Scripture: verse 3
I will set myself against him and cut him off from his people, because he has sacrificed his child to Molekh, defiling My sanctuary and profaning My holy name.
Observation: The first section of the chapter forbids child sacrifice, which is good. Obviously. What I found interesting was this verse – God will reject the person who sacrifices his child, not because he killed his child, but because he has betrayed God.
I don’t really like talking about this, what with the young mother hormones kicking in, but it’s important. God’s perspective on our lives is really kinda weird. From His point of view, our relationship with Him supersedes every other consideration. The death of a child may not even be that big of a deal to Him, assuming the child just goes straight up to heaven. The turning away from God, however, is earth-shattering.
What we see is not all that is. God sees a much bigger picture than we do. He is acutely aware of our every thought and action and emotion, and He longs for us to be similarly attuned to us. We are His, and His desire is for us (Song of Songs 7:10).
Application: Seek intimacy with God. Remember that He doesn’t work the way you think He does. Let Him teach you about His perspective.
Prayer: Hi God. You’re crazy. Or, more likely, I’m crazy, along with all humans. We just don’t see things clearly. Help me to see things the way you see them. Help me to trust that you understand things better than I do. Amen.
Scripture: verse 30
He is to bring with his own hands the offerings for Adonai made by fire — he is to bring the breast with its fat. The breast is to be waved as a wave offering before Adonai.
Observation: This is part of the instructions for peace offerings – the person bringing it had to cut off the breast of the animal. The fat got burned up as an act of worship, and the meat was waved before the alter.
Which is quite an image: the worshipper brought up a slab of steak – I don’t know how big that is exactly, but it’s got to be several pounds if the animal was a sheep, and if it was a bull it would just be huge. So he brings with his own hands a slab of meat that’s practically bigger than he is and has to wave it in front of the alter. Apparently this was the slapstick portion of the ritual 🙂
I’m not really sure what my point is here. I could talk about being willing to look silly in order to worship God, which is a good point, but not really the purpose of the passage. The main point is probably that he had to bring it with his own hands – God doesn’t want us to outsource our relationship with Him. He wants us to bring our troubles to Him directly, and let Him give us peace.
Application: Bring your troubles to God. Worrying and thinking about them is not the same as praying about them. Asking for solutions is not the same as asking for peace. Reading books and websites and resources is not the same as reading His Word and seeking His face. God has peace for us. But we have to go to the source.
Prayer: Father, thank you for being my peace. Help me remember to bring my worries to you at first, and not at last. Help me to turn to you for my peace. Amen.
Scripture: from verse 13
He is to wash the entrails and lower parts of the legs with water
Observation: Speaking of burnt offerings here: the offering (sheep in this section, bird in the next few verses) was to be slaughtered, the blood drained onto the sides of the alter, and then it was to be cleaned before being burned. The yucky parts of the sheep got washed with water, and the bird’s crop was to be removed.
Now, obviously you would do this to animals you were going to eat, but it’s kinda weird to do this to a sacrifice when it’s just going to be burned to ash anyway. It’s not like God will be sickened by a little dirt.
So possibly it’s for the benefit of the person bringing the offering, to continue to be involved in each step of the process. He doesn’t leave it all to the priest, but continues to prepare the sacrifice himself. Just like Yeshua is our sacrifice, but we continue to work with Him to enter into God’s grace.
(Or, possibly, it was for more practical reasons – could there be anything that would make people sick if it got into the smoke? I doubt it, but it’s possible.)
Application: Don’t assume your job is done once you’ve accepted His sacrifice. There’s still a lot of cleaning to be done.
Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for cleaning me. Thank you for sacrificing yourself for me even when I’m covered in mud and worse. Help me to stay under your waterfall of forgiveness. Amen.
Scripture: verse 29
Let no harmful language come from your mouth, only good words that are helpful in meeting the need, words that will benefit those who hear them.
Observation: I’ve mentioned before that one of my common failings is cynicism and speaking harshly of ideas (and people) I disagree with. (Part of the problem, of course, is that I tend to speak of the idea in the abstract, forgetting that people are involved and might be hurt or offended or feel excluded by my words.) Here we have the criterion I should be using: that which blesses others.
Which helps me reconcile the tension I feel in many cases, actually. I have strong opinions because I think about things and am fairly intelligent, and that’s not actually a bad thing. My cynicism has even been known to help certain people (usually Hero or my sister), in certain situations. But I’m just as likely to spout off to someone who isn’t interested or doesn’t need to know, because I’m more focused on the idea than on the person.
Application: My goal needs to be to bless the person I am speaking with. I’m not always very good at figuring out how to do that, but I expect that as I bring my heart into line with God’s heart, He’ll take care of the rest.
Prayer: Yeshua, help me see the people around me as you see them. Help me to bless them. Amen.
Scripture: verse 6
So that we would bring Him praise commensurate with the glory of the grace He gave us through the Beloved One.
Observation: “He” is Adonai at the moment – God the Father. Looking at other translations confirms that this isn’t about us praising God, but about us being the praise – we are the trophy or reward God gets because of the glory of His grace.
Which is kinda weird. I’m not really accustomed to being a trophy. But a trophy is something that one works for, and something that one treasures. He is honored by the fact that I am His daughter, not by any effort I might make to honor Him.
Sometimes I joke that I’m a “kept woman,” because Hero is the one with a job and tends to do a lot of the projects at home – calling home repair people (I’m kinda phone-phobic) and bookkeeping and so on. And sometimes it’s a guilt-joke, meant to cover the fact that I’m feeling guilty about the state of the house. But most of the time it’s a happy joke, because I know that Hero loves me and loves taking care of me, whether the dishes are washed or not. And God is the same way only more so: He loves me and He loves doing all the work for me, because I am His daughter. And I honor Him when I let Him do the work.
Application: I honor God when I let God do the work. I don’t honor Him when I try to be perfect and holy on my own power. (Mostly I get cranky.) I don’t honor Him when I stress over the things I get wrong. I don’t honor Him when I feel guilty. I honor Him when I rest on His grace. I honor Him when I love Him.
Prayer: Father, thank you for the Beloved One and the grace you’ve provided. Teach me to honor you, to stay safe in your love and not worry about anything.