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February 4, 2024 - Leviticus 22-25

More instructions regarding offerings and their holiness, festivals, the Sabbath, Passover, and items in the tabernacle.  About the Sabbath, the Lord instructed, “You shall not do any work.  It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.  It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves. On the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath” 23:31-32).  The day was set aside for Israel, not as an oppressive law but for their good, a day of solemn rest.  The Pharisees had made the Sabbath out to be a day of dreary misery in which not even illness could be cured or livestock rescued.  Jesus reminded them about David who, “when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him:  how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” (2:25-26)  Jesus’ conclusion?  “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (2:27).  I suppose much more could be said about all this but, certainly, there is this.  Our God desires the best for us, and he is gracious and merciful to look out for and provide what we need, even a day of rest.

 

This is the day of rest:

our failing strength renew;

on weary brain and troubled breast

shed thou thy freshening dew.

 

This is the day of peace:

thy peace our spirits fill;

bid thou the blasts of discord cease,

the waves of strife be still.

 

This is the day of prayer:

let earth to heaven draw near;

lift up our hearts to seek thee there,

come down to meet us here.   -- John Ellerton (1867)

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