Tag Archives: sin

Matthew 7 – Understanding

I was going through this chapter, trying to understand and process all of this information in a relatively short period of time, and i was struck by this first couple of sections.  First off, Christ talks about not judging lest we be judged.  I was thinking about what that means.  I know that i do not want to be judged by God, but how does one go about not judging others?  Then we hit verse 6 that says, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”  So, we are not to judge, but in order to not give what is holy to dogs and not cast our pearls before swine, we must judge and discern that they are dogs or swine.  How do we do that?  Do not judge lest you be judged, yet judge lest you cast truth before those who can not accept it.

So we need to judge whether someone is able to handle the truth, but we must be careful in judging as we will be judged in the same way.  Later on, Jesus talks about knowing a person by their fruits.  If you need to judge someone you can understand who they are, and the truth about them by looking at what they produce.  If they produce life, they are people of life.  If they leave a path of destruction behind them, chances are they are a bad tree.

Later in the chapter Jesus talks about how the road is broad that leads to destruction, and narrow that leads to life and many who seek it will not find it.  So many who pursue truth and life will never find it.  Those are pretty strong words in our “all inclusive” culture.  Yet, those are Christ’s words.

So in understanding all of these things, it is important to build a strong foundation.  When you do not have a strong foundation, the troubles of life WILL sweep you away.  The only way to remain strong is have a strong foundation and strong roots.

Do you understand?  I’m pretty sure i MIGHT understand…  “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

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Leviticus – Conclusion

After having gone through the book of Leviticus chapter by chapter, i see this book much as i did before.  It is YHWH’s rules and regulation for the nation of Israel.  It is a defining of His covenant with them.  God both issues directives to obey the rules and promises to help and allow the people to obey and prosper.

Leviticus is an important book in that it sets the tone and direction for the expectations for the nation of Israel.  It is the measuring rod by which  the actions and motive of the nation are defined.  Without Leviticus, there is no understanding of YHWH’s interactions with the nation of Israel.  Without understanding that there are rules and what the rules are, we have no ground by which to judge the sin or righteousness of man.  As such, we have no foundation for understanding sin and the need for salvation and a savior.  While rules and laws may seem constricting and confining at times, they are actually more boundaries that when understood and followed allow us freedom to live happy, healthy, and satisfying lives without fear and stress of the aftereffects of our actions.

I really like C.S. Lewis’ quote from The Pilgrim’s Regress “When everything you eat is more or less poison, you need very strict rules to stay healthy” (rough quote).  The point is that when sin abounds in the world, understanding where the rules and limitations are gives you the freedom to live life within those limitations and without fear of their destruction.

That is the beauty of Leviticus, or that should have been the beauty of Leviticus for the Israelite people.

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Leviticus 26 – The Old

As we are closing up on the end of the book of Leviticus, God / YHWH paints a picture of what the rest of the Old Testament / Covenant will look like.  It is a peek into the future of Israelite people, and a picture of both the good and the bad.  I just wish that it wasn’t SO bad.  Ultimately though, we begin to see the picture of the peoples relationship to God.  We get a feel for just how much the people will turn away, and how that turning away will affect their relationship with YHWH and their own futures.

YHWH starts off with a command.  “‘You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or…  You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the LORD (YHWH).”  It’s simple really.  Don’t worship idols / false gods, and keep His Sabbaths and reverence His sanctuary.  How difficult can that be.  Apparently that can be very difficult because it does not take long (a single generation after Joshua) for all of it to begin to fall apart.

Are we any different?  Have we changed any from this in the thousands of years since it was written, or are we still going from generation to generation following the ways and directions of our culture over what God’s word says?  This is the picture of the Old Testament, the entire 49 books.  Yet, this is also the picture of today.  Instead of pursuing God / YHWH, we are pursuing education and technology and financial stability and comfortable homes.  Instead of keeping His Sabbaths and revering His sanctuary, we are keeping ourselves as busy as we possibly can with all of our “responsibilities”.  We are too busy trying to stay busy, that we push away the very purpose of our lives.  In the end, what does that bring us?  …exhaustion, sickness, loss, anger, frustration, being overwhelmed, seeing the work that we have built coming to nothing?

Our pursuit needs to be not a pursuit of what’s the best, brightest, and shiniest.  It needs to be a pursuit of YHWH first and foremost.  We need to not make the same old mistakes that the Old Testament Israelites made.  We must pursue YHWH.

 

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Leviticus 25 – Understanding Ownership

During this time that my hand has been in a cast, it has not been totally useless.  As a result, i have been able to finally get chapter 25 finished.

As i am working through all of this, i’ve been starting to get a bigger / stronger picture.  Leviticus 25 has been about ownership, and understanding our place in the bigger picture of it.  The LORD promises to the people that He will give them the land of Canaan.  Yet at the same time, even while He is giving it to them, it does not belong to them.  The people of Israel are simply caring for the land and reaping of its harvest as a result.  They do not have true ownership.  God alone reserves that right.

Every seven years the people are to respect the land by letting it lie fallow / dormant for a year.  This Sabbath rest allows the land to rest and heal from use and prevent abuse due to over-use.  It is YHWH’s command to His people to not mistreat and abuse His land.

Then after every seven Sabbath’s is the year of Jubilee.  In the year of Jubilee the land rests for a second year, all debts are released, and all land ownership goes back to the original caretakers.  Anyone that has been paid for in slavery / servanthood is released and their freedom is returned to them.

It is a time of understanding that the land, the animals, the people; they do not belong to the people, they belong to YHWH.  They are His and they must be returned to His plans for them.  In the same sense, by understanding this concept, it means better understanding of and treatment towards others.

Outside of this project, i have also been reading about Abraham Lincoln, the civil war, and slavery.  In processing through all of this information, i think that i understand slavery a little bit better.  There will always be the wealthy and the poor.  There will always be those with more than they need, and the ability to improve on their financial situation.  There will also always be those who just can’t seem to break free of poverty.  Whatever the reason is, there will always be those who struggle to get by.

When the basis of a person’s understanding is that no one and nothing is truly owned by another.  That there is no one of more value than another.  That YHWH owns all and demands respect for His creation… Then, those who have more and have the ability to continually manage well what has been given them, can care for his fellow man by providing for them.  So the riches of the rich help to sustain the poor while the poor is having difficulty sustaining themselves.  The wealthy provide for the poor, in the meantime the poor work for and learn to manage that which belongs to the rich.  Thus slavery is not about abuse and mistreatment of man.  In fact, it is just the opposite.  Slavery / servanthood becomes about taking care of and providing for those who cannot care for themselves.

However, this concept ONLY works when the wealthy (and everyone else) truly understand ownership.  When those who are prospering understand that all belongs to YHWH and not themselves, then respect of personhood prevails.  As a result there is not abuse and maltreatment, there is love, caring, and provision for those in need.  Slavery / servanthood becomes about love and compassion rather than abuse and maltreatment.

It all stems from understanding ownership… do we?

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Leviticus 22 – Priestly Laws

The priestly laws continue.  It must be hard to be a priest in Biblical times.  The rules and regulations you had to keep track of.  Some of them are obvious of course… like if you touch something unclean you will remain unclean until evening.  No leaper of the sons of Aaron may eat of the holy sacrifices, and while the family may eat, the married daughters may not eat unless she is divorced or widowed with no children and returns home to her father’s house.  It just seems like the laws and rules never end, but they are there for a reason.  An important reason.  Because someone needed to represent the people to YHWH, and YHWH to the people.

So the priests were responsible for the sins of the people and their relationship with YHWH.  They are the ones who placed their lives on the line day after day to make sure  that the people’s sins were covered.  They are the ones who had to do everything perfectly every day and every time.  They had to teach the people the precepts of YHWH.  It is their responsibility and their honor.  YHWH is a holy and a jealous God.  To serve Him day by day is an honor and a responsibility of a lifetime.

Do we take YHWH seriously, or do we just use Him as a rescue raft.  Do we worship the Holy God, or do we demand assistance from a galactic servant.  Do we pursue a relationship with Him in awe and wonder, or do we attempt to flippantly use Him for our advantage and advancement?  We are the servants of the Most High.  Maybe we need to start acting that way… if that’s alright with you.

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Leviticus 21 – Responsibility

Whenever YHWH sets a leader over His people, He sets up some pretty high expectations.  There are things that the people can do that the leaders must stay away from.  Those who act as priests, prophets, and kings are expected to live at a higher standard than those who do not have a direct connection and responsibility to YHWH.

In this chapter those of the priestly line and especially the priests who serve the LORD are instructed that they may not defile themselves by a corpse unless it is a direct family member.  Even then, the high priest may not even do that.  They may not marry a woman who has been widowed or divorced, or who has slept with any other man at any time in her life.  She must be a virgin or he may not marry her.  Nor may a priest tear his clothes in mourning or uncover his head.  If his daughter profanes herself in harlotry, it rests on him as well.  Then finally, if there is any physical defect in a man, He may not serve as priest before the LORD.  YHWH even goes so far as to say that if a man has a broken hand or foot, he may not serve the LORD.

Do we take our responsibility in representing the LORD seriously?  Do we set ourselves apart from the world, or do we do what everyone else is doing?  As people who pursue God and seek His work and will in our lives, we should be living examples of God and His work and will.  We should be truly pursuing Him in all holiness.

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Leviticus 20 – Profane

Leviticus 20 parallel’s chapter 18 in most ways.  They both deal with those things that profane the people and the land.  They both respond to sexual sins and blatant ungodliness.  Both refer to the corruption of the nation through the corruption of the people, and that the very land itself will spew them out when their actions come out this way.

All of this is important for all people.  These are sins that cause the land to become unfertile and to reject its inhabitants, whether they be Christians, or Muslims, or Jews, or Hindu’s, or Buddhists, or Atheists, or Animists, any others.  When we pursue sexual immorality and spiritists, we will find time and time again that our nations will become more and more corrupt and that we will lose what we cherish most.

On a more positive note, in this chapter we come across a new name of God; YHWH Qadash.  YHWH Qadash appears in verse 8, and it means the LORD (YHWH) who sanctifies you.  It is a beautiful picture of how YHWH cherishes His people and sets them apart for Himself.  Those who are His children are blessed and honored by His name and His work in and through us.  We are pursued and set apart by the Most Holy God.  It is both an honor and a responsibility, and it must not be taken lightly.  It must not be profaned.

John

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