April 18, Reading 1 – Leviticus 25

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

This is a long chapter – it has something important to say. Remember the Books of the Law paint the picture of an ideal society. Israel only followed these regulations imperfectly. Land and debtors – both were to obtain rest. Ownership of land was not vested in the Crown as in Australia. It was vested in the clan and it returned to the clan. Clan members could not sell but only lease it out during a Jubilee cycle of 50 years. This gave great political power and freedom to ordinary people – such that we don’t have today here in Australia!

SJA Notes

* Dear God, please help us today as we walk this road.

“And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.”

The Year of Jubilee, every fifty years. The year itself was consecrated. The purpose of it was freedom and redemption, rest and reliance on God.

There was freedom from debt. Redemption from slavery. The land was left alone and had rest for the whole year (the land was the Lord’s).

And important is the day on which the fiftieth year is proclaimed and consecrated.

The Day of Atonement!

All of those things – freedom, redemption, rest – We see these again in Jesus! His work of salvation when He atoned for our sin.

The Year of Jubilee is a big sign God gave His people. That there is something more, go deeper, look at what God is teach us God’s people about debt, about slavery.

And for us today, we have Jesus. The greatest big sign God has given to us His people. Teaching us about debt, slavery, freedom, redemption.

Hallelujah!

* Gracious Lord God,

Thank You for bringing us freedom from our sin. What a jubilee that is for us!

Thank You for embedding this within the framework of how Israel was to function, so that it might remind them at that time, and us in the now, for our need to be free from our sin.

And thank You for Jesus, by whose work our freedom is won.

Amen.

April 18, Reading 2 – Psalm 138, 139

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

God made David bold and stouthearted! His character rubs off on us as we spend time with Him, as we admire Him. This is His Spirit’s work in sanctification. Psalm 139 is another psalm that contains many searching and bright gems of the Faith. Countless millions have prayerfully repeated the last two verses since David wrote them.

SJA Notes

* Dear God, though You the LORD are high, You regard the lowly, but the haughty You know from afar.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

There is big theology wrapped up in these psalms that David brings to us.

God’s intent and power –  That He would individually take care with each life, knitting us together in our mother’s womb.

What a God we have!

“My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

David points us to the sanctity of life. We are known _before_ we are formed.

David points us to a big-word piece of theology – predestination.

This is not an idea to build up man, but to focus us on God.

It is GOD that sees our unformed substance.

It is GOD whose works are wonderful.

It is GOD whose thoughts are precious and vast.

It is GOD who has a book that contains each of our days.

Is this a book that is still being written?

No.

“When as yet there was none of them.”

In His sovereignty God has set each of us our days, formed them for us, even before those days were!

These are big ideas, big thoughts.

We is why we can cry with David,

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”

* Father God,

Thank You for Your book of life, that You have written our names and our days in from before the foundation of the world.

Please show us today what You want for us to know from Your word.

Amen.

April 18, Reading 3 – Mark 11:1-26

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

The Court of the Gentiles was turned into a market, so that there was no place where Gentile believers could come and pray. Jesus shows us what God thinks about such practices.

SJA Notes

* Mighty God, Your Word is mighty. Please write it deep and permanently on our hearts today and onwards.

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

This is a hard word, important and weighty.

What is Jesus saying here?

That God’s forgiveness of our sin is predicated on our own capacity and measured action of forgiveness?

In Matthew 6 our Lord Jesus gives us a pattern for pray (as opposed to empty phrases and false prayer-types), and one of the segments of that prayer is,

“… And forgive us our debts, and we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Jesus tells us that we should be regularly praying to God and in that to be bringing this to God.

Jesus is the once-for-all sacrifice. It is His finished work on the cross that has won us freedom from our sin. We do _nothing_ to earn or deserve or merit salvation.

But is Jesus speaking of salvation here when giving us wisdom on forgiveness?

Jesus is speaking to believers, to those _already_ saved.

As with Israel being given the law _after_ they were brought out of Egypt, so God saves us UNTO good works, a big important one being forgiveness.

We have been forgiven much. Let us respond with a heart of forgiveness to those who wrong us.

* Loving God,

Thank You for saving us from our sin, Your forgiveness to us writ large in Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice at Calvary.

Please help us forgive as we have been forgiven.

Amen.