Psalm 95, Leviticus 1, Esther 8, 1 Corinthians 13
It’s Palm Sunday today and I have to start today’s post by saying how awesome it has been to be in church today. I loved the worship with God’s people today. Both of our services were pretty full and there was an energy in the building. God is working in the lives of people. I had so many cool conversations with people about what God is doing in their lives. I spent the afternoon prepping for next Sunday — Easter Sunday! I’m so excited about what God is going to do throughout this week!
Now, onto today’s devotions!
Ps. 95:4-5 – In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. – Psalm 95 is a triumphant song of praise. I love the way that the psalmist shows the power of God through great contrasts in verses 4 and 5. In God’s hands are the depths of the earth and the highest of heights in the mountains. God made the sea and God formed dry land.
It makes me think of other great contrasts about God. God is omnipresent and yet very much present with each individual. He is all knowing, and he loves us even though he knows all. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He is the Great Servant. He is holy and He became sin. He is so much more. I’d love you to think about this and leave comments on this blog about some of the great contrasts that you see in Christ. He is the God of mercy and the God of wrath. He is God to some and god to others. He is I AM and I am not.
Ps. 95:6-7 – Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! 7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.- There is no other posture that we can rightfully take before God than the posture of bowing down and kneeling before the Lord. When we get to heaven our first response when we see God will be to fall prostrate before Him. His holiness when contrasted with our sinfulness makes this the natural and the spiritual response of all followers of Jesus. But, even those who don’t follow Jesus will one day bow before him. I love that the psalmist calls us the sheep of his hand. Sheep are probably the most helpless animal in the world. If a lamb ends up on its back it will die unless a shepherd or another person intervenes and turns it over. The death will occur in a matter of hours. Sheep desperately need the master. So, do we! I’m glad that my Shepherd is God!
Lev. 1 – Leviticus 1 deals with the laws for burnt offerings. Great detail about how Aaron and his son’s should kill each animal, how the animal should be cut up, how the fire should be arranged, the side of the altar that the sacrifice should take place, etc. But what I found poignant was the end of verses 9, 13 and 17. Each of those verses talk about the purpose of the burnt offerings. These offerings were given as a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Burnt offerings left nothing but the skin. So, these were costly offerings, extravagant even, so that God might be glorified. I wonder what the equivalent to a burnt offering might be in our society.
Es. 8 – This, in my opinion, is the most beautiful chapter in the book of Esther. Haman’s treachery had been exposed in Esther 7, but his plan hadn’t been stemmed yet. So, in Ester 8, Esther takes another risk. Going before her king, she cries, falls at his feet, and pleads for the Jewish people. The king, who has by now exalted Mordecai agrees to Esther’s request. He declares the Jews should be protected. When the edict comes down to 127 provinces, great rejoicing breaks out. I love how this chapter ends. Esther’s faithfulness and the prayers of the people had resulted in answered prayers. Look what Esther 8:16-17 says, 16 The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. 17 And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them.
1 Corinthians 13
1 Cor. 13 – How many weddings have you been to where this passage is read? At almost every wedding that I officiate, this is read. It’s a beautiful description of God’s love. It’s a love that cannot be shown apart from the work of His Spirit in us.
One of the things that strikes me most about 1 Corinthians 13 is that it was written to a church; a church that was struggling to love one another. And, Paul shows them the most excellent way. I love how he ends this chapter. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.