“In My Statues”
Torah: Leviticuas 26:3–27:34
PROPHETS: Jeremiah 16:19–17:14
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Matthew 22:1–14
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1, 2, & 3
Productivity of Land
Protection from Enemies
Relationship with God
When God covenanted with Israel, He made permanent promises. God’s reputation—His Name—is directly connected to His ability to keep those promises. In these sections, the relationship between Covenanter and covenantee is totally secure. Israel’s experience of the benefits of good relationship (“blessings”) or the trials of bad relationship (“cursings”), however, is dependent upon covenant faithfulness (i.e. faith-based obedience).
Notice the intensification: blessings of productivity (vv. 4–5) and protection (vv. 6–9) culminate in the ultimate blessing of intimate covenant relationship (v. 12).
Notice also the intensification: disciplinary trials (vv. 16–17) undermine productivity (vv. 18–20), attack population (vv. 21–22), remove protection (vv. 23–26) and culminate in exile (vv. 27–39).
This “distancing” between Israel and God creates great suffering but does not sever the relationship permanently, nor does it nullify God’s promises (vv. 40–45; cf. Jeremiah 31:35–37; 32:37–42; 33:20–26).
What does the security of Israel’s relationship with God teach you about God? How does that impact your understanding of your own relationship with God under the new covenant through faith in Messiah?
Giving To God (people, animals, houses)
Chapter 27 is often considered an “appendix” to the book of Leviticus dealing with instructions for “redeeming.” In this context, “redeeming” refers to buying back something that had been given over to God and His service.
This section deals with redeeming people (27:2–8, the amount of money reflects economic productivity and NOT intrinsic human value) and animals (vv. 9–13) that have been given to God by making a “vow” (a promise to be fulfilled on condition of God doing something, cf. Genesis 28:20–22 and 1 Samuel 1:11). It also deals with redeeming houses (vv. 14–15) that have been unconditionally given over to God and His service by “dedicating” (NIV) or “consecrating” (NASB) them. The money given over to “buy back” these items went to support the priesthood and Tabernacle system of worship.
Read Mark 7:6–13, where Yeshua quotes Isaiah. He speaks of violating the spirit of “giving to God” for the sake of “using for self.” What are some specific ways that you “give to God” by supporting Kingdom building and thus fulfill aspects of your priestly calling?
torah 5 & 6
Giving To God (inherited land)
Giving To God
(purchased land, firstborn animals, devoted things)
Ancestrally inherited land (vv. 16–21) as well as commercially purchased land (vv. 22–24, until Jubilee) can also be given over to God and His service. Firstborn animals (vv. 26–27), however, are off limits! They cannot be “given” to God. Why not (v. 26; cf. Exodus 13:2, 12 and Numbers 8:15–18)? Neither can devoted things (v. 28, “set apart,” NASB) be “bought back” for personal use or “sold” for financial gain, because their status is “most holy.”
What do these sections teach you about genuine ownership (firstborns, Jubilee, etc.)?
Reflect on your relationship to your personal property (home, car, stereo, books, jewelry, etc.) in terms of genuine ownership. What difference does it make that God owns everything? How can this free you from being enslaved to the love of money and the pursuit of material gain?
torah 7 &
Giving To God (tithes)
Belonging To God
People can also be “devoted” (NIV) or “set apart” (NASB) for destruction by their own faithlessness and rebellion (27:29, cf. Numbers 15:30).
Faithfulness (faith-based obedience) to God’s “statutes” (i.e. walking b’Chukotai, “in my statutes” [NASB] or “follow[ing] my decrees” [NIV]) requires giving back to God a portion of what He has given you. Thus, God calls for a tithe of everything that comes from the fruit of land produce (v. 30, cf. Deuteronomy 12:17 and 2 Chronicles 31:5, which include grain crops, tree fruit, grapes fermented into wine, olives pressed into oil, and even honey) and the fruit of animal offspring (v. 32, cf. 2 Chronicles 31:6, which includes, sheep, oxen, etc.).
Tithes fulfilled three functions:
1) They were part of the many offerings set apart to support the Levites (Numbers 18:21–24; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:6–18).
2) They were a portion of the tithe was consumed by the giver/worshiper during a feast, rejoicing in God’s Presence and being a “cheerful giver” (Deuteronomy 12:6, 11, 17; 14:22–27; cf. 2 Corinthians 9:6–7).
3) They supplied for the needs of the impoverished and socially vulnerable (Deuteronomy14:28–29; 26:12–15; cf. 1 Corinthians 16:1–3).
How is tithing important today? What function does it serve? What spiritual lessons does it teach? How are you doing in this area? Read through each of the above three tithing functions and look up the New Covenant Scripture references which shed light on how each applies to us today. Talk with God about these things and take a step out in faith to follow His leading in your life!
Jeremiah is preaching to Israel and calling them back to covenant faithfulness. Notice the contrast between trusting in man and trusting in God (17:5 and 7). Notice also how we are naturally deceived by our own hearts (v. 9) unless God erases what has been written there (v. 1) with His own words (Proverbs 3:3; 7:3).
How does God write on a human heart (2 Corinthians 3:3) and what does He write there (Jeremiah 31:33)? How would obeying Psalm 119:11 have helped faithless Israel? How can it help you?
Yeshua gives three parables in a row about entering God’s Kingdom. Those who are faithful (Jew and Gentile) by human freewill, yet chosen by God’s grace, are allowed access to God and are able to feast and rejoice in His Presence! Are you feasting and rejoicing? You can right now!
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.