Monday’s Readings: Leviticus 16, 1 Chronicles 4, Jeremiah 40, Acts 11
Tuesday’s Readings: Leviticus 17, 1 Chronicles 5, Jeremiah 41, Acts 12
Wednesday’s Readings: Leviticus 18, 1 Chronicles 6, Jeremiah 42, Acts 13
Thursday’s Readings: Leviticus 19, 1 Chronicles 7, Jeremiah 43, Acts 14
Friday’s Readings: Leviticus 20, 1 Chronicles 8, Jeremiah 44, Acts 15
In honor of a friend’s request I’m going to try something different. I am going to give you over arching insights and questions across the week’s reading. As always, I would love your feedback.
Acts 11-15: The Affects of Following Jesus
This week in Acts, we focus on the out-working of Peter’s vision to eat what is against Hebrew tradition. People directly connected to Peter and Peter, himself, experience extreme suffering because they broke one little rule. At face value, it isn’t worth it. Just eat what the rule says. But they are not bucking authority for the sake of breaking down authority. This work is a symbol of the inclusion of the Gentiles. Clean behavior does not equal salvation. Jesus equals salvation. He can save anyone. Even someone who eats a bird. The week crescendos with James and Peter fighting for the Gentiles to be included in the church with great success. Praise God for their work which directly impacts our inclusion in the church. Remember, we are Gentiles too. So, as you read is week, remember every stone and imprisonment directly affects your ability to be in the community of the church. Also, consider who you are called to advocate for as Peter, James, and others advocated for. Who are the people today that are too sinful or untouchable by the community of the church because of their self righteousness? What can you do in your position to promote inclusion of the modern day Gentiles? Think about the non Christians in your life. How can you love them this week?
Leviticus 16-20: The Measuring Stick
Moses goes through some high standards this week in Leviticus. At the end of chapter 20, he summarizes the 5 chapters quite clearly and says. You must be holy. Why? Because God is holy. Oddly enough these very rules are what incited the Jewish Christians in Acts to deep self righteousness. What rules to you see in Leviticus that are the very rules that are being confronted by the apostles? The rules are not bad. This would be a beautiful life. The real problem is our inability to achieve the life described by God through Moses. The other problem is that all these rules are rooted in an over arching rule: love your neighbor. As your read this week, how do you see yourself convicted by your sin? As you read this week, how do you see yourself focusing too much on rules and therefore disqualifying people from deserving your love? Praise God that He saves us from both of those sins.
1 Chronicles 4-8: Our Family Tree
In 1 Chronicles 4 and through the rest of the week, the reading focuses on long lists of names. The reading in this section at face value is quite boring. No real story or insights exist at first read. But, imagine if the reading was the geneology of your family and how you were connected to the great history of God’s kingdom. Now you are paying attention. Where do I fit in? Who am I connected to? This is what it was like to read this when it was first written. So, as you read this week consider how your life fits into God’s kingdom. Consider your family and who you are proud of and who you are ashamed to be connected to. What is God doing in both of those relationships?
Last week we finally saw Jerusalem fall at the hands of Babylon. This week Jeremiah tries to lead a defeated people back to the Lord and away from the temptation to become like their captors or like the people where they will go and exile. So as a result, two things happen. First, the people fight against Babylon and die. Second, the people worship the idols of Egypt where they are in exile. We are just like The Hebrews. So as you read this week, consider how you don’t honor authority, regardless of their deserving it. Also consider how you are bent towards the habits and rituals of the world and how that cause you not to worship God.