Leviticus:

  • So much comfort in Leviticus.
    • The five offerings point to Christ
    • The feasts point to Christ’s first coming, the church, and His second coming.
    • The Law made so many provisions for the people
    • Leviticus 26:40-45: Reminds us of God’s faithfulness to Israel. And we can see how devoted God is to this nation, in preserving Him. It is a testimony of His preservation of us as well. See Psalm 121, that we looked at.
  • But today I want to take you to Leviticus 25. This is the chapter where we have the Sabbath year and the year of Jubilee given in the Law. If this isn’t God’s sovereign care, then I don’t know what is.
  • Read 25:1-12
  • You probably already know that the Jews had the Sabbath rest, once per week. But once every seven years, there was the Sabbath year. This was a full year in which no cultivating, reaping or sowing was to be done. So how were they supposed to provide for themselves? God would provide. He would bear fruit for the extra year and beyond that! See 25:20-22 That is sovereign care for His people. Something like this would’ve been unheard of in the surrounding nations. Even the once-a-week Sabbath would not have been familiar. That’s part of our culture because of our Judeo-Christian roots!
  • We also learn in Deuteronomy 15 that anyone who was a slave was freed in the Sabbath year and/or the year of Jubilee.
  • The year of Jubilee was another year of rests that took place every seven Sabbath years. So after the sevenths sabbath year, there was another year of rest and liberty as well.
  • During this year, all debts were to be canceled. People were to return back to their original property, even if they had sold it. They got it back. Why? Read 25:23-24.
  • The word Jubilee literally means release. See verse 10.
  • The year of Jubilee is never mentioned again, nor the Sabbath year after the Pentateuch, so it was likely never observed. In fact, this is one of the reasons why God sent the people into exile for 70 years, so the land could have it’s sabbath year rests that they didn’t observe. 2 Chronicles 36:21: “The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah.”
  • So this was God’s sovereign care to the Israelites to show them that He would take care of them: nationally and individually. Read the rest of the chapter to see God’s provision for every situation, by setting the people and the land free, by giving liberty to the captives.
  • Just like the sacrifices and the feasts, the year of Jubilee points us to Christ.
  • Isaiah 61:1-2: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim LIBERTY TO CAPTIVES and FREEDOM to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God.” This is Jubilee language. The same words are used.
  • Jesus quotes this about himself in Luke 4, except the last part. In His coming, those things are fulfilled.
  • Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
  • Christ is our rest. In the new covenant, we don’t rigidly keep the Sabbath because Christ is our Sabbath rest. He is our Jubilee release from captivity to sin.
  • Hebrews 4. Let’s enter that rest.
  • During our current situation, our souls and hearts and minds can be at rest. Though we may be weary, sick, or bored physically, nothing can take away the rest we have in our souls., because of Christ who purchased our salvation with His blood.
  • Remember Psalm 131. What a picture of rest: a satisfied nursed child. That’s the rest of soul that we have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Numbers:

  • The Book of Numbers could be called: the Sovereign Care of God to a stubborn and stiff-necked people. A lot of Old Testament books could be entitled that. But a lot of the book of Numbers is about the anti-adventure of the people of Israel wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, revealing what was in their hearts.
  • But all along the way, God continued to sovereignly care for them. And we get to see different levels and aspects of that care in Numbers 27.
  • Numbers 27: Three examples of His sovereign care)
  • At this point in Numbers, the people had been wandering nearly forty years. They are very near the promised land. The first generation had died off in the wilderness. There was Korah’s rebellion. There was the plague that took out 14,700 Israelites. There were the snakes. There were enemies. Moses struck the rock when he was supposed to speak to it. But God is still sovereignly caring.
  • Example: Bringing Israel in at the exact right time in world history.
  • Care for the meek. (vv. 1-11)
    • God is watching over the seemingly overlooked.
    • Read the text
    • First of all, the women were able to approach Moses with this problem. That’s a big deal. Women didn’t have rights in this time, in most cultures, and they wouldn’t have any for hundreds of years.
    • Yet they approached Moses with this problem of inheritance in the land. Who would the inheritance in the land go to if their father hand no sons?
    • Moses brought it before the Lord, and God acknowledges their concern. If God knew this concern ahead of time, why wasn’t their a provision in the law before this? Because God is sovereign and outside of time, but He also moves through time and has genuine interactions with His people. Ex: Kind of like the time Moses interceded for the people in Exodus 32.
    • So through this interaction, God provides for the meek and lowly. Whether we see it or not, God is always near the meek, the lowly, the downtrodden, and the brokenhearted. He is working in the world more than we realize.
    • Example: Last week, a friend of mine from youth group days called me up and asked for some help. I was able to help a little bit. And I came back to church and had the thought: that wasn’t me. That was you, God, watching out for the meek and lowly. I just got to be an agent of His sovereign care.
    • How many millions of stories like that are happening every day? These are not on the news. But God is working. It reminds me of John 5:17 when the Jews were persecuting Jesus for healing on the Sabbath and Jesus said: “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” God is always working in this world, not just in “Bible times.” He’s working in our everyday decisions and inclinations to serve and love others.
    • Often times, people complain about starving people in the world. How can a loving God allow that? There’s probably better answers to that than I have, but all I know, is that God is working.
  • Care for Moses. (vv. 12-14)
    • So, in Numbers 20, God commanded Moses to speak to the rock to bring forth water, but in anger he struck it. Because of that, he wasn’t allowed to enter the promised land with the people
    • Now, there’s a lot of questions about why that was such a severe punishment. Part of the reason was, according to I Corinthians 10, the rock that poured forth water was supposed to be a picture of Christ and salvation. And God wanted the rock to only be struck once in Exodus 17. But Moses struck it again in Numbers 20. Regardless, Moses didn’t listen to God. And God, justly, sentenced him. No promised land.
    • However, He still allowed Moses to see it, which was a mercy.
    • It was a reminder that all of Moses’ work and dealings with the people was not in vain. They had finally arrived. He had accomplished what God had called him to do. Seeing the land was an incredible mercy to Moses.
    • But that’s not the end of Moses’ story in the Scripture. After Moses die, we see in the book of Jude that there was a dispute over Moses’ body between Michael and Satan. (Jude 1:9).
    • Then, do we see Moses appear anywhere else? In the Gospels. Moses and Elijah appear to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Moses stepped into the promised land, and it reminds us, that Moses made it to the heavenly promised land by faith, which is far greater.
    • God’s care for Moses is a picture of His care for us. God spoke with Moses face to face. Moses saw the glory of God. But we have this treasure in jars of clay.
    • Application: One of ways that you can draw comfort from the Old Testament, is to see these peoples’ faith, to see what they had in all these wonderful works, and realize that we have way more. We have more revelation, understanding, and more blessing through the New Covenant: righteousness of Jesus, the Spirit residing within us, etc.
    • Then, through Moses’ intercession (Because God works that way all the time in the Scriptures), God sovereignly cares for the nation of Israel as Moses is gathered to his people.
  • Care for the nation. (vv. 15-23)
    • After viewing the promised land, Moses asks God to get a replacement for him. And look at this: Moses pleads on the basis of God’s sovereign care. See verse 16.
    • And for the care of the nation, God appoints a very special man, a man who is uniquely described in all the Old Testament. Verse 18. He’s the only one in the old testament, aside from the Messiah, who is described having the Spirit in Him. In all other places, the Holy Spirit is described as being upon men, but not here.
    • God picks this man to put His Spirit within Him, maybe since the task of subduing the promised land was no small thing. What a special gift of His sovereign care!
    • And it’s no accident that Joshua’s name is the same as our Lords. It means: “Yahweh saves.”
  • As I was perusing through the book of Numbers, God’s sovereign care was everywhere, just as it is in our lives if we would take a moment to look.
  • Bonus point: Often times when people talk about Christ being pictured in the Old Testament. Numbers 19: The Red Heifer: “Though this was a sin offering, it was different because its purpose was not expiatory. Its purpose was not to remove sin itself, but to remove the contamination of sin which death represented.” This points forward to Christ’s work. It’s not just about forgiveness of sin and justification, but extraction of sins slowly and surely through sanctification. Hebrews 9:13-14: “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
  • This all goes to show that salvation was in God’s hand and plan from the beginning. The Law truly is our tutor to lead us to Christ.

 

 
Genesis: Sovereign gracious plan revealed
  • The sovereignty of God is a big theme in Genesis. We’ll focus in on three passages that have implications for the whole Bible.
  • What are some of your most comforting passages from Genesis?
  • Genesis 3:15
    • Before sin, there was a plan for a Savior. And the barebones of that plan are revealed at the outset of sin!
    • Genesis 3 outlines the curse, but embedded in the curse, there is a promise of grace and mercy.
    • That’s another theme throughout the Bible. In wrath, God always remembers mercy. (The prayer of Habakkuk)
    • When the angels sinned, they were immediately judged. This is why they long to look into the things of salvation according to I Peter.
    • Christ and salvation were foreknown before the foundation of the world, and God let’s us in early on in His plans.
    • Your salvation isn’t just this little thing that happened or you decided to do, it was enacted in the eternal council of God in eternity past.
    • Do we have any right to question if God has our good in mind? Speaking of having our good in mind. Let’s look at the end of Genesis.
    • “Is there really a proto-gospel here? Eve seemed to take it this way in Genesis 4:25: Same word for “seed.”
  • Genesis 12:1-3
    • Expansion of the promise of a seed. Genesis 15:5
    • All the nations of the earth will be blessed through you. This is the crux of this promise.
    • This is the unfolding of the redemptive plan of God. This is the purpose of world history. All the nations and all the people is not a product of natural selection. It’s God moving world history in His direction to bring about the salvation of people from every tribe, tongue and nation.
    • When we wonder what God is doing in all the bad things in the world, this is one of the answers: He’s drawing people to himself.
    • In this pandemic, God is taking away peoples’ false sense of security, humbling them, and drawing them to Himself through His people as they take the gospel to a world that is frightened and fearful.
  • Genesis 50:20
    • Most of you know the account of Joseph. Joseph isn’t even one of the patriarch’s, but his story takes up a quarter of Genesis. Why is that?
    • Because it’s incredible story of God’s sovereign care to bring the nation of Israel exactly where He wants them, working through the free agency of people.
    • Joseph is Jacob’s favorite. His brothers get jealous. Joseph may be a little arrogant. His brothers sell him into slavery. He goes to Egypt. Through a lot of painful circumstances, God brings him to a place of status in Egypt, second in command. There’s lots of famine. Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt for help, and they are at the mercy of their brother. Joseph seems to toy with them a little bit, but then ultimately forgives his brothers. Why? Genesis 50:20.
    • And Genesis 50:20 sets up a principle that it seen throughout the rest of the Scriptures. People do evil things, (even Satan) and God weaves it into His plan to do good things. That’s how good God is. He is so good, He can take evil, even the most evil being who ever existed, Satan, and use him for His good plans and purposes.
    • This truth culminates in Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
  • It’s clear in Genesis that God’s sovereign plan to save the world is being worked out as He makes this promise to send a Savior, then He saves Noah, then calls Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be the agent of blessing to the nations, and then uses Joseph and the debacle with His brothers to preserve His people, through whom He would send the Savior. Only a sovereign God could orchestrate all of this, and He uses His sovereignty to pour out His grace and goodness on us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exodus 18: God’s care for

  • When you think of the book of Exodus, you may think of Moses and Pharaoh and plagues and the parting of the Read Sea. You may think of God’s covenant at Sinai with Israel, the 10 commandments, the golden calf incident, or the tabernacle.
  • But today I want to look at one of the deep tracks of the book of Exodus. This is a real hidden gem, because even though the Old Testament is largely focused on God’s plans for Israel and bringing about His promised Messiah through them, we still see this thread laced throughout the Old Testament of God’s affection for the Gentiles. God has a plan to bring salvation to people of every tribe, tongue, and nation. And we get a taste of that in Exodus 18.
  • How does this apply to today? We can rest assured that this is God’s heart today. You don’t read about it in many news sources, but God is using the circumstances with the Coronavirus to draw people to Himself. He is stripping the world of it’s empty securities and bringing people to their knees so that they might be humbled and see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
  • Read Exodus 18.
  • Now, at first glance this may seem, like a little family reunion. But God is doing something really special here.
  • First, the background
    • Exodus 14: The people have crossed the Red Sea.
    • Exodus 16: God provided manna
    • Exodus 17: The people are thirsty and want to go back to Egypt. But God still provides water out of the rock. Then they are attacked by the Amalekites. What else could go wrong.
    • Exodus 18 is a breath of fresh air. First, these Pig eating Gentile Amalekites waged war against them. What’s going to happen in Midian? Salvation of a Gentile who hears about the Lord’s goodness and power.
  • Notice who Jethro is. He is a priest of Midian (v. 1). Was a priest of Yahweh, Elohim? I don’t think so. He was probably a priest of Baal. But then, we see God save him. Read verses 9-12 again.
  • And not only does God save him, but He uses Him to counsel Moses. If it wasn’t for Jethro, Moses probably would’ve died from stress of the wilderness wanderings. God used Jethro, this Gentile, to council His mouthpiece, Moses.
  • The Old Testament is largely about the affairs of Israel, but even before the new covenant he was in the business of drawing people to himself.
  • This was the whole purpose of Israel. Exodus 19. They were to be a kingdom of priests, and even before they are called to do that, God is already fulfilling this call through Moses to Jethro.
  • The Old Testament isn’t just about Israel. It’s about God using Israel to bless the surrounding nations.
  • This is why Romans 1:16 says that the gospel is the power of God to salvation to the Jew first and then to the Greek. The gospel went to the Jews first, and then through the Jews, it went to the Gentiles. The twelve apostles were Jews. Paul was a Hebrew of Hebrews who came to Christ, and then he took that gospel to the Gentiles!
  • God is in the business of saving people. Are we acting as part of this plan? Do we see our current circumstances as an opportunity to do that? How might we be faithful in this opportunity that God has given us?