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Sh’mini שְּׁמִינִי

“Eighth”

Torah: Leviticus 9:1–11:47
PROPHETS: 2 Samuel 6:1–7:17
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Hebrews 7:1–19

These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.


SUNDAY

Torah 1 & 2

Torah 1: 
Beginning Priestly Ministry 
Leviticus 9:1–16


Torah 2:
Bringing God and People Together 

Leviticus 9:17–23

After the required seven days of remaining at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting the kohanim (priests) are ready to serve God and His people. In order to begin his priestly service, Aaron must first make atonement on behalf of himself (9:2, 8–14) and then he is in a right condition to make atonement on behalf of the nation (9:3–4, 15–21). What is the purpose given at the end of both vv. 4 and 6 for these atoning sacrifices? Compare the inaccessibility into the Tent of Meeting in Exodus 40:35 with the access of Leviticus 9:23. What exactly is it that creates this “access” into God’s holy presence? (cf. Leviticus 9:7 and 22 with Hebrews 9:12)  What is the intended outcome of such “accessibility”? (cf. Leviticus 9:23 with Hebrews 10:19–24).


Application

How can you grow closer to God and make the most of your access to Him through trusting in and clinging to His Son?


MONDAY

Torah 3 & 4

Torah 3: 
Consumed By Fire 

Leviticus 9:24–10:11

Compare 9:24 and 10:1–2. In both cases “fire came out from the Presence of the Lord and consumed...[the offering/the priests].” Obedience to God’s instructions results in relationship characterized by joy and worship. Disobedience always has negative results. The tragedy of Aaron’s two sons teaches us at least two things:  1) God’s holiness must be upheld in the way He is approached (10:3; cf. Numbers 20:12); and, 2) kohanim must uphold this and teach others to do the same (10:10; cf. Ezekiel 22:26; 44:23).  As a new covenant kohen (priest), how can you honor God and make priestly distinctions today (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; Galatians 5:16–23; Philippians  4:8–9)?
 

Torah 4:
Eat The Mincha

Leviticus 10:12–15

Moses instructs Aaron and his sons to eat their share of the mincha (grain offering), which had not yet been eaten (cf. 6:16). A broader principle is that priestly distinctions must regulate not only who can eat the offerings and exactly what portions of the offerings can be eaten, but also where these parts may be eaten.

Starting with a higher degree of holiness in descending order: clean priests can eat most holy offerings in a holy place (vv. 12–13; cf. Numbers 18:8–10) whereas for the families of the priests: clean family members can eat holy offerings in a clean place (v. 14; cf. Numbers 18:11).


application

These priestly distinctions may seem overly burdensome to us but what does Exodus 29:44–45 reveal as the reason for these distinctions? How does this reason apply to you as a new covenant believer (cf. 1 Peter 2:5)? What does Deuteronomy 18:2 reveal as the promised benefit of making priestly distinctions? As a new covenant priest, how does this benefit apply to you (cf. Ephesians 1:14)?


TUESDAY

torah 5 & 6

Torah 5: 
Render Holy Service

Leviticus 10:16–20


Torah 6: 
Avoid Impurity 

Leviticus 11:1–32

Moses and Aaron discuss the distinction between when the flesh of a sin offering is eaten by a priest or burned on the altar.

10:16–20
Which verse of the chamishi (“fifth” section of the Torah portion, 10:16–20) gives the rationale for when it is eaten? (cf. 6:30).

11:2–8
The shishi (“sixth” section) reveals yet more distinctions. God divides up the land animals (11:2–8), water animals (vv. 9–12), and air animals (vv. 13–23) into the kosher (“fit” to eat) and the unkosher (“unfit” to eat).

None of the kosher animals are “scavenger” types, which eat the flesh of other animals. Why would it render an Israelite ritually “impure” (or “unclean”) to eat an animal that had eaten the flesh of another animal? (cf. 3:17 and 17:10–12). Why is ritual purity (or “cleanness”) such a big deal? (cf. 15:31; Exodus 19:10–12). How does Yeshua’s teaching in Mark 7:18–20 uphold the spiritual principle that God cares most about the heart without contradicting Torah?


application

How can you live more cleanly or purely in God’s sight today?


WEDNESDaY

torah 7 &
conclusion

torah 7:
Observe Ritual Purity

Leviticus 11:33–47


Conclusion:
Make Distinctions

Leviticus 11:45–47

Israelites are to remain ritually pure by avoiding death (by not touching carcasses) and honoring life (by not eating blood, the symbol of life). Mikvah (immersion in water) is one solution to ritual impurity – cleansing by washing. Verse 44 contains the repeated call to “be holy—because I [the Lord] am holy.” Ritual purity requires making distinctions so as to remain in a condition that is conducive to co-habitating with a holy God dwelling in the midst of an unholy but set-apart community.


Application

Read Mark 7:18–23 and compare the outer purity required by the physical Presence of God within Israel with the inner purity required by the spiritual Presence of God within the new covenant believer (as well as the new covenant community). How can you live a more holy lifestyle through sacrificial living and radical loving?


THURSDAY

PROPHETS

Prophets:
David, not Saul 

2 Samuel 6:1–7:17

After Saul is killed, God begins to fulfill His promise to David to make him ruler over a united kingdom (2 Samuel 3:9–10). After David captures Jerusalem, he brings up the Ark of the Covenant.  Compare God’s way for transporting the ark in Numbers 4:15 and 7:9 with David’s way in 2 Samuel 6:3. What’s wrong with David’s way? Furthermore, Uzzah’s fate is similar to Nadab and Abihu due to the same failure to obey God’s distinctions for upholding His holiness (6:6–7; cf. Leviticus 10:1–3). Not only does God distinguish Israel’s Ark by His holy Presence (cf. Exodus 25:22 and Leviticus 16:2), He distinguishes David’s offspring by His eternal promise (7:12–16; cf. Psalm89:34–37). God makes distinctions between what is “acceptable” and what is “not” (cf. Genesis 2:16–17). He always intended for us to trust Him enough to follow His ways, not our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Since the fall, we tend to live according to our own understanding, making our own distinctions about what is right and wrong.


Application

Ask God to show you one area where you are not yielding to His ways. Confess it as sin. Then ask for God’s help to “turn” (repent) from your own way and do what upholds His holiness while also bringing you deeper satisfaction and “rest” (cf. Matthew 11:28–30).


FRIDAY

Apostolic Writings

Apostolic Writings:
Melchizedek, not Aaron

Hebrews 7:1–19

The Levitical priesthood was blessed with the honor of “access” to God’s holy Presence.  Furthermore, they were entrusted with stewardship responsibilities of caring for God’s house (Numbers 3:38 and 8:19) and teaching God’s ways (Deuteronomy 33:10). As great as the Levitical priesthood is, however, there is another priesthood that is even greater. This priesthood was foreshadowed in Melchizedek, fulfilled in Messiah, and continues in us who are God’s new covenant priests (1 Peter 2:5). The greatness of this priesthood is established by the fact that its representative, Melchizedek, both received tithes from Abraham (vv. 4–6; cf. Numbers18:21) as well as issued blessings to him (vv. 6–7; cf. Genesis 14:18–20). As new covenant believers, we now have priestly “access” to God as well as stewardship responsibilities for caring for His house (at one level: our own bodies; and at another level: the community of believers) and teaching others His ways.  


application

Spend a few moments praising Him for this great privilege and committing yourself afresh to living out this great calling!


SATURDAY

Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.