Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - April 19, 2017

Today's Reading:

Acts 7:23-8:1

Deuteronomy 31-32

Job 19

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

Today, I would like to focus on two passages from our reading. In Acts 7, we read about the last sermon of Stephen and his martyrdom. Then, in Job 19, we read of Job's living martyrdom. Both Job and Stephen had one thing in common: they were fully submitted to God, as acceptable living sacrifices.

As Christians, we often speak of Christ and His Sacrifice. But
we do not often speak of us in terms of also being a sacrifice. Yet Paul wrote that we are to present ourselves as such:

Romans 12:1  "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

But what sort of sacrifice are we called to be? After all, Christ's sacrifice - and His alone - can atone for sin. What is left for us? In the Sanctuary service, every morning and evening a lamb was offered. The lamb represented Christ, Whose Blood is shed for the remission of our sins. Immediately following the offering of the lamb, there were meal and drink offerings presented. These were the oblations, which were thank offerings, presented in response to the offering of the lamb. We are the oblation offerings. And our motivation to present ourselves to God, as such, is the great sacrifice He has made on our behalves.


Let me illustrate with a true story.

The Irish people can remember well the terrible potato famine that wiped out a million people around 150 years ago. Many hundreds of thousands left Ireland for the New World, or Australia and New Zealand searching for a new life.

One of these was a penniless boy who hid as a stowaway on an immigrant ship bound for America. In the mid-Atlantic the ship hit an iceberg and began to sink, but there was enough time to get everybody into life-boats. Deep down in the bowels of the ship the boy wondered why the ship had stopped and as he emerged from his hiding place there was no-one around. He came up on deck just as the captain was about to step into the last seat of the last life-boat. In the highest tradition of the sea, the captain stepped back and put the boy in his place, and as the life-boat was pushed off, he said to the lad: ‘Never forget what has been done for you’.

As the life-boat pulled away, the lad could see the captain standing on the deck, and that vision never left him. He became a successful businessman in the New World, and when people asked him about the secret of his achievement he always told the story of the captain giving his life for him and how he was urged to never forget what had been done for him. He told them that he wanted to live his life in such a way, that
it would be "worthy of such a price."

To lay down one’s life for another is the supreme sacrifice yet there have been many times during wars or disasters when that sacrifice has been made. It is a sacrifice that is almost impossible to comprehend in the natural and we may have asked ourselves when reading of such heroism, ‘could I do that’? Another question may also arise, ‘how could I ever repay such a sacrifice’? The answer must be that repayment would be impossible. But we would surely have a responsibility to take full advantage of such a sacrifice, as did our stowaway on the sinking ship. 


He went on to success but never forgot the price that was paid by another. How wrong it would be to forget that sacrifice or to cheapen it by failing to grasp the new opportunity or the new life it provided. A sacrifice of such a magnitude requires that the recipient live in such a way to demonstrate thankfulness for it.


Yahshua gave His Life for us on the Cross of Calvary. His Sacrifice is of a much greater magnitude than that of the ship captain who died so that the stowaway might live. Let us never forget that sacrifice and let us not cheapen it by failing to walk in the footsteps of Messiah or by falling short of the new life presented to us.


For just a moment, I’d like to invite you to consider Who Yahshua is – and what all He has done for you. 
Yahshua is the foretold “Seed of the Woman”
Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His Heel.”
Yahshua is our sure Rock
1 Corinthians 10:1-4  Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;  And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;  And did all eat the same spiritual meat;  And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”
Yahshua is our Good Shepherd
John 10:11  “I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His Life for the sheep.”
Yahshua is Jacob’s Star. In Numbers 24:17 it says:
Numbers 24:17I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.”
He is the Light of the World
John 8:12  “Then spake Yahshua again unto them, saying, I Am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life.”
Yahshua is our Mighty God
Isaiah 9:6 – “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His Shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6 also calls Him our Everlasting Father and our Prince of Peace.

Yahshua is our Righteousness
Jeremiah 23:6 “In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His Name whereby He shall be called, Yahweh OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
Yahshua is the Living Word, who became flesh
John 1:1-4In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
Yahshua is our Great High Priest
Hebrews 4:14 “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Yahshua the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”

Yahshua is the Bread of Life

John 6:35 “And Yahshua said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.”

Yahshua is the one and only door to Life

John 10:7 “Then said Yahshua unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.”

He is the True Vine

John 15:1-4  I am the true Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me."

He is our Advocate

1 John 2:1-2  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

Yahshua is the Way, the Truth and the Life

John 14:6Yahshua saith unto him, I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."

Yahshua is the Lamb of God

John 1:29The next day John seeth Yahshua coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” 


Think of it...  And this is by no means an exhaustive list of all that Yahshua is to each of us. But hasn't Yahshua done enough to warrant our thankfulness? Isn't there enough for us to be motivated to live thankful, in light of all He is to us and for all that He has done? 


As I mentioned above, every morning and evening, in the Sanctuary, a lamb was offered. This lamb represented Christ of course.


Immediately after the lamb was offered for the daily sacrifice, an oblation response was given.
The oblation is the thank offering which is given as a response to the offering of the lamb. The oblation represents us. We are the sacrifice of the oblation. In the oblation offering, first a meal offering was presented and then a drink offering. 

The meal offering represents us living for the glory of God. The drink offering represents us pouring ourselves out for God so completely that we are willing to die for His cause, if He asks us to do so. When Paul was about to be martyred, he knew he was going to die. So, he told his fellow Christians that he was about to be poured out like a drink offering.

Let’s look at the meal and drink offerings and see what spiritual lessons we can find, showing us how God wants us to offer ourselves, by His Grace, as acceptable living sacrifices.

The Meal Offering (Leviticus 2:1-16; 6:14-23)
The Meal Offering was made from fine flour mingled with oil, plus salt and frankincense.
The Drink Offering was poured out

Leviticus 2:1-3 “And when any will offer a meat offering unto Yahweh, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:  And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, [to be] an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto Yahweh:  And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire."


Before we look at the ingredients in the meal offering, in order to identify the spiritual meaning and message they each contain, let’s start by looking at the reference to meal offerings at the end of this passage. The meal offering is a holy offering made to Yahweh. And it is the offering made by fire.

Remember what Paul said we should be in Romans 12:1? We are to be the holy sacrifice – made holy in Yahweh, of course.

Romans 12:1  "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

Now let’s look at the ingredients in the meal or meat offering (also known as the meat offering, although there was no flesh in it):

Leviticus 23:1-3 “And when any will offer a meat offering unto Yahweh, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:  And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto Yahweh:  And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire.”

There is one last ingredient which must be in the meal offering:

Leviticus 2:13 “And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.”
Now let’s look at the spiritual significance of each ingredient in the meal offering. 

In 1 Corinthians 5:6-7, we read:  …Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump…” 

The lump of dough is made of fine flour. Leaven is the agent which raises the dough. Seeing the at the leaven of righteousness or sin leavens the flour, we can quickly identify the flour. The fine flour of the meal offering represents our lives, cleanses and made white in the blood of the Lamb.

To the flour, olive oil is added. Olive oil represents the Presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The oil also represents our anointing and calling, which each of us have, in Christ
1 Samuel 16:13  Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of Yahweh came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.”

Frankincense was also added to the meal offering.
Frankincense represents faith, without which it is impossible to please Yahweh - Hebrews 11:6. Frankincense was known in Bible times to be an appropriate gift to give to God. This demonstrated an awareness that the true worship of God always required faith.
The word “frankincense” is from the Hebrew word lebonah with the root libbah. These words mean: “white heart.” To be an acceptable living sacrifice, we need a clean heart, as it says in Ps. 51:10.

Finally, salt was added to the offering.
Salt is a symbol of a godly witness.
Matthew  5:13 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. “

Because the Drink Offering is 'poured out' upon the existing offering, there is a thought of 'wasting' or 'being wasted' (compare Matthew 26:8).  But, this is a “human” misunderstanding. For as Mary showed when she poured out the expensive perfume from the alabaster bottle, the offering of such an expensive gift lavishly bestowed in worship of the Saviour is far from wasted. It is an offering of love demonstrating our willingness to give of ourselves completely to the Saviour – in thankful response for His salvation.

In Genesis 35:14, Jacob pours out a drink offering to signify he is giving his life back to God, consecrating himself for the house of God, 'Beth-El'. 

In Exodus 29:43-45, Aaron and his sons have just been consecrated, giving their lives for the Tabernacle service, so that God may have a dwelling place. For this to be valid, there is need, morning and evening, of daily offerings, including a lamb for a Burnt Offering, a Meal Offering and a Drink Offering. Twice daily, there is renewed consecration in the Tabernacle by the priests. This is a picture for us in our faith in Yahshua Christ.

Martyrdom is the ultimate drink offering.  Both Job and Stephen lived as oblation offerings. They were fully submitted to Yahweh, all the way to the point of death. In Job's case, Yahweh didn't take him all the way to death, but Job was submitted enough to God to have gone that full distance. This is what it means to be a living sacrifice.

The apostle Paul spoke of himself being "poured out as a drink offering" on the sacrifice and priestly service of the faith of the saints in Philippi (Philippians 2:17), as he contemplated the possibility of soon having his life ended on account of the gospel. 

Thus, our drink offering is a life so submitted and surrendered to Yahweh that doing His will is our greatest joy. We offer ourselves completely holding nothing back, even our very lives.

The offering of the lamb was so powerful, so priceless, so impactful, that the only appropriate response to such an expensive Gift, was a fully and completely surrendered life – evermore living in thankfulness to God. This is why the oblations were offered in response to the offering of the lamb every day in the Sanctuary service.

When we can clearly SEE the Lamb and the significance of this offering and what it means in our lives , we will find the motivation for becoming the meal and drink offering in response. 

So, what about you? Are you thankful for all that your Saviour has done for you? Are you willing to live as an acceptable living sacrifice. This is what it means to be a meal offering. Will you be so surrendered to God that you will submit to Him in everything - even if it costs you your life? This is what it means to be a drink offering. 

Following the examples of Job and Stephen, may we each one present ourselves today as acceptable living sacrifices unto Yahweh. For truly, this is our reasonable service.