Leviticus 24-27 Highlights
- ‘Eye for an eye’ passage in Leviticus 24, the passage Jesus quotes in his teaching
- Sabbath year and year of Jubilee explained to Israel
- Blessings for obedience, punishment for disobedience
- Laws about vows complete the book of Leviticus
Numbers 1-7 Highlights
- Census of warriors of Israel
- Genealogy of Aaron is listed
- Redemption of the firstborn
- Laws about confession and restitution are given
- Procedures for making the Nazirite Vow are listed for Israel
Psalms 81, 112, 64 Highlights
- Psalm 81 is a cry for Israel to remember their God and not turn to false gods and not harden their hearts against God. This psalm highlights our fallen nature, that even though God consistently warns us and reminds us, we over and over turn to other things for joy, satisfaction, and worship. The psalmist is crying for God’s people to listen to Him and walk in His ways, that it may go well with us.
- Psalm 112 talks of the blessed man, one who fears the Lord and delights in His commandments. The psalm goes on to list other promises that are given to the ‘blessed’ man, one who follows the Lord. This psalm makes the amazing statement that, “the righteous will never be moved”. Nothing can thwart the man who walks with the Lord. Paul echoes this psalm in Romans 8 when he writes about how nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Those who know Christ can never be shaken, because our trust is in an unshakeable God.
- Psalm 64 is written asking God to protect His people from those who would be evil or bring harm. We will face opposition and persecution as followers of Christ. When this happens, the answer this psalm gives is not to look inward at ourselves for strength and resolve, but rather to look to God. God brings them down and eventually to ruin. We look to a perfect God whom we can trust with any and every thing that we face.
Hebrews 9-13 Highlights
- The author of Hebrews highlights the redemption that comes only through the blood of Jesus Christ
- This redemption is eternal, unlike the sacrifice of bulls and goats that could never be the eternal sacrifice we need for sin
- Christ’s sacrifice was once and for all
- We can draw near to God with a FULL assurance of faith, not because of us, but because of Christ
- Hebrews 11 is the “hall of faith” chapter where those of great faith are mentioned
- Jesus ushered in a kingdom that cannot be shaken
- Practical advice is given in chapter 13 of what the outworking of our faith should look like
Leviticus concludes the explanation of more law from God for His people, as well as a section on blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Leviticus 24 has a well-known passage, starting in verse 17, where God’s law states, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” This is often a misused passage when quoted. There are a couple of important things to note on this text.
First, notice the surrounding context of this passage. He was speaking of murder, killing of a neighbor’s animal, and causing personal harm to another person. God was teaching and showing that He is a God of justice. This is a fair and moral system. If you take a life unlawfully (notice this is talking of murder and not war) fairness would be that you no longer get to live your life. In all God’s dealings with His people He is seen as fair and just.
Secondly, vengeance is always God’s. This was a law given from God, and only when the strict conditions of murder or purposeful personal harm were the punishments to be carried out. This wasn’t something for God’s people to simply decide to do; rather, this was something God established and gave to His people as a system of fairness and justice.
Third, Jesus calls Christians to an even higher standard of justice, and love. Jesus tells us in the sermon on the mount to love our enemies, rather than seek justice or vengeance. He tells us to pray for those that would persecute us. What is Jesus doing here? Jesus is actually RAISING the bar for us as followers of Christ. He is reminding us that vengeance and justice are ultimately God’s, not ours. So, we love our enemies and pray for those that would persecute us. Jesus is assuming here that only ones who have been saved by grace can actually do this. This is a mark of grace and an evidence of our salvation, that we could love our enemies and pray for our persecutors. Jesus is calling us to something deeper here; he is saying, “go love your enemies – it is an evidence that you are God’s child, and perhaps will be something that leads to their salvation and following Christ forever.” Jesus is calling us to leave vengeance and justice ultimately to God, and calling us to something profound – loving our enemies in the exact same way that Christ loved enemies, sinners (us!) and came to die for us.
Lastly, in Leviticus, the section in chapter 26 on blessings for obedience and punishment for disobedience should be a great reminder to us as followers of Christ. Obedience (following Christ) leads to life. Disobedience leads to death. Remember, God is preparing Israel for the promised Savior. He is doing two things here – showing them at their core that they are all disobedient. Not one of them can keep the law as God has given it, because we all are sinners. We all deserve death. He is showing His people that. He is also is showing them and preparing them to be able to see that Jesus can bring them life because He is perfect. Christ was perfectly obedient on our behalf. So, when we believe on Christ and what He did for us at the cross, we gain life. God is preparing His people to see this marvelous grace. Christ, the perfectly obedient one, laid down His life and took the punishment for our disobedience, and in so doing gives His perfect merit and obedience to us. When we repent of our sin and follow Christ, we gain the standing before God that Jesus merited for us – perfect obedience. God doesn’t see a Christian in any way other than one who is justified and covered by the blood of Christ.
God is also showing His people that there is a way to live that brings blessing; that way is following what God has commanded. If we call ourselves Christians but fail to live, or even care to live, in the way that He has called us then we should not expect blessing, here or for eternity. We should have no assurance of our salvation, whether we call ourselves Christians or not, if there is no heart or desire within us to live the life that Christ calls us to live; a life permeated with the faith that was mentioned earlier; a faith that allows us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors.
The writer of Hebrews is desperate for his readers to see the unparalleled beauty of Jesus Christ. He looks to the Old Testament sacrificial system as further proof of the greatness of Jesus. The author states that the OT sacrificial system was but a shadow of things to come. Don’t miss this. The OT sacrificial system was where Israel’s leaders would sacrifice bulls and goats as a payment for sin, with the blood of the bull or goat covering the sin of God’s people for one year. This sacrifice had to be made often, every year, as a payment for the sins of that year.
The author of Hebrews calls this a ‘shadow’ meaning it was showing in part what was later going to be revealed in much greater splendor and majesty. A shadow shows the outline of a figure, but looking at someone shows their figure in much greater measure. There is no detail in a shadow, just an outline.
The sacrificial system of the Old Testament was to show that the payment for sin is death. Something’s blood must be shed for there to be payment for sin. The blood of bulls and goats was to be a yearlong payment for sin, but the blood of bulls and goats could never be a full and final payment for sin. It was a shadow.
This is why Jesus is greater. His sacrifice can actually make those who believe it and draw near to it perfect. Jesus’ blood is the full and final payment for sin. It is the payment from the sinless Son of God for the sins of all who would repent and trust in Christ for forgiveness and life. Jesus is the perfect picture of the shadow of the Old Testament sacrificial system. Jesus’ payment for sin was once and for all.
Hebrews 11 is the ‘hall of faith’ chapter where the writer is recognizing those of great faith in the Scriptures. Let their example of faith be an encouragement to you, and an example for us to seek to emulate. Great faith is not something we muster within ourselves, but rather something given to us that we then use as evidence of our salvation, and the hope that we would lead others to share in that great faith that is freely offered in Christ.