We are the ones who are “old-fashioned”!

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: Leviticus 6:1-7:27; Psalms 45:1-17

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Leviticus 6:1-5 “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,  “If anyone sins and commits a breach of faith against the LORD by deceiving his neighbor in a matter of deposit or security, or through robbery, or if he has oppressed his neighbor  or has found something lost and lied about it, swearing falsely- in any of all the things that people do and sin thereby-  if he has sinned and has realized his guilt and will restore what he took by robbery or what he got by oppression or the deposit that was committed to him or the lost thing that he found or anything about which he has sworn falsely, he shall restore it in full and shall add a fifth to it, and give it to him to whom it belongs on the day he realizes his guilt.”

REFLECT
In the time of Moses, when one person sinned against another; it was considered a “breach of faith” against the Lord. The person who sinned must not only bring a guilt offering to the Lord, but must make full restoration to what was owed or robbed of. Such was the seriousness of how the Lord took to the commandment of loving our neighbours. In fact, many of the laws in Leviticus laid on the principle that if one says he loves the Lord; such “love” must be demonstrated through his actions – through loving of the neighbour. In other words, a person simply cannot say that he loves the Lord without being a loving and active participant within the family of faith. Such an important principle was also emphasized by Jesus throughout the Gospels.

RELATE
Some believers wondered if the laws in Leviticus are “old-fashioned” or “irrelevant”. I thought today’s reading suggest otherwise; that the modern day church might be one who is “old-fashioned” instead! I mean, how have we the modern church taken to the principle of making “full restoration” to our neighbour if we had hurt or oppressed them? Quite often, the church dare not even dwell in disciplinary or even conflict management issues. We frequently wave these issues away in the name of “peace” or even “grace”.

The truth is that we simply do not take seriously the importance of “restoration” and we have the tendency of sweeping things under the carpet. We pleaded for believers to quickly “forgive” one another; but we did not address the depth of the issue. We wanted to get things “over and done with” but we failed to care for the real needs of the ones who were hurt badly. We fear hard consequences; we always try to be the “nice guy” but that is simply prolonging the issue.

The book of Leviticus has much to teach the modern churches. While many of the laws do not apply to us anymore; there are many underlying godly principles that can serve us in very big ways. May we find courage to reflect on these principles and do what is good and right in God’s sight.

REST
Lord our God, we confess that we are an arrogant people.  We gloss over books of the Bible that seemed to be irrelevant but the truth is that we have no patience for them. Yet, we know that you have not given to us such books of the Bible just for the sake of historical data; but to also minister to our needs even up till today. Amen.

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Day 295

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Corinthians 9:1-11
I don’t need to write anything further to you about helping the Christians in Jerusalem. I know how willing you are to help, and I brag about you to the believers in the province of Macedonia. I tell them, “The people of Greece have been ready to send their collection since last year,” and your enthusiasm has moved most of them to act. I’ve sent my coworkers so that when we brag that you’re ready, we can back it up. Otherwise, if any Macedonians come with me, they might find out that you’re not ready after all. This would embarrass us for feeling so confident as much as it would embarrass you. So I thought that I should encourage our coworkers to visit you before I do and make arrangements for this gift that you had already promised to give. Then it will be the blessing it was intended to be, and it won’t be something you’re forced to do. Remember this: The farmer who plants a few seeds will have a very small harvest. But the farmer who plants because he has received God’s blessings will receive a harvest of God’s blessings in return. Each of you should give whatever you have decided. You shouldn’t be sorry that you gave or feel forced to give, since God loves a cheerful giver. Besides, God will give you his constantly overflowing kindness. Then, when you always have everything you need, you can do more and more good things. Scripture says, “The righteous person gives freely to the poor. His righteousness continues forever.” God gives seed to the farmer and food to those who need to eat. God will also give you seed and multiply it. In your lives he will increase the things you do that have his approval. God will make you rich enough so that you can always be generous. Your generosity will produce thanksgiving to God because of us.

I love this text. Paul writes to the Grecian church and reminds them to deliver on what they promised to help the church in Jerusalem.

Seems they had some second thoughts and were wavering in their resolve and so he sends his coworkers first to them- to make sure they do what they promised.

Then Paul writes about the way in which Christians ought to give. He basically urges them to give because God multiplies godly gifts!

I like what Paul wrote – “God will make you rich enough SO THAT you can always be generous. Your generosity will produce thanksgiving to God because of us. ”

God enables us to grow in wealth so that we can continue to give. When we give, we minister to others who in turn become grateful to God for so moving His church, to give!

Are you a godly giver?
Do you perceive that your wealth is given, SO THAT you can be generous?