Tag Archives: trust

Leviticus 17 – Sacrifice & Blood

Then God (Elohim) spoke all these words, saying,
‘I am the LORD your God (YHWH Elohim), who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.   You shall have no other gods before Me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.  You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God (YHWH Elohim), am a jealous God (Elohim),’” Exodus 20:1-5a

Leviticus 17 expands on and deals with the particulars of this passage a little bit more.  There are two connected issues here.  First, no one may slaughter an ox, lamb, or goat within or outside of camp without bringing the body to the tabernacle to offer it as an offering to the LORD.  This is to ensure that there is no other worship except the worship of YHWH in the Israelite camp.  If a man or a woman sacrificed an animal to another god, that would have brought defilement upon the camp and people of Israel.

Reading that you could not slaughter an ox, sheep, or goat without offering it as a sacrifice to YHWH, i wonder how the Israelites could harvest their flocks and herds.  If sheep, goats and oxen were the primary means of meat for the Israelites, and they could only be slaughtered to sacrifice them to God, where do they get the meat needed to live on?  I don’t have the answer to that one, but knowing me, i’m probably just missing something simple.

The second part of this chapter deals with the command not to consume blood.  Blood is the life of the creature.  That’s been backed up by research for centuries.  The essence of the creature, it’s life and support system, comes from the blood.  As such, God requires that we do not consume of it.  In fact, when we hunt or kill an animal, we are instructed to let the blood drain out and cover it with dirt.

Do we take Exodus 20:1-5a seriously?  Have we made for ourselves gods other than YHWH?  Obviously we don’t make idols.  However, we have a tendency to worship, pursue, and trust in many things other than YHWH.  Some worship the god of money, others the god of family, others the god of education, others of technology.  Most American’s worship and bow down to the god of self.  When we place any of these things before YHWH, we are making them gods in our eyes.  What will it have to take to change our view and for us to start truly worshiping YHWH, the one true God, once again?

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Exodus 5 – Trouble

Well, things changed as a result of God’s referendum to Pharaoh alright.  God said, “Let my go!”  Pharaoh said, “What?  You want me to do what with your people?  …you want me to make their work harder?  OK, I can arrange that.”

Wow, this overarching concept and idea feels very familiar for some reason.  The LORD gives a command to do something.  In obedience it is carried out.  Life gets harder, not easier as a result of the obedience.  You would think that when the God of the universe instructs you to take a stand and obediently place yourself at risk before everyone, He would come through when you expect him to.  But, that’s not necessarily how He works.  Taking that step of faith sometimes means getting your toes run over by a steamroller.

The question is, knowing that that is the case, are we willing to be obedient?  Are we willing to step out in faith?  Are we being obedient to get something out of it, or is our obedience because He is LORD of our life?  Can He trust us  to obey even when it means more trouble for ourselves?

That’s a difficult problem for most of us Americans.  Many times our outlook is; “What’s in it for me?”  If we aren’t getting something out of it, we aren’t willing to put anything into it.  God doesn’t work that way though.  He’s not a direct “If…then…” God.  “If you do this for Me, then I will do that for you.”  If that’s what you are looking for in a god, then you are looking in the wrong place.  Yes, God will bless you amazingly and  abundantly when you obey Him.  Yes, you will find peace in your life.  Yes, you can trust Him, but you cannot count on Him to do what you want Him to do, or even anywhere close to when you want Him to do it.  He works on His terms not ours.  However, we are still responsible for obeying Him.  The benefits will be amazing, but so will the troubles.

So what’s the LORD calling YOU to be obedient to today?

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Genesis 40 – Hidden Blessing

Here we go again.  Joseph is still in his bind.  He still doesn’t know what he’s doing there or why.  He’s still a prisoner, working as a servant to the chief prison guard.  He continues to obey God and not get angry and reject the right thing because of his situation that is out of his control.  He doesn’t like being in this situation.  He knows it’s not his fault, but he also knows that it’s not right and wants out.

So, what’s a young man to do?  He does his job faithfully.  He works hard.  He cares for those he is responsible for.  As a result, God blesses him and his master trusts and relies on him.  He continues to work, grow, and excel, and God continues to prepare him.

So one day in doing his duty, he sees two under his care in confinement that appear visibly disturbed.  So he tries to reconcile the problem.  First off, why should anyone care about how two lowly prisoners feel?  Isn’t prison supposed to be miserable?  …especially confinement?  Isn’t the point to make it so that people don’t WANT to be there?  Yet here Joseph is, treating these prisoners like they are children under his care.

In probing he finds out that they both had unusual dreams that are bothering them.  So Joseph, being the man that he is, tells them, “Do not interpretations belong to God?  Tell it to me, please.”  He then proceeds to listen and explain their dreams to them.  He tells the cup-bearer that in three days he will be back at his old post, and he asks him to remember him in prison because he has been imprisoned unjustly.  He tells the baker that within three days he will be hung up by his neck and the birds would eat his flesh.  He does NOT ask the baker to remember him in his situation when he meets with Pharaoh.

So, their dreams are fulfilled, and as soon as the cup-bearer is back in his position, he immediately proceeds to forget about Joseph entirely.  Isn’t that the way it seems to be sometimes?  I can definitely feel for Joseph in this situation.  I’ve never been imprisoned on false charges.  I’ve never been sold into slavery.  But, I have been in situations where it seems like it doesn’t matter that i’m doing the right thing.  It seems like no matter what i do, my situation keeps getting worse and worse.  It seems like even when i try to get out of the situation, i just keep getting more and more stuck and people just forget me.

But you know what?  That doesn’t matter.  God knows what He is doing.  Even when we feel like He has forgotten about us, He hasn’t.  Even when we feel like there is no hope, God is in control.  He brings us through when we least expect it.  It’s not about us, it’s about Him.

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Genesis 39 – God’s Blessing

Well, it looks like i labeled yesterday’s chapter 39 instead of 38.  It’s fixed now, but if you were confused as  to why Genesis 39 didn’t have anything to do with Judah and his family, that’s because it doesn’t.  It was supposed to be Genesis 38.  Well, now on to the real Genesis 39.

Why does it seem at times that God’s blessing is immediately proceeded by some sort of trial or struggle?  At times through my life it has felt like the moment things start going right and smoothly, that is the moment it all starts to fall apart.  It feels like i just start to bounce back from one problem and… BANG!  I’m hit by the next.

That’s what appears to be happening here in Joseph’s life.  Joseph was a good young man, but his brother’s were jealous of him and his father’s favoritism towards him.  So they tried to make him miserable.  In turn God blesses him with dreams foretelling a future in which his brothers will bow down to him.  At which point his brothers decide to kill him, then at the last minute sell him as a slave.  So he gets sent down to Egypt and is sold into the household of an important leader.  Joseph does the right thing and God blesses Him.  Joseph continues to do  the right thing and as a result of doing the right thing he ends up accused of something he didn’t do with no way to defend himself.  So now he’s in a maximum security foreign prison with no hope of release.  I mean honestly, how much lower can a guy get? So what does he do?  He does the right thing.  He does his job well, and he becomes the most respected prisoner in that foreign maximum security facility.

Where is that going to get him.  Every time he does  the right thing and begins to excel beyond his situation, he loses out.  He drops deeper and deeper, like a man falling in a pit trying to climb out and each time he finally starts to make progress, he falls deeper in.

For those who already know, we know where this is going.  For those who don’t, this isn’t the end.  At one point in my life as i saw this happening, God spoke to me.  He told me that He loved me and not to worry.  Do you know what my automatic reaction was?  My reaction was, “Oh great, NOW what’s going to happen?”  You see, this had become my mentality.  This is how i had begun to see God and how He worked.  I began to believe that as soon as God began to bless me, it was just a predecessor to another trial… to another struggle, and i began to lose hope.

I know better now, but this is still how i feel sometimes.  I know a number of you can relate.  If that’s where you are.  You feel like it doesn’t matter how much you try… how much you do the right thing time, and time, and time, and time, and time again, and it seems like it’s a waste of time and life.  Well it’s not.  There is hope.  There is always hope.  It may not feel like it but God does love you, and He is taking care of you.  It’s never as bad as it seems, so just trust Him!  (I know, easier said than done sometimes, but do it anyways.)

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