Today’s Reading: Psalm 95, Leviticus 1,
Psalm 95 – 1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 3 For the Lord is a great God,and a great King above all gods. 4 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. 6 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.
What beautiful words the psalmist writes as he speaks about our God who is so worthy of praise. I love the picture of how God holds both the depths of the earth and the heights of the mountains in His hands, and how that same God calls us the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. There is something beautiful about thinking of God as a shepherd. He cares tenderly for us. We have much to rejoice in.
Leviticus 1 – Leviticus 1 deals with the laws for burnt offerings. Great detail about how Aaron and his sons 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. And, I wonder when the last time I gave God a gift as extravagant as a burnt offering was?
Esther 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, 16The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. 17And 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 – 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. 13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
For more on 1 Corinthians 13, you can go to the Woodbury Community Church sermons page or to the Woodbury Community Church iTunes podcast page and download the series Ultimate Love.