Kirkers Read: Worshipping God Aright

As we get to what is often esteemed as the more tedious books of the Bible (i.e. Leviticus) it is imperative for us to remember who this God who is making these demands regarding how His people worship Him. Remember that Leviticus is a worship manual for God’s people. We confess that, “There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory (WCF Ch.II Sec.1).” This is the God whom we worship.

Now, since God is the Creator of the world, and since He has called us, His people, to worship Him, we should remember to worship Him according to His prescriptions and not according to our whims. Worship is not a flailing emotional catharsis for the worshipper. Rather, as Paul tells us, it is our reasonable service unto the God who has mercifully saved us (Rom. 12:1-2). Again, as the Westminster Confession puts it, “To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience, He is pleased to require of them (WCF Ch.II Sec.2).”

So as you read Leviticus, along with Hebrews, remember that what is presented in shadowy form in the Levitical sacrifices and ceremonies are presented in Hebrews as the glorious midday sun. One Puritan described Leviticus as looking at someone you know and love dearly but with a veil over their face. Because you know Christ, you can discern His form and features through the veil of the Mosaic Law and Ordinances. Remember that the worship God demanded in Leviticus has not changed, but the sacrifice has changed. We still come to God through the mediatorial blood of another, but under the New Covenant, we come through the blood of the Lamb of God. We come through the blood of a sacrifice who rose back to life and ever pleads our cause before the Father. We worship God through Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost.

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Kirkers Read: The Famine Returns

As you make the transition from Genesis to Exodus, there’s an interesting link which ties the two stories together that is sometimes missed in the more “prime time” moments of the Exodus story. We of course can see God raising up Moses to be the deliverer of His people, and how that foreshadows Christ. We know that the 70 who went down to Egypt at the end of Genesis have now become a great multitude.

However, we should remember that at the end of Genesis, Joseph saved Egypt from a seven year famine which would have been quite the undoing of that ancient empire. As we read the plagues which God brings upon Egypt we should see that what Egypt and been spared from under Joseph has now come with more severe judgement. Pharaoh did not remember Joseph, and as a result also thought that all the riches of his kingdom were the result of his ancestors. Kings need to know better. God is the one who raises kings up and brings them down. God is the one who blesses a kingdom and spares it from famine. God is also the one who will bring severe judgement on ingratitude for those blessings.

The people of Egypt ought to have joined the Hebrews in the worship of their God. Instead they insisted on keeping their religion, their ways, presuming that they were untouchable. Instead, Egypt was brought to ruin, routed, and plundered by God’s people. Exodus shows us the mighty power which God will display in order to redeem His chosen people. However, we also learn from it His great wrath upon unbelief, ingratitude, and refusal to bow before the Living God.

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Kirkers Read: Staying out of the Weeds of Heresy

  “Really wish I hadn’t got into the habit of eating food almost everyday,” said no one ever. Daily Bible reading is a habit which no one ever regrets forming. Sure there’ll be days that are crazy, or you’re traveling, or some circumstance prevents you from eating, but sooner or later, all of us circle back around to getting a meal in…in some way shape or form. Spiritually speaking, this needs to be the way you approach Scripture. If circumstances cause you to miss a day…just make sure to get back to it the next day.
    Often we think that we must have some pietistic euphoria glowing about us before we pick up the Good Book to read. It is dangerous to think you have to get in some angelic mood before reading Scripture, rather than coming to it like you come to the dinner table. You come to a meal with the underlying knowledge that you will be fed, nourished, and strengthened. During digestion you don’t go: ”Aha…I just felt those baby carrots improve my eyesight.” The nourishment from the food does its thing, often without our notice. In some sense, Scripture does the same thing through faithful reading and obedience to it. You should read intelligently and attentively. However, trust that the Holy Spirit is working in you to nourish you, convict you, and strengthen you, through the Word, often without your notice. This is all simply to say, don’t look at yourself during Bible reading, look to the Word. It is living and active and will perform what God sent it forth to do.
    On a different note, in this Bible Reading Challenge, we are bouncing between the Old and New Testament each day. This is a vital practice. All too many modern evangelicals spend all their time in the NT, to the neglect of the OT. The problem with this is that, as the Westminster Confession teaches us, “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself.” This means that in order to properly interpret and understand the NT you must have the context of the OT. The NT is replete with OT symbols, quotes, allusions, references, etc. A further lesson here is that when you come to tricky texts it is important to try to understand them in light of what Scripture says elsewhere. This is the best way to stay out of the weeds of heresy!

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Kirkers Read: Shadows in Genesis, Full Glory in Matthew

As you read Genesis, you may notice that after the fall each new character which is introduced seems to be presented to raise our hopes that this one is the seed which God promised Eve. Cain, Seth, Noah, Abram, Ishamael, Isaac, Jacob and so on. The hope is raised that each one may be the deliverer which God promised, but each time, some way or another, they are revealed to be “not the one.”

Cain seems like the obvious answer to God’s promise, but turns out to be quite the opposite. Noah is like a new Adam, but in the end we see that though he was a righteous man, he was only a symbol of the true deliverer God had promised. On it goes, with either our hopes being disappointed by the sin of the man, or by God’s revelation that His promised Messiah would come through the seed of the elected person.

A very simple blessing of reading the OT and NT simultaneously is that as you read the stories of the patriarchs, you are reading the Gospel of He Who was indeed God’s Promised One. Matthew presents Jesus as the long-awaited King, and then shows how those to whom the promise of God’s kingdom had come reject the King He had sent to deliver them.

Finally, a big picture encouragement regarding reading the Scriptures. As the Westminster Confession teaches, the Scriptures make a “full discovery” of the “only way of man’s salvation (Chapter I.5).” This provides abundant evidence that it is in fact God’s Word. However, the only means of full persuasion of the Bible’s authority is a something the Holy Spirit gives. In essence, we don’t run a mental investigation and at the end go, “Well, logically I’ve concluded this is God’s Word.” This puts man in judgement over the Word of God. Rather, after the Holy Spirit miraculously vivifies our heart, we are given assurance that God has proclaimed salvation to us through His Word. The Bible isn’t an academic text, it is tidings of salvation for those who have ears to hear. Ears that have been miraculously opened by God’s Holy Spirit.

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