Posts Tagged ‘Celebrate’


Deuteronomy 12 (NLT) When you drive out the nations that live there, you must destroy all the places where they worship their gods—high on the mountains, up on the hills, and under every green tree. Break down their altars and smash their sacred pillars. Burn their Asherah poles and cut down their carved idols. Completely erase the names of their gods! Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods. Rather, you must seek the LORD your God at the place of worship he himself will choose from among all the tribes—the place where his name will be honored… Your pattern of worship will change. Today all of you are doing as you please, because you have not yet arrived at the place of rest, the land the LORD your God is giving you as your special possession… You must celebrate there in the presence of the LORD your God with your sons and daughters and all your servants. And remember to include the Levites who live in your towns, for they will receive no allotment of land among you… You must eat these in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose. Eat them there with your children, your servants, and the Levites who live in your towns, celebrating in the presence of the LORD your God in all you do… When the LORD your God goes ahead of you and destroys the nations and you drive them out and live in their land, do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.’ You must not worship the LORD your God the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods.

I know the question you must ask as did I – Why would a God of love direct His people to cause such destruction to their enemy’s property and idols? Is there no room for secularism in God’s eyes? (more…)


Numbers 31 (NLT) Then the Lord said to Moses, “On behalf of the people of Israel, take revenge on the Midianites for leading them into idolatry. After that, you will die and join your ancestors”… They attacked Midian as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. All five of the Midianite kings—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba—died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. Then the Israelite army captured the Midianite women and children and seized their cattle and flocks and all their wealth as plunder. They burned all the towns and villages where the Midianites had lived… But Moses was furious with all the generals and captains who had returned from the battle. “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded. “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the Lord at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the Lord’s people. So kill all the boys and all the women who have had intercourse with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves… “From the army’s portion, first give the Lord his share of the plunder—one of every 500 of the prisoners and of the cattle, donkeys, sheep, and goats. Give this share of the army’s half to Eleazar the priest as an offering to the Lord. From the half that belongs to the people of Israel, take one of every fifty of the prisoners and of the cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, and other animals. Give this share to the Levites, who are in charge of maintaining the Lord’s Tabernacle.”

Some chapters of the Bible like today’s reading make us as Christians wish they were never recorded because it seems to show God in poor light. What is God speaking to us through this horrendous bloodshed He ordered and was it recorded incorrectly? (more…)


Numbers 28 (NLT) The Lord said to Moses, “Give these instructions to the people of Israel: The offerings you present as special gifts are a pleasing aroma to me; they are my food. See to it that they are brought at the appointed times and offered according to my instructions… This is the special gift you must present to the Lord as your daily burnt offering… On the Sabbath day, sacrifice two one-year-old male lambs with no defects… On the first day of each month, present an extra burnt offering to the Lord of two young bulls, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects… On the fourteenth day of the first month, you must celebrate the Lord’s Passover. On the following day—the fifteenth day of the month—a joyous, seven-day festival will begin, but no bread made with yeast may be eaten… At the Festival of Harvest, when you present the first of your new grain to the Lord, you must call an official day for holy assembly, and you may do no ordinary work on that day… Be sure that all the animals you sacrifice have no defects.”

Today’s chapter discusses sacrifices, a ritual of the past and my mind is boggled by the blood bath that was called for. How is this relevant to us today and are we expected to follow it? (more…)


Numbers 11:1,5-6,11,16,21-23,33 Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. Then the Lord’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp… “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!”… And Moses said to the Lord, “Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people?… Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather before me seventy men who are recognized as elders and leaders of Israel. Bring them to the Tabernacle to stand there with you… But Moses responded to the Lord, “There are 600,000 foot soldiers here with me, and yet you say, ‘I will give them meat for a whole month!’ Even if we butchered all our flocks and herds, would that satisfy them? Even if we caught all the fish in the sea, would that be enough?” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!”… But while they were gorging themselves on the meat—while it was still in their mouths—the anger of the Lord blazed against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.

Reading this chapter left me with mixed emotions because in one context, the response of the Israelites seem terrible and in another context, God’s reaction to their complaining seems far worse.

How are we to understand this chapter and apply it into our lives today? (more…)


Numbers 9:1-3,6-8,10-12,17,23 A year after Israel’s departure from Egypt, the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai. In the first month of that year he said, “Tell the Israelites to celebrate the Passover at the prescribed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. Be sure to follow all my decrees and regulations concerning this celebration”… But some of the men had been ceremonially defiled by touching a dead body, so they could not celebrate the Passover that day. They came to Moses and Aaron that day and said, “We have become ceremonially unclean by touching a dead body. But why should we be prevented from presenting the Lord’s offering at the proper time with the rest of the Israelites?” Moses answered, “Wait here until I have received instructions for you from the Lord”… “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people now or in future generations are ceremonially unclean at Passover time because of touching a dead body, or if they are on a journey and cannot be present at the ceremony, they may still celebrate the Lord’s Passover. They must offer the Passover sacrifice one month later, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the second month. They must eat the Passover lamb at that time with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. They must not leave any of the lamb until the next morning, and they must not break any of its bones. They must follow all the normal regulations concerning the Passover”… Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp… So they camped or traveled at the Lord’s command, and they did whatever the Lord told them through Moses.

What amazes me about this Biblical record is the specificity and clarity with which all that occurred in the lives of God’s people was recorded and is available for us to study and understand.

Obviously what we have documented is what is relevant to us for our spiritual edification but what do ceremonial instructions mean to our lives today? (more…)


Genesis 43:1,2,8,9,23,24,33,34 Now the famine was severe in the land. So it came about when they had finished eating the grain which they had brought from Egypt, that their father said to them, “Go back, buy us a little food”… Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the lad with me and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, we as well as you and our little ones. “I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever… He said, “Be at ease, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. Then the man brought the men into Joseph’s house and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their donkeys fodder… Now they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, and the men looked at one another in astonishment. He took portions to them from his own table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they feasted and drank freely with him.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and that is what has occurred in the house of Israel. The famine continued and the desperation of Israel’s (Jacob) stomach made him reconsider his decision of not sending Benjamin with his brothers to Joseph.

A payment was prepared of twice the amount they would need plus the amount that was returned the earlier time plus a special gift for Joseph for his kindness to them in releasing their brother Simeon.

Feels like the end of their struggles is at hand and is that the Lord’s word to us today? (more…)


Luke 15:25-32
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

If we have lost anything that is of any value to us, we really feel the hurt of losing it and try all that we can to find it. There is no major realization there because everyone of us have lost many things dear to us at different points in our lives and have tried hard to find it and we know the joy of finding it. This is the very same feeling God and the hosts of heaven have every time a sinner returns to Christ. This is the same joy the father of the prodigal son had when he saw his lost son return. However, in the brother of the prodigal son, we have a lesson to learn and that is what the Lord is reminding us of today. I’m sure like me, you feel for him when he retorted to his Dad that he never permitted him to take some their resources (A lamb in those times) and party with his friends but here he was burning up far more than just a small sum to celebrate his lost son’s arrival. Was this not partial?

In another parable in the Bible, Jesus talks about laborers and their wages and he explains that whatever the length of time the laborer spends on the fields, they would get the same pay and this is also unfair in the world’s eyes. The issue here is not that God’s scales are tilted, rather it’s our understanding. To God, it did not matter the depravity of our sinfulness and therefore he measured out a perfect sin offering to atone for our sins. However big or small our sins are, he sacrificed his perfect and only son for us to have an eternity with him. What would Jesus say to this? Why should he suffer for us when he was God’s loved son? Isn’t the whole perspective different in God’s eyes? Jesus said to his disciples when they argued who would sit on his right and left that the first would be last and the last first. In God’s eyes, the paradigm is inverted and we need to realize and accept that. Our joy should be in sharing God’s love and not trying to weigh our benefit. We need to focus our eyes on the Cross and follow Jesus as he leads.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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A Narrow Path