In the beginning God…Genesis 1.1

God is self-existent, he has always been and will always be. This is the foundational belief that we hold to be true and from this we understand our place and purpose. The only other option is to believe that matter has always been and somehow this matter came into being and had inherent power to change and create life. An impersonal substance somehow was able to create personal beings. If we hold this to be true there is no need for God and our lives can be lived by our own desires because we are free to act as we want. We are not accountable to anyone ,there is no moral code that we must submit to. Once we acknowledge that there is a God then we also must acknowledge that we are accountable to him. Our Creator is a kind and benevolent God who created human beings for his pleasure and to be the objects of his love. He is a good God and everything he does is based in his goodness. True life begins when we understand the first sentence of the Bible and place our lives under the rule of our Creator.

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Got you…Mark11.33

33 And they said in answer to Jesus, We have no idea. And Jesus said to them, And I will not say to you by what authority I do these things.

The chief priests and scribes were desperately trying to catch Jesus off guard by asking    him  difficult questions. But Jesus responded in ways that put them in their place which infuriated them and increased their desire to eliminate him. They did not accept him for who he was but the common people did. They did not let preconceived ideas dominate their judgment regarding Jesus true identify. The obvious was hidden from the religious leaders and they continued to lead others astray to their own condemnation.

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The call of the cross…Mark 8.34

34 And turning to the mass of people with his disciples, he said to them, If any man has the desire to come after me, let him give up all other desires, and take up his cross and come after me.
Jesus knew the cross was before him and he knew the level of commitment his true disciples would be required to make. Setting aside all human desires to make following him the governing desire was the first step. Many never take the first step because they are tied to the world and desires of the flesh. There are many competing desires that constantly call out to true disciples but they never become the one desire and the controlling decision of their will. Following Jesus may lead us down the road to death but it will be a death that will bring honor and glory to him.

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Fixed standards… Leviticus 27.25

‚Äč25  Every conversion value must be calculated by the standard of the sanctuary shekel; twenty gerahs to the shekel.

Standards for weights and measurements were important to God and were established to govern his people. The heart of man is deceitful and cheating by using unjust standards is one of the ways fallen man uses to gain wealth. A story is told of a Baker who bought a pound of meat from the butcher. When the butcher came to buy a pound of bread from the baker, the butcher complained that he was being cheated, the bread was not one pound. But the baker replied by stating that he used the pound of meat he purchased from the butcher as his standard of measure and he got what he deserved. Honesty must always be our practice in all of our dealings with others. 

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Perfection…Leviticus 21.16,17

16 And the Lord said to Moses,

17 Say to Aaron, If a man of your family, in any generation, is damaged in body, let him not come near to make the offering of the bread of his God.

God is perfect in his character and in all his ways. The sacrifices brought to him as well as the priests who offered them had to be free of defects. Nothing imperfect was acceptable to him. The only way we can be perfect is through the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. He was the perfect sacrifice and the perfect high priest who could once and for all time present himself to God on our behalf in order for our sins to be forgiven.

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Symbolic offerings….Leviticus 10.24

And fire came out from before the Lord, burning up the offering on the altar and the fat: and when all the people saw it, they gave a loud cry, falling down on their faces.
The presentation of the offerings was an important part of the life of the Israelites. The offerings of peace, sin and consecration were constant reminders of their needs and God’s provision.  We all need to be at peace with God, to be in agreement with him and doing what pleases Him.  Our sin offering has been met through Jesus who was the perfect sacrifice that satisfied the just demands of God.  Our sins have been forgiven and our penalty of death has been paid by Jesus.  We are bought with a price and our response is to be completely dedicated and consecrated to the Lord.  The burnt offering was symbolic of complete consecration, nothing remained that could be used for any other purpose.  Everything we have and are is to be given in service to the Lord.

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Fragrance….Leviticus 6.15

The priest is to take in his hand some of the meal of the meal offering and of the oil of it, and all the perfume on it, burning it on the altar as a sign, for a sweet smell to the Lord.

All the sacrifices created a scene of a lot of bloodshed and squealing noises of the animals that were slaughtered.  It was not a pretty scene and there were most likely a lot of pungent odors permeating the air.  In the midst of this there were sacrifices that produced a fragrance that was pleasing to the Lord. God included among all the sacrifices types that produced a fragrance that brought pleasure to those who smelled it but also to the Lord.  Our prayers are likened to the fragrances offered, they bring pleasure to the Lord. He delights in our prayers, they are never a burden to him. Our lives dedicated to the Lord also produce a fragrance to those around us. For believers it is a sweet fragrance but to the unbelievers it is a fragrance of death.

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Enduring faith…Romans 4.20

Still, he did not give up faith in the undertaking of God, but was made strong by faith, giving glory to God,
Abraham never gave up on the promise God had given him. He had every reason to give up yet held firm to God’s word to him. He was up against all odds to be a father considering his age and his wife’s age. Not many people are given the ability to produce children when they are 100 years old. But Abraham did now waver in the waiting but his faith gained strength. God is true to his word and we must remain true to him.

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