Psalm 101, Leviticus 8, Isaiah 6, 2 Corinthians 2:12‐3:18
Ps. 101:2-4 – I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; 3 I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. 4 A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil. – King David was the writer of this Psalm. It is one of only two psalms in Book 4 of the Psalms that is attributed to David. And, there is much that we can learn about God’s desires for His people here. David, as King, was to set an example for the people to follow. He writes of his desire to live a life of integrity. You can see the passion for holiness with which David sought to live. Did he always achieve that? No! He had some spectacular failures. But, in his failure, David recognized the error of his way and truly repented to his God. If the Children of Israel had learned anything over the course of their history you would think that it would be that they should not turn their backs upon God. As the men and women sang along with David’s psalm, they too were saying that they desired to live blameless lives. They were promising to live with integrity of heart before the Lord. They were affirming that they would guard their eyes, the portal to our brains and all sorts of sin.
I love how David ends verse four. He says, “I will know nothing of evil.” A few months ago I sat in on a service at Wooddale Church, where Leith Anderson, the Senior Pastor of Wooddale was preaching on Romans 16. When he came to Romans 16:19, which says, “For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil,” Leith said something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It’s okay to be naive about the things of this world. We don’t need to know about every celebrity’s affairs or to be in the know about every movie. It’s okay to naive. Why? Because innocence of evil is something worth striving for!
Lev. 8 – It was several years ago that I went through my ordination process with the Evangelical Free Church of America. It was quite a process that took almost four years from beginning to end. At the end of the process a service of ordination was held. Leviticus 8 records the first ordination service; the ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests unto God for the Children of Israel. It’s an interesting chapter, as Moses does just what God had commanded him to do in earlier chapters. I would have loved to have been there to witness this event in person. There was a great deal of care that went into each detail. The color would have been magnificent. I’m blown away at just how special Aaron’s call was, and the regal clothing that was prepared for he and his sons. I can’t help but think that maybe we’ve become too casual in the way we approach God after reading this chapter.
Is. 6 – Isaiah’s vision of the Lord in his sixth chapter is one of the most vivid pictures that we have of the throne room of heaven in all of the Bible. It is both a beautiful and a terrifying place. Beautiful because it is where God and His angels dwell. Terrifying because it is where God and His angels dwell. For a human being to come before the throne of God would cause us to see our utter depravity. As Isaiah experiences his vision he sees angels whose sole function is to worship God. He sees the Lord, seated on His throne. He’s blown away by the sheer size of the train of the robe that God wears. And, he sees his own depravity. “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” is the reply of Isaiah. And then God takes his guilt away.
It’s then that Isaiah is presented with an assignment from God. He accepts and then finds out just how terrible the judgement will be for his people. God will harden the hearts of the people to Isaiah’s message and only a few will respond. Less than ten percent will be spared. But, God has a remnant that will be faithful to Him. I wonder if I would have accepted such a tough assignment. Sometimes I wonder if that’s what all of our assignments look like as we minister in this culture. So many are turning away from God. I wonder if those of us who are trying to remain faithful to the true God of Scripture are going to face Isaiah like challenges in the days and years ahead.
2 Corinthians 2:12‐3:18
2 Cor. 3:4-6 – 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. – Where does your sufficiency lie? If it is in anything or anyone but Christ, it lies in the wrong place. The power that came through the Apostle Paul came because of Christ, and Christ alone. May it be for His glory and through His power that we live our lives. Paul was unlike the religious leaders of previous generations because his power came not through ritual but relationship.
2 Cor. 3:16-18 – 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – Paul had experienced the power of the Spirit of God working through him. He was a minister of the New Covenant. No longer bound to ritual, Paul experienced freedom in his preaching. He became all things to all men so that in all ways he could reach people for the Gospel. He relished that he did not have to be timid in his relationship with God as he felt Moses had been. He was a willing spokesperson for the Lord.