put them to death if they came in to serve him. Atonement had to be made for them and for all priests who would serve the Lord in the sanctuary. Seven days they had to undergo this ordination. It is as if they were being recreated, i.e. going through the seven days of creation, for the old creation cannot stand before the Lord of Creation.


Jesus entered into the Holy of Holies in the Heavens above, the throne room of the Father, not with the blood of bulls and goats but with his own precious blood and poured it not upon himself but upon the mercy seat of God. Now he stands for us our high priest before the Father in heaven interceding for us and our salvation.


But not only that, but at the right hand of God, our Lord Jesus Christ sprinkles us with his blood in baptism, in the Lord’s Supper, through the proclamation of salvation in his name. In doing this, he has made us a new creation. We are not the same. We are being renewed into his image and likeness in holiness, righteousness and knowledge.


More than that, through the sprinkling of his blood upon us, he has made all of us royal priests in the household of God. We are called to be living sacrifices like our Lord Jesus Christ devoting our lives unto his service. It is a service of serving others with sacrificial love, i.e. at times looking more into the interest of others more than our own. It is a priest hood of extolling the excellencies of him, Jesus, who sacrificed himself for us and it now risen from the dead. For more detail on what it means to be a living sacrifice read Romans 12-15.


Heavenly Father, you have by the blood of Jesus made him our high priest whose glory is greater than that of Aaron. You have also by his blood made priest of Christ. Grant us such faith, grace and the Holy Spirit, that we may indeed live our lives as living sacrifices. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: May 6th

#DailyDevotion Seeing Isn’t Believing

Easter week 3 Saturday

Read Ex 40:17–38

Exo 40:34-38  Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  (35)  And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  (36)  Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out.  (37)  But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up.  (38)  For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.


What can we say?  Seeing is not believing.  The Israelites saw the cloud and fire at the tabernacle all the days they were in the wilderness.  That did not stop them from worshipping a golden calf, grumbling against him, rebelling against Moses and a host of other infractions of God’s law.


God had given the Israelites a visible presence of his glory for the Israelites and that was not enough.  Indeed, signs are a help and seal of faith, but faith comes from hearing the Word of God.  Faith relies solely on the promises of God.


We see this in Jesus’ life.  Many of the Jewish leaders saw the signs performed by Jesus and heard Jesus’ teaching.  Because they did not believe Jesus’ teaching they did not believe the signs either.


You and I are called to believe Jesus and his Word.  No amount or greatness of miracles will cause you to believe in Jesus and his work if you will not believe him simply on the Word of Promise.  This is what Jesus has promised you:  By his life he has earned you righteousness before God.  By his death he has paid the penalty for your sin so you will not be held accountable before God the Father for them.  By his resurrection and ascension he has conquered death and the power of the devil and makes intercession for you at the right hand of God.  Now you can trust these promises or not but no image of Jesus in piece of French toast will cause you to believe.


Jesus has indeed given us signs to encourage and strengthen the faith of those who believe in him in his Word.  These signs are baptism, in which he joins himself to us, makes us one body with him, washes away our sins, and gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The other is his Supper, where he gives us his body and blood to eat and drink for the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.  In this sign he seals himself to us promising us perseverance in the faith unto life everlasting.  But both of these require us to believe his Word of promise.


Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for your Word of Promise which gives us eternal salvation.  We thank you for Baptism and the Lord’s Supper to strengthen us in our faith.  Ever give us your Word and Sacraments that we may endure in faith all the days of our life. Amen.

Daily Readings: May 5th

#DailyDevotion You Have A New Priesthood

Easter Week 3 Friday

Read Ex 39:32—40:16

Exo 40:12-15  Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting and shall wash them with water  (13)  and put on Aaron the holy garments. And you shall anoint him and consecrate him, that he may serve me as priest.  (14)  You shall bring his sons also and put coats on them,  (15)  and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve me as priests. And their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.”


The Lord want so to separate Aaron and his sons as priest to show the separateness and distinctness of God and His Christ.  The problem with the Aaronic and Levitical priesthoods is that it is composed of sinful men.  So they have to be washed and cleansed with water.  They have to offer blood sacrifices for themselves before going in to serve the Lord because of their impurity.


But we now have another priest not of the Levitical or Aaronic priesthood.  The author of Hebrews says a lot about this.


Heb 7:18-28  For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness  (19)  (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.  (20)  And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath,  (21)  but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.'”  (22)  This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.  (23)  The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office,  (24)  but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.  (25)  Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.  (26)  For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.  (27)  He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.  (28)  For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.


Jesus is the guarantor of a better covenant or testament.  In this testament, Jesus shed his blood and offers it once for all.  Not for himself but for us.  In Christ Jesus, as we are baptized by his blood in the waters of baptism and as we partake of the new covenant in his supper, his body and blood, our sins are forgiven us, our iniquity is forgotten, and we are made kings and priest with him in his kingdom.  He gives us his Holy Spirit so the law may be written on our hearts and we may obey it from cheerful and obedient hearts and not from fear and compulsion.


O Lord Jesus Christ, by your suffering and death, by your resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God, you are our high priest forever, who intercedes for us that we may persevere in faith unto life everlasting.  Ever give us your Holy Spirit that we may be a royal priesthood interceding for the world and serving you with praise and thanksgiving. Amen.