JUNE 8, 2021

TODAYS BIBLE READING:

2 Kings 4-6

Luke 24

Reading Time: 15-20 Minutes

THIS WEEKS MEMORY VERSE:

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ~John 14:27

TODAY'S WORSHIP SONG:  

Abide with Me

It has been said that the New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, and the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed. Too many like to make a dividing line between the Old and the New. Too many Christians focus only on the New, to their detriment, because the Bible is God's story from beginning to end. God did not reverse course, His story continued in Scripture and continues to unfold in our lifetime. Jesus openly states that He was not nullifying the Old in Matthew 5:17, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill." God never desired religion, whether, in the Old or the New Testament, He desired relationship. The way to enter into that relationship in both Testaments had the same pattern. Jesus' first words in His public ministry, written in Matthew 4:17 were, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Our relationship must come with repentance or our acknowledgment before a Holy God, that we have changed our minds. Notice Jesus' first invitation in Matthew 4:19, "Then he said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."" After repentance, there is the reality that there must be a separation from the world and being separated unto Him. This is called consecration or sanctification. If you question this simply read Matthew 10:34-35, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have set a man against his father...". Our relationship with God is so real that it takes precedence over all other earthly relationships. Jesus explained this fellowship and peace we now get to experience with Him in this relationship in Matthew 12:48-50, Jesus answered saying, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers? And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother." Once in a relationship with Jesus, He sends out the twelve and the seventy (Luke 9 and 10) to share the Gospel message to the world.

When we start reading of the temple sacrifices it is so easy to miss their significance as we allow our eyes to glaze over the page looking for the end of this portion of Scripture. But this is a mistake because if we slow down to notice the order and significance of them, they are no different from that which was prescribed by Jesus. In 2 Chronicles 29:20-24, in bringing revival back to the nation, the first sacrifice was the sin offering, "Then they brought out the male goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and laid their hands on them (v.23)". In order to establish fellowship with God, sin must be recognized and repented of. The next offering was the burnt offering described in 29:25-30. The burnt offerings were given to consecrate one's life to the Lord. Consecration is the separation of oneself from things that are unclean, especially anything that would contaminate one's relationship with a perfect God." Next we read in 29:31-35, "Then Hezekiah answered and said, "Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, come near, and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord...the fat of the peace offerings...". Once repentance and consecration had taken place they were free to eat together with God in fellowship. Once we are in a relationship with God, the next step is to spread the Word. How can we hold back once we experience something so beautiful? We read in 2 Chronicles 30 that Hezekiah sent out messengers, also called runners not only to Judah but to the ten northern tribes of Israel, to experience this relationship with God again in celebrating the Passover. We can't help but do this knowing that many will not respond positively, as we read in 30:10, "So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem." But even one who responds is worth it, as Jesus exemplified in Luke 15:4-7, in the Parable of the Lost Sheep, as He was willing to leave the 99 to reach the 1.

Many are apathetic to embarking on a relationship with God. Others want to take shortcuts, omitting those aspects which they deem unpleasant or difficult. The prescription has never changed. Unless we recognize ourselves as the unworthy sinners that we are, rather than deeming ourselves "pretty good", we render ourselves unable to repent and embark on a relationship with God. We must then relinquish the throne of our lives to God, and walk with Him rather than the world in fellowship. Trying to walk with one foot in the world and one foot with God will never work. This does not mean that we only associate with fellow believers, if not we could never reach the unbelieving world. It simply means that we see ourselves as belonging to a new family, with God as our Father. We then get to experience fellowship and peace with Him. One of the best pictures of walking with Jesus is seen on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. As He walked along the road and opened their eyes, Jesus did not simply recount His earthly ministry, instead, we read in Luke 24:27, "And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Jesus opened up the entirety of Scripture to them. One purpose of the One Year Bible Challenge is for many to read and study God's entire message, not just the New Testament and some select verses and stories from the Old Testament. Lastly, we have entered into this beautiful relationship with God, how can we keep it to ourselves. May we emboldened as King Hezekiah was to, to share this message with the unbelieving world, no matter what their reaction might be.

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