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October 23, 2020

Eli
I Samuel 2:27-36
 
Eli was Israel’s high priest in the closing days of the judges, a time when immorality and apostasy went hand in hand. He was Israel’s high priest, but he really had no claim to the position at all. He was not descended from the family of Eleazar, to whom the high priesthood belonged, but from the family of Ithamar, Aaron’s youngest son. It is typical of the confusion of the time that we have no idea how he came to be high priest. It is typical, also, that his whole career (as recorded in I Samuel) was one of utter failure.
 
First, he was a failure as a person. He was old. Young men see visions, the Bible says, and old men dream dreams. Eli dreamed away his days. “His eyes were dim, the Holy Spirit adds (I Sam. 4:15). He was physically blind tn his old age but also blind to the needs of the people. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” the Scripture declares (Prov. 29:18). Poor old Eli was blind even to the state of his own famly. Typical, too, was his treatment of Hannah. He could not even tell the difference between a drunken woman and a devout worshiper, and he had some harsh words for that brokenhearted soul. His half apology, when he realized his mistake, does him no credit either (1 Sam.
 
So, there was Eli, old, slothful, worn out, content to sit in his rocking chair and doze away his days while Israel sank ever deeper into the mire.  Then, too, he was a failure as a parent. “His sons,” we are told, “made themselves vile’ (3:13). Their behavior was a national scandal. It was not safe for an attractive woman to bring a sacrifice to the altar. She was likely to fall foul of the lawless lusts of Eli’s sons. When people complained, Eli shrugged his shoulders and went back to sleep.
 
Eli’s sons also sinned against God. The Levitical Law set aside a portion of each sacrifice for the officiating priest. The fat, however was to be burned on the alter. That was God’s portion. Eli’s unscrupulous sons dared to rob God. They appropriated the fat for themselves (2:22-17). Eli merely slapped their wrists. He should have thrust them out of the priestly office. Instead, he indulged them.
 
Doubtless, he had never curbed them, never taken the rod to them, to break their wills when they were young, They grew up willful and wild, and wicked beyond words. So Eli’s failure as a parent was a serious thing, for he contributed two unregenerate sons to the priesthood. It brought about the downfall of his house.
 
Finally, and worst of all, Eli was a failure as a priest. He seems to have had little or nothing to do. He stands in contrast with Samuel, who went up and down the land seeking to arouse an apostate and apathetic people to a sense of sin and need. Eli waited for people to come to him. Few came. So all we see is a tired old man dozing in the sun.
 
The first time we meet him in the Bible he is propped up against a post of the tabernacle idling his life away. Later we see him sound asleep in bed. A little lad, entrusted to his care, had to wake him up three times before it finally dawned on him that God had something to say to the boy. Eli had long since ceased expecting that God might have something to say to the boy.  The last time we see him he is sitting on a chair by the roadside. He fell of ff that seat and broke his neck. Such was Eli.
 
But there was one bright spot. He did a good job of bringing up little Samuel. Or did he? Maybe it was not so much due to old Eli that Samuel turned our so well. Perhaps that was a result of his mothers earnest prayers.


October 22, 2020

Orpah Falls From Grace
Ruth 1:11-15
 
Orpah turned back, and was impossible to renew her again unto repentance. God blots her name out of His book, and we read of her no more. Her story revolves around three choices.
 
Her first choice was to marry into a family of believers. She came to know the family very well. Perhaps often around the family supper table she would hear Elimelech and Naomi talk nostalgically about the true and living God, how He had sent them a kinsman-redeemer to deliver them from bondage and death. He had put them under the blood, He had brought them through the water, and He had gathered them around the table. He had given them His laws and had given them their land. She listened to their Bible stories, fascinating and factual stories about Adam and Eve, Enoch and Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. She heard about Gods wisdom, love, and power. But, alas for Orpah, she was wedded to her idols. Truth penetrated her mind but never touched her heart.
 
So Orpah made her first choice. She married into a family that had personal knowledge of God. Before her lay the opportunity of coming to know that God for herself.
 
Then came her further choice. Sorrow came into her life. Death came calling again and again until Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah all became widows. Then Naomi decided she’d had enough. News that God had been visiting His people back there in Bethlehem helped her make her decision, She would return to her people and her God. That was when Orpah made her second choice. She would go with Naomi. Naomi’s God would become her God, and Naomi’s people would become her people. Ruth made the same decision. So far, so good. But everything would hinge on what happened next. The three widows said their last, sad farewells at the graves of their departed loved ones and set their faces toward the Promised Land.
 
But now comes the tragedy in Orpah’s life—her final choice, She began to lag behind. Naomi’s warning about there being little or no hope of remarriage among the Hebrews took over her mind, Perhaps it would be best to go back to Moab. At least she might find a Moabite husband; after all. she was a Moabite, She came to a stop, and the other two came back to her; but Orpah had made up her mind. She would go back to her people and her gods. And so she did. The call of the true God faded away in her soul. She went back to seek rest with a Moabite husband.
 
Let us suppose that, still young and attractive, she married a Moabite man. Let us suppose, too, she did find rest in his house. What kind of rest would it be? At best it could be just temporal rest—a measure of peace and quiet, a share of this world’s goods, enjoyment of this world’s pleasures and pastimes, attendance at the more pacific and harmless rituals at the local temples and shrines—followed by a Christless death.
 
But there was a darker side to pagan religion, one that Orpah seems to have forgotten. Perhaps Orpah gave birth to a girl, a pretty girl with the earthly promise of beauty of face and form. The priests of Baal might mark her for the temple, to become a harlot, consecrated to the foul Moabite gods and to be debauched by priests and people alike. And Orpah’s rest was gone forever.
 
Or, perhaps, Orpah gave birth to a boy, The priest of Chemosh might cast his evil eye on her little boy and put a mark on him, “Bring him to me at the temple tomorrow,” he might say. “We’ll find a place for him on Chemosh’s lap. You are a woman favored of the god.” What then of Orpah’s rest? Gone! Forever gone. It was a terrible choice she made—to settle for the world’s uneasy peace.


October 21, 2020

Elimelech
 
Ruth 1:1-5
 
The events recorded in the book of Ruth seem to have taken place early in the days of the Judges, at a time when the Promised Land was at rest. God’s displeasure with His people was evident just the same, being expressed by means of natural phenomena, such as the famine mentioned in the book. They had not yet been sold into bondage to the surrounding focs.
 
The story revolves around four people: Elimelech. Naomi, Boaz, and Ruth. We begin with Elimelech and his family. First, we see them moving to Moab. It was a disastrous move.
 
In the Old Testament all God’s promises and blessings for His people were centered in a place; in the New Testament they are centered in a person. In the Old Testament one had to be in Canaan; in the New Testament one has to be in Christ. It was in the Promised Land that God met with His people. It was there He put His name. It was there He made good on His promises and centered His purposes. It was a disastrous decision, therefore, for Elimelech to move to Moab—even more so since Moab was a land under the curse of God (Deut. 23:3). To move to Moab meant leaving the fellowship of God’s people. It meant removing the family from every means of grace associated with the company and gathering of God’s people, feeble though they seemed to be.
 
Elimelech’s name means “My God is King.” That was all well and good, but he denied the sovereignty of God in his life when he decided to move to Moab. Doubtless, he had plenty of excuses. “There was a famine in the Promised Land,” he no doubt said. There were job opportunities in Moab. He did not intend to stay in Moab. He would be back when things improved. All the usual things people say to encourage themselves in pursuing a wrong path were likely said by Elimelech.
 
Next, we have a marriage in Moab, Instead of growing to manhood surrounded by young Hebrew women, Elimelech’s boys had only pagan girls from whom to choose a partner for life. Their in-laws were raw heathen, and their chief god was the diabolical and bloodthirsty, Chemosh, the devourer of little children. It was just as well that both of Elimelech sons were sickly and that they had no children of their own. Moses would have been against marriage with Moabites (Deut 7:3) or any other kind of marriage with unbelievers.

But then comes misery in Moab. Elimelech died. Then his two sickly boys died; and Naomi, now a bitter, old woman, was left  (Ruth 1:5). That’s how the Holy Spirit puts it—left, stranded in a foreign country with a couple of unsaved, widowed daughters-in-law. The breadwinners were gone. Naomi was out of the will of God, far from the place where God met with His people, and she was surrounded by pagans in a heathen land. Such was the end of Elimelech’s backsliding, He lost his life in Moab, and he lost his family in Moab. The cost of backsliding is high. His good intentions of returning to the Promised Land never materialized.
 
Moab is an expensive place to raise a family. Those who leave the House of God and wander off into the world stand the risk of losing rom their children. Elimelech and his sons died in Moab far from the fellowship of the people of God. How solemn, and how sad! The New Testament makes it a doctrine: “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God (2 Cor 6:14-16).



October 20, 2020

Ten Shekels and a Suit
 
Judges 17-18
 
Judas sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Jonathan, the grandson of Moses, sold his soul for ten shekels and a suit. The introduction of apostasy into Israel was an infamous thing, It all began in a small way. A man named Micah stole 1,100 shekels of silver from his mother. Frightened by her curses, he confessed and restored the money. His mother took 200 shekels and had them made into idols, and Micah put them in a shrine.
 
About this time, a wandering Levite from Bethlehem showed up. Micah saw an opportunity to legitimize his false religion. He propositioned the Levite. “Come and dwell with me,” he said. “I will promote you from being a mere Levite to being my priest. I will feed you, and I will give you ten shekels of silver and a suit.” The Levite’s name was Jonathan (Judg. 18:30). His father was Gershom, the son of Moses (I Chron. 23:15). He was a contemporary of Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, who is mentioned in his capacity of high priest as making inquiry before the Lord at a time of national crisis.
 
Thus early did apostasy rear its head in Israel. It seems incredible that Moses’ own grandson should be at the heart of this infamous thing. Once Micah had installed Jonathan as priest of his new religion, he felt he had legitimized it: “Now know I that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to [be] my priest,” he said (Judg. 17:13). He and his hired Levite had forgotten the second commandment: ‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exod, 20:4-6).
 
Thus idolatry took root. It was an infamous thing, It was also an infectious thing. It started as a family affair but soon became a tribal affair. The tribe of Dan still had not settled in the territory assigned to it by God. It so happened that a band of landless Danites came across Jonathan, the Judean Levite. It seems that they knew: him, and they were curious about his new occupation and intrigued by his reply. The six hundred armed Danites were swift to make up their minds. “Forget this fellow, Micah, they said. “Come with us. We’ll make you priest to a whole tribe, Go and get the fellow’s gods.” The apostate Levite, a grandson of Moses, called of God to defend the Mosaic Law, was delighted. “The priests heart was glad,” the Holy Spirit says (Judg. 18:20). His fortune was made! And his judgment was sute.

Thus idolatry proved itself an infectious thing. The Danites “set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh” (v. 31).
 
Ten shekels and a suit! How cheaply an apostate Levite sold his soul and seemingly prospered. Soon the infection of apostasy spread to the whole nation of Israel. The days of the Judges saw the virus incubate and spread. It was cleared up by David, but broke out again under Solomon, and in the end it doomed the monarchy. It all began with ten shekels and a shirt. Now then, Jonathan, go and explain yourself to Moses and to God on the judgment side of death.


October 19, 2020

The Feasts
Trumpet, Atonement, Tabernacles
Leviticus 23
 
The first four feasts all pointed to the first coming of the Lord Jesus. They had to do with the commencement of God’s personal invasion of history, the work of the Savior in terms of redemption, regeneration, and resurrection, and also the work of the Spirit.
 
Then came a pause of length. The feasts of the commencement period were counted by days. The Passover was killed on the fourteenth day. Unleavened Bread began the next day. On the morrow after the next Sabbath, Firstfruits was celebrated. Fifty days were counted from then to Pentecost, which foreshadowed the work of the Spirit. 
 
But there was no counting of days to the next feast (Trumpets). We are simply told it fell on the seventh month. This time lapse foreshadowed the time from Pentecost to the rapture of the church. We do not know the precise time covered by this period, but the Feast of Trumpets looked ahead to future events connected with the nation of Israel.
 
Thus we come to the completion feasts, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. Just as the first four feasts all anticipated the first coming of Christ, so the last three feasts all look ahead to the second coming of Christ. Just as the first four feasts were all fulfilled to the letter, and to the day, at the Lord’s first coming, so the last three feasts also will be fulfilled to the letter and to the day. We can be sure of that.
 
The Feast of Trumpets focuses on the gathering. Trumpets figured promimnently in Israel’s national life. Two silver trumpets were made from the redemption money given by the Hebrews for the building of the Tabernacle. They were sounded when the tribes were called upon to march, when it was necessary to sound an alarm because danger threatened, and when all the assembly was required to appear before the Lord, The prophet Isaiah tells how “the great trumpet” will regather the scattered Jewish people in the end times (27:13). The first beginning of this return has already begun. Already Jews back in the Promised Land number several million. During the period covered by the Apocalypse, trumpets will herald certain events—in particular seven trumpets will sound  as the Antichrist comes and furthers his nefarious plans (Rev. 8—9).
 
The Feast of Atonement focuses on the grief. In reality this feast was a fast, a time of national conviction and repentance. It was the day when the sins of the nation were covered up for another year. It anticipates the day when the Jewish remnant, in the end times, will see the returning Christ and will be convicted because of their age-long rejection of Him.
 
The Feast of Tabernacles focuses on the glory. It was celebrated after the harvest was gathered in (Deut. 16:13). It was a weeklong festival of praise and joy. It anticipates the millennial reign of Christ. An extra day (an eighth day) was added. In Scripture the number eight is associated with Resurrection and a new beginning. The music scale illustrates this. There are eight notes in a scale, but the eighth note is the same as the first one, only it is an octave higher.
The millennium will end in judgment; but that will not be the final end, for God will begin again, but on a higher note. He will create a new heaven and a new earth and usher in an endless, eternal day of bliss and joy.
 
These things told in Old Testament typology in the annual Jewish feasts will as surely come to pass as did the things that pertained to the Lord’s first coming. Any day now, the trumpet wall sound. The church will be gone, and Israel will enter into its time of trial and ultimate blessing.


October 16, 2020

The Feasts
 
Pentecost
 
Leviticus 23
 
 
The seven Old Testament feasts were divided into two sections. The first four commenced the series and had reference to events connected with the first coming of Christ. If these, three direct our attention to the work of the Savior. The fourth, the Feast of Pentecost, directs our attention to the work of the Spirit.
 
The word Pentecost comes to us from the Greek. It is the Greek word for fifty. Because it was fifty days from the Feast of Firstfruits to Pentecost, the feast is sometimes called “the Feast of Weeks.” There were seven full weeks to which was added another day. Thus the Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Pentecost were celebrated on the first day of the week. These Old Testament feasts anticipated the end of the Jewish Sabbath and a new emphasis on the first day of the week as a day of rest and rejoicing.
 
“When the day of Pentecost was fully come,” says Luke in recording the momentous events in the upper room (Acts 2:1). The feast had come and gone for some fifteen hundred years; now it had fully come. As all the typology connected with it was fulfilled, the Old Testament shadows gave way to the New Testament substance. The Holy Spirit came in a new and living way. Judaism was replaced by the church. The annual ritual, with its burnt offerings, with its sin offering and peace offering, and with its two loaves, was swept aside. A new day had dawned.
 
On the Day of Pentecost a hundred twenty individual believers in Christ assembled in the upper room, a room full of memories for the disciples. The church was born in that room with the sound of a mighty, rushing wind and amid a blaze of cloven tongues of fire. In that room the Holy Spirit baptized a hundred twenty separate believers into one body, “one loaf” As the wind drives away the chaff, so that mighty,rushing Pentecostal wind swept away the past that was centered in a now dead Judaism. The cloven tongues of fire symbolized the new cleansing and irresistible power now inherent in the church, the mystical body of Christ. The loaf represents the one body, in contrast to the multiple grains of corn on the wave sheaf. Over a hundred individual believers went into the upper room. One body, one church, came out.
 
The Old Testament ritual, however, actually called for two loaves, not just one. That was because Pentecost took place in two stages. Only Jews were present in the upper room on the Day of Penteco in Acts 2. Later on, in the house of the Roman centurton Cornelius, Gentiles were added to the church. The same apostle was the chosen agent of the Holy Spirit on both occasions. The same phenomenon of tongues was present both times—the first time to convince the mass of unbelieving Jews in Jerusalem, the second time to convince the skeptical Jewish members of the church. There were two loaves—but there was only “one bread, and one body” (1 Cor. 10:17). Gentiles did not have to become Jews in order to become Christians. Jews and Gentiles were impartially baptized by the Spirit into the same mystical body of Christ. The middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles was swept away (Eph, 2:13-I6; 4+:4—6). Before long, Gentiles would become a permanent and overwhelming majority in the church. Note that there was leaven in the two loaves. This was because the loaves represent the church, which has never been wholly free from sin.
 
The process begun at Pentecost goes on, for the Holy Spirit continues to add new members to the mystical body of Christ. Thankfully it will continue till Christ comes again.
 
100 Devotions for Leaders – 2008 by John Phillips – Published by Regal Publications Grand Rapids, Michigan
 
Pastor Lee’s Thoughts: I am so thankful for the church and I am thankful that the Lord saw fit to create the church as the body of Christ that is continuing to be an ever present hope in a hopeless world. Today we need the church more than ever before. Let us not forsake the church but rather lets run to the church and engage and enhance our relationship with the Body of Christ!


October 15, 2020

The Feasts
Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First fruits
 
Leviticus 23
 
The Old Testament called for the annual celebration of seven mandatory and meaningful feasts. These feasts were separated into two groups. Four of them took place at the commencement of the religious year. Then came a pause, after which the three remaining feasts were kept. These feasts are prophetic in character. The first four feasts anticipated Christ’s first coming; the last three anticipated Christ’s second coming. The two-thousand-year period (so far) covered by the church age separates the two comings.
 
We shall begin with the commencement feasts, the first four feasts that were fulfilled at Christ’s frst coming. Three of these anticipate the work of the Savior. The remaining one anticipates the work of the Spirit.
 
The Feast of Passover points to our redemption. On the tenth day of the month the people took a lamb free from all blemish and kept it tethered until the fourteenth day. During this period it was closely watched. It was killed on the fourteenth day between the sixth hour and the ninth hour. On the original Passover, the night of the Exodus, its blood was applied to the lintels and doorposts of homes so that those sheltering behind it would be saved from the avenging angel’s sword.
 
The Feast of Unleavened Bread (which lasted a week) was closely associated with Passover. The Passover lamb was killed on the fourteenth day. Immediately afterward, on the fifteenth day, a weeklong feast, known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, began. The Hebrews were to thoroughly cleanse their houses of all leaven. Leaven in Scripture is used by the Holy Spirit as a type of sin. The Feast of Unleavened Bread points to our regeneration. The old is purged out, and the new takes it place.
 
Two of the feasts lasted a week; the others were one-day affairs. The feasts that occupy a single day point to some specific act of God.  Passover, for example, takes us straight to Calvary. Feasts that lasted seven or eight days (Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles) point to future events destined to span well-defined periods of time, namely the church age and the millennial age.
 
Note God’s order with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, First, the blood was applied. Then came feasting on the lamb. Only then was leaven put out of the house. That is God’s order. First there has to be redemption. Then a clean lifestyle must follow, God’s house is prepared as God’s home. The Hebrew housewife was diligent in her search for lurking leaven. She scoured every cupboard, every nook and cranny of the house, to make sure that not so much as a scrap of leaven remained.
 
In the New Testament leaven is a picture of hidden sin. Leaven in a loaf of bread, for instance, speaks of those things which, once introduced, continue to work away in secret until their activity is killed by fire. Throughout the whole period of seven days,  vigilance had to be maintained lest leaven be somehow introduced. During this church age in which we live, constant watch must be maintained so that no corrupting influence lurks in our homes and no hidden sin is allowed to remain unjudged in our hearts.

The Feast of firstfrsuts points to our resurrection, This feast was kept on the first day of the week, on the Sunday after Passover. This was the very day Christ arose from the dead. The farmer cut one golden sheal from the harvest field and brought it to the priest, who waved it before the Lord. It foreshadowed the full harvest soon to come. The Feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled when the Lord was raised from the dead and when many other dead people arose at the same time, went into Jerusalem, and appeared unto many (Matt. 27:52—53). These people correspond to the wave sheaf. In His resurrection and in their resurrection, we see the sure promise and guarantee of our resurrection. All these things the Savior accomplished for us at His first coming. He has saved us, sanctified us, and secured us. We can rest assured as to that.
 
100 Devotions for Leaders – 2008 by John Phillips – Published by Regal Publications Grand Rapids, Michigan
 
 
Pastor Lee’s Thoughts: When I begin to contemplate how the Lord designed these feasts and they application in which they apply to our lives, I am amazed again at His perfect design. Everything that Christ has done has been on purpose and for a purpose. I am thankful I serve the Almighty Perfect Risen Savior! 
 


October 14, 2020

The Colt
 
Exodus 34:20; Luke 19:28-40
 
The lowly Donkey is mentioned more than a hundred forty times in Scripture. The first mention is in connection with Abraham who,  when told by God to go to Mount Moriah and there offer up his well-beloved son, immediately saddled his beast and prepared for the journey. Then there was the Good Samaritan’s donkey, and what about Balaam’s donkey, which rebuked the madness of the prophet? But surely the donkey that heads the list is the one mentioned in the Gospels, the one that helped the Lord Jesus fulfill an ancient prophecy (Zech. 9:9).
 
There are three things worth noting about this donkey. First, it had to be The Law of Moses pronounced the donkey an unclean animal. It did not chew the cud, and it did not have a cloven hoof: so it was doubly cursed. Inside and out, it was declared to be unclean: and the Law demanded that any firstborn donkey should be put to death. But the Law also made provision for the condemned beast to be redeemed. A lamb could die in its stead. It could live because a substitute had taken Its place and died.
 
The application is to us. We are born unclean, condemned by God’s law, and sentenced to death. A Lamb (the Lord Jesus) has died so that we might go free. For, like that donkey of old, we needed to be redeemed. How grateful we should be to the Lord of glory, who took our place and died that we might live. Truly we now live the life of another, even of Him who interposed His precious blood and paid our debt and gave us His life!
 
But this colt needed not only to be redeemed, but also it had to be released. “Ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat,” Jesus told His disciples. “Loose him, and bring him hither” (Luke 19:30). It had life, thanks to the lamb, but it did not have liberty. That colt may have stood alongside the post to which it was tied and dreamed about being set free. The grass on the hills looked so green. The brook down the hill looked so refreshing. The other animals seemed to be roaming at will But he was tied to a pose. It was set free by the word of Christ and by means of His authority.
 
Again, the application is to us. Many have new life in Christ but are still in bondage to old habits and sins. They need to hear the Word of the Lord: “Loose him! Bring him to Me.” How grateful that little colt must have been when the Lord’s disciples undid the knots that bound him to that post He kicked up his heels. He was free.
 
But there was something else. It had to be ruled. This was a colt upon which “yet never man set. It was an unbroken colt, full of the pride of life and self-will. But the Lord had not set it free to please itself but to serve Him. “Bring him to Me,” He said.
 
Then a wonderful thing happened. The Master enthroned Himself upon the colt as Lord of its life. All rebellion had fled. All fear vanished. The colt was transformed from a wild, untamed creature into an obedient, submissive instrument of the Master’s will. Its one duty now was to lift up the Lord Jesus, And so it did. As a result the people saw Christ and shouted His praise. All eyes were on Jesus, not on the donkey; and that, of course, is the way it ought to be.
 
100 Devotions for Leaders – 2008 by John Phillips – Published by Regal Publications Grand Rapids, Michigan
 
Pastor Lee’s Thoughts: What an amazing illustration that God placed right into the Word of God to show us our need for Salvation and Redemption and then our responsibility after salvation. I am amazed the nuggets of truth that are put into the Word of God to continue to give us hope and direction in our everyday lives!


October 13, 2020

The Incense
 
Exodus 30:34-38
 
The incense was burned on the golden altar in the Holy Place of the temple. On the Day of Atonement it was carried in a golden censer into the immediate presence of God in the Holy of Hollies just beyond the temple veil. It had four ingredients. They were blended together in the order in which they are listed—stacte, onycha, galbanum, and frankincense. Incense is a symbol of prayer, ascending to God in a fragrant cloud from the golden altar. It is hard for us to pray, so the Holy Spirit helps us and even makes intercession for us (Rom. 8:26—27). His instructions regarding the incense are a step in this direction,
 
The stacte suggests patience in prayer. The Greek word stacte translates a Hebrew word that literally means “to drop’ or ‘to distill.” The thought seems to be “to distill as the dew.” Dew is distilled secretly, in stillness and in silence. It takes time for dew to form. That is the first ingredient of prayer—patience. We must take time to pray. We must be still.
 
The onycha suggests penitence in prayer. The Hebrew word is thought to refer to a perfumed mollusk, which had to be crushed to yield its fragrance. This suggests to us that we should be crushed by the enormity of our sins. We might well be overwhelmed by our sins, by their constant repetition and by their continuing reign. Repentance is what we need, penitence in prayer.
 
The galbanum suggests praise in prayer. The word comes from a root meaning “to be fat, or fertile,” possibly referring to the sap—the life, strength, and virility of the tree, the pith and heart of the plant. Galbanum added strength and vitality to the other ingredients of the holy incense, It is the rising sap that brings out the leaves and the flower and the fruit of the plant. It is praise that brings life into our prayers.
Praise is the most important part of prayer, closely akin to worship.
 
The frankincense suggests petition in prayer. Frankincense is mentioned repeatedly in the Bible. It was one of the things the wise men brought to the infant Jesus. The word comes from a root meaning “to be white.” It comes from the same root as the word “Lebanon —”the white mountain, referring to the snow that crowns the mountain range’s brow. If there is one thing that must mark our petitions, it is purity! God says if we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us (Ps. 66:18). We ask and receive not because we ask amiss to consume it on our lusts (James 4:3).
 
The gum from which frankincense was derived comes from a plant in which the number five predominates. It bears five petals and ten stamens. The fruit is five-sided, and there are five species of the plant. In Scripture the number five is associated, with grace. The frankincense reminds us that our prayer ascends to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16) Incidentally, frankincense comes from a tree that grows on bare, inhospitable rock. This reminds us that prayer draws its strength from Christ,
the Rock of Ages.
 
There was one other ingredient in the incense – Salt (“salted” is translated “tempered together” in the KJV)Salt suggests pungency in prayer. How dull prayer meetings often become. If our speech is to be seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6) how much more our prayers.  Surely we should give as much attention to making our prayers interesting as we do to making our conversation interesting. It is s bad enough to be a bore in general speech. It is well nigh criminal to bore people with our uninspired, insipid, repetitious prayers. Surely it is time we came with the disciples of the Lord Jesus and say to Him. “Lord, teach us to pray.”
 
100 Devotions for Leaders – 2008 by John Phillips – Published by Regal Publications Grand Rapids, Michigan
 
Pastor Lee’s Thoughts: When you begin to dissect the temple of the Lord and see the applications of what each article represents it is amazing to learn how they all are associated with our relationship with the Lord. Here the incense is a direct result of the importance of prayer in our lives. May we discipline ourselves to have an everyday intimate relationship with our Lord through prayer!


October 12, 2020

The Holy Ointment – Part 2
 
Exodus 30:22-33
 
It was unique. The Jews were forbidden to make its like. It was to be neither imitated nor profaned. Its ingredients and their amounts are given. It all speaks of Christ. First, we have the myrrh. It points to the passion of Christ. Myrrh was a resinous gum derived from a tree of the terebinth family. It grows in the dry desert wastes of Arabia. The myrrh, used in making the anointing oil, is described as “pure” myrrh. The Hebrew word for “pure” is said to describe the swallow, darting in the sky. The Lord Jesus, in His life, was as free as the birds of the air. Christs death was voluntary. His death was like the free-flowing myrrh. Myrrh was obtained by incisions made in the tree. It was used at weddings and funerals. It added fragrance to life’s gladdest and saddest hours. Five hundred shekels by weight was the contribution of the myrrh to the anointing oil. That amounted to one third of the total weight of the whole. The same is true of the four Gospels also. The heavy emphasis, in all of them, is the death of Christ. John’s gospel, for instance, devotes about half of its space to the events of the last week of our Lord, to the events, that is, connected with His death.
 
The next two ingredients were sweet cinnamon and sweet calamus.  They point to the Person of Christ. It took two ingredients to depict the Person of Christ because Christ united two natures in His being, the human and divine. He was both God and man. Cinnamon comes from an evergreen tree of the laurel family. The inner bark yields a light brown spice. In olden times it was more valuable than gold. The Lord in His Person was like that—an evergreen! He was the “blessed man” of the first psalm. “His leaf also shall not wither,” the psalmist said (v. 3). He was the God-man of Philippians 2:5—11. Death itself could not overcome Him. When the time came, He laid down His life Himself. He dismissed His Spirit Himself. 
 
The calamus was a reed, pointing to the sky, a species of tall grass— depicting the fragrant humanity of Christ. He grew up as a tender plant, rooted to earth but pointing to the sky. The plant had to be crushed before its full fragrance could be obtained. The holy anointing oil called for two hundred fifty shekels of cinnamon and the same amount of calamus. The deity and humanity were perfectly balanced in the Person of Christ.
 
The cassia points to the perfection of Christ. It belonged to the same family as the cinnamon. A full five hundred shekel measure of cassia was required. The cassia reminds us of the Lord Jesus as He is presented in the typology of Scripture. The prophetic Psalm 45 said of Him: “All thy garments smell of . . . cassia” (v. 8). This plant grows where others die. It was used to blend all the other ingredients of the holy ointment.
 
Oh, the pungency of the holiness and perfection of Christ. Bullying Pilate himself was overwhelmed by it. It threw wicked Herod into sharp reaction and open ridicule. It was strong enough to conquer the grave.
But the ointment, with all its pungent ingredients, needed one more thing—oil. The oil points to the position of Christ as the Anointed Once. The oil speaks of the Holy Spirit. The oil took all these various fragrant excellences of the Lord Jesus (symbolized by the myrrh, the cinnamon, the calamus, and the cassia) and blended them together. It was the Holy Spirit who took the various excellences of Christ—His passion, His Person (both human and divine), His perfection—and transformed them from a collection of superlatives into one glorious, breathtaking whole and blended them into one inimitable fragrance.
 
One of the Lord’s most eloquent titles was “the Christ,” the Anointed One. He is God’s anointed Priest. He ministers thus in heaven, filling that glorious place with the pervading fragrance of His presence. He is God’s anointed Prophet. Truly, no man spoke like this man. And He is God’s anointed King, coming soon to restore Edenic conditions to this world.
 
In the meantime, He anoints His own. Nobody was allowed to imitate that ointment, but God was willing to share it with us. Nobody can imitate the life of Christ. But we may have His fragrance shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
 
 
100 Devotions for Leaders – 2008 by John Phillips – Published by Regal Publications Grand Rapids, Michigan
 
Pastor Lee’s Thoughts: This is such an amazing depiction of Christ and who is to us! I cannot not even begin to add to this devotion, it is written with such elegance! May my view of Christ change today knowing the fragrance of His Mercy and Love is bestowed upon me and I have a responsibility to be a shining light to this dark world. This is what the world needs to hear, of the amazing splendor of our Lord!