Tag Archives: made perfect

Isaiah 34

Scripture: from verse 16

…none will be lacking a mate.

Observation:  Yet more death and destruction.  Edom will be razed to the ground and burned and filled with wild animals, none of whom will lack a mate.

I find this kind of amusing because the only other instance of that phrase that I can think of is in Song of Songs, in which the lover tells his beloved that she has beautifully white teeth like freshly-washed sheep, none of which are lacking a mate.

The beloved in Song of Songs is often said to symbolize God’s people, washed and made perfect and presented to Him as a bride (Ephesians 5).  So whether God is perfecting His people or destroying Edom, not a detail is left undone.

Application: Trust God with the details.  He’ll get to them in time.

Prayer:  Father, I praise you because you do not overlook or forget things.  You will do your work in your time.  Please help me to be patient with your schedule and not try to change other people or myself on my own power.  Amen.

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Leviticus 22:1-16

Scripture: from verse 9

The cohanim must observe this charge of mine… I am Adonai, who makes them holy.

Observation:  The passage orders that any priest who is unclean (whether because he had sex, or touched a bug, or interacted with an unclean person) is not allowed to eat the holy food until he is clean again.

I doubt that God structured this so that His priests would starve, but it was still a pretty stringent regulation.  It doesn’t seem fair that they would be cut off from their jobs so frequently.

But God was the one who made them holy in the first place.  The sacrifices belong to Him, not to them.  He could insist on holiness because He was the one giving it.

Humans aren’t holy.  We don’t belong in God’s presence.  We can’t survive it.  That’s why Yeshua became our holiness – our wisdom and our righteousness and our redemption are all Him (1 Cor 1:30).  We have nothing except what He gives us.

Praise God He gives it freely.

Application:  Look to Messiah to be your righteousness.  There’s no other way in.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you so much for being my holiness.  Thank you for saving me when I was beyond help.  Help me to remember that you are my covering, and all I have to do is seek your face.  Amen.

Leviticus 13:1-28

Scripture: from verse 13

If [the priest] sees that the tzara‘at (leprosy) has covered his entire body, he is to pronounce the person with the sores clean — it has all turned white, and he is clean.

Observation:  Leprosy (which appears to be an umbrella term for all malignant skin disease, not just what we know as leprosy today) was a curse from God, a sign of His wrath.  Logically, someone who has had leprosy in the past, while no longer contagious, is still someone to be rejected as having earned God’s wrath.  But this is the Father of Light we’re talking about, and human logic doesn’t measure up.

While the leprosy is expanding and contagious, the person is unclean and can’t be a part of the community.  But if the disease goes into remission, and the sores turn into scars, then he’s allowed back in.  He’s clean.  He may still look terrible, but God has declared him clean again.

Holiness isn’t about outward appearances.  My journey is not your journey.  We are all sinners and we all need to be healed.  So just because one set of sins is more visible or even more hurtful than another doesn’t mean God isn’t at work.  It just means He has his own plan.

We’ve all earned God’s wrath.  None of us are especially pretty inside.  But He’s made us clean, and He’s declared us family.

Application:  Don’t judge others by the sins that are showing.  We’ve all got some.  Don’t judge others by their past mistakes, either, because we’ve all got those too.  The fact that some have larger consequences on Earth doesn’t mean they look any different in Heaven.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for making me clean.  Help me to understand that the others around me are just as clean in you, despite their past mistakes or current habits.  Help me encourage and love others instead of snarking at them.  Amen.

Leviticus 6:12-23

Scripture: from verse 20

Whatever touches its flesh will become holy…

Observation:  The sin offering made things holy.  The person who was repentant and brought the sin offering became holy, of course, but the holiness doesn’t stop there.  Anything that touched it became holy, anyone who ate it became holy, and whatever objects came in contact with it (clothes splashed with the blood, dishes used to cook it or hold it) had to be treated as holy.

There is power in the blood of the Lamb.

Yeshua is our sin sacrifice.  When He touches us, we become holy.  We are put into an entirely new category, new role, new family.  We are no longer just human, but something more.  Something different.

His blood makes the desert bloom.  The desert gets very little rain, but when it comes, the plants and flowers appear overnight – the entire landscape is transformed in the blink of an eye.

The same thing happens to us, in our hearts.  Yeshua’s touch allows life to grow where there was only dryness before.  He transforms us completely.  He makes us holy.

There is power in the blood of the Lamb.

Application: …I assume there is one?  Gratitude, I guess.  The verses I’m most excited about tend to have the least obvious applications.  That’s okay.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you so much for being my Lamb.  Thank you for transforming me, for infusing me with new life and new hope.  Thank you that I don’t have to be just myself anymore, but that I can be your daughter.  Amen.

Leviticus 4:19-35

Scripture: verse 22

When a leader sins and inadvertently does something against any of the laws of Adonai concerning things which should not be done, he is guilty

Observation: This verse is repeated multiple times in chapter four, with a different person identified each time. It applies to all of us: if we break God’s law by accident, we are still guilty.

“It was just a mistake.” “Regrettable decisions were made.” We try to gloss over our wrong choices, and we see our leaders do the same thing. But glossing over it doesn’t make it go away. It was still wrong.

But when we finally stop making excuses and rationalizations, there is a way to make it go away. We can’t ignore our sins, but we can be forgiven for them. Leviticus details the sacrifices that needed to be made. In our case, Yeshua is our sacrifice, and the forgiveness is freely available as soon as we give up and admit we need it.

It’s wasn’t just a mistake. It was a big deal. But, more to the point, it wasn’t me. Not anymore. Yeshua took my sins as His own. God has wiped the slate clean and forgotten that I ever did any such thing (Hebrews 8:12 and Isaiah 43:25). It wasn’t me.

Application: Admit that your sins are just that: sin. Not little mistakes, not what everyone does, not no big deal. Once you know you can’t be perfect under your own power, you can accept that you are perfect under God.

Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for taking my sins. Thank you for taking responsibility for all my mistakes and slips and confusion. Thank you for making me perfect.

Ephesians Wrap-Up

I noticed at some point (beginning of chapter six, I think) that the phrase “In union with Him” recurs several times during Ephesians.  Which makes sense, because Ephesians is largely a “now what?” book: it covers the things that happen to us and the things that we should be doing, now that we are in union with Him.

In union with Him…

…we are set free (1:7)

…we are created for a life of good actions which God has planned for us (2:10)

…we are held together and growing as a community into a dwelling-place for God (2:21-22)

…we are all heirs in God’s promises (3:6)

…we have boldness and confidence when we approach God (3:12)

…we no longer use sterile ways of thinking (4:17)

…we are to obey our parents and other authorities (6:1)

…we grow powerful in the Lord’s mighty strength (6:10)

In union with the Lord, our identity changes first.  We are free of sin, and given a new life and a new calling.

The next thing to change is our relationships.  God moves us to live in community, to glorify Him together.  God uses the strengths and weaknesses and giftings of each person together, so that we no longer have to rely on our own abilities but have others to support us.  We are not only free, but we are also family.

Then our thinking changes.  We gain confidence and creativity and love for others.  We learn what the truth looks like, and our words and actions create life.

And finally (finally!) our actions reflect our faith – we learn love for others and humility that makes it easier to submit to authority and put others first.  We rely on God’s power and not our own.

Union with God is not to be taken lightly.  It sweeps through and changes more than we realize.  But it’s also a process, and some of the most visible signs are the ones that happen last.  The presence of sin doesn’t mean the process isn’t happening.  Making a mistake doesn’t change my identity, or my place in the community.  It just means I’m not there yet.

Thankfully, God is there already.  And He’s still holding my hand and lifting me higher.

Ephesians 5:11-15

Scripture: verse 11

Have nothing to do with the deeds produced by darkness, but instead expose them…

Observation:  So what, exactly, are the deeds produced by darkness?  In context, the passage before has been talking about things like immorality and greed, so those are certainly included.

But the contrast between light and darkness is an important one.  The passage has said that we are light (in the Lord, at least), that the fruits of light are righteousness and truth, and that things exposed to the light are revealed clearly.  Darkness, being the opposite, is not of the Lord, produces evil and lies, and tries to hide things and deceive people about what’s going on.

Darkness hides – and we are to expose the things that would stay hidden.  Darkness is sterile – and we are to avoid deeds that lead to meaninglessness.  Darkness deceives – and we are to insist on the truth.

Application:  As Lizzie Bennet says, keeping secrets isn’t really that helpful.  Insist on the truth.  Don’t get involved in things that try to hide, or try to make you hide.

Prayer:  Father of Light, help me see the truth.  Help me to choose to stand in your light, without hiding or disguising my flaws, because I know that you have taken care of them.  Help me to see clearly and to love others enough to see them clearly.  Amen.

Ephesians 4:26-29

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.

Ephesians 4:16-20

Scripture: verses 16 and 17

Under [Messiah’s] control, the whole body is being fitted and held together by the support of every joint, with each part working to fulfill its function; this is how the body grows and builds itself up in love.  Therefore…do not live any longer as the pagans live, with their sterile ways of thinking.

Observation:  We have a contrast here.  On the one hand is the body of believers, who are learning to work together and support each other and build something that is bigger than the sum of themselves.  On the other hand are the pagans, who use ways of thinking that don’t lend themselves to the building of community.  They don’t speak the truth in love (or at least, they don’t insist on it, as Messiah does), and they don’t submit to each other in love, and as a result their society is sterile – it produces nothing.  Without grace, without the knowledge of God’s direction and training, we get nowhere.

Application:  Watch your thinking.  Are you seeking to love others, or to get your own way? Are you seeking the truth, or do you just want to be right?  God has a plan in mind – know that His plan is better than anything we could come up with.

Prayer:  Yeshua, teach me to be a part of your community.  Help me to support others and to accept the support of others.  Teach me to watch my thoughts and be gentle with others.  Help me see the goals you have instead of my own.  Amen.

Ephesians 1:1-5

Scripture: verse 4

He chose us in love before the creation of the universe to be holy and without defect in His presence.

Observation:  The creation of the universe was an awfully long time ago.  Of course, God is outside time, so I suppose that doesn’t seem like a big deal to Him.  But it’s a big deal to us.  To know that we were always chosen.  That He knew He wanted us to be with Him as soon as He thought of us.  To know that there has never been doubt or change in His plans for us.  To know that He was planning to bless me, knowing every mistake I would make, before I made any of them.  I can’t scare Him away.  He loves me.

I’ve been reading a lot of Pride and Prejudice fanfiction lately (don’t judge!), as well as writing some of my own.  And this is the crux of the plot in every iteration of that story, as it is in so many others – that the woman believes that her mistakes, her pride, her words, her family, her junk, whatever form that takes, have offended the man so deeply that his love has died and he no longer cares about her.  (Sometimes it’s the other way around, of course, but with P&P at least it’s usually the woman.)  And the miracle is that that’s not true, that true love can take whatever beating life deals out.

God chooses to love us like that.  He looks at our junk – and there’s a lot of junk – and he decides that he loves us too much to let the junk matter.  So, just as Mr. Darcy chooses to cover Elizabeth’s lack of fortune with his own, God covers our junk with his perfection.  No questions asked.

Application: This is about confidence.  About boldly approaching the throne of grace (Hebrews 4).  About not hiding our flaws from God, because He’s already covered them.  About not worrying about bothering Him with our issues, because He’s already chosen to be involved.

Prayer:  Father, teach me to trust you with my heart.  Teach me to know you’ve already chosen me.  Help me to be confident in Your love and not fear exposure.  Amen.