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March 9: Leviticus 16 | Psalm 119:1-40 | 2 Corinthians 12-13

Reading 1 - Lev 16

Outline of events on the Day of Atonement:

The day would seem to begin as usual with the offering of the morning sacrifice, the burnt offering of a one-year-old lamb (Exo 29:38-42; Num 28:3-6). After these duties were performed, the High Priest would commence the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement, as prescribed in Lev 16:

  • Aaron was to take off his normal priestly garments, wash, and then put on the special garments which were prescribed for the sacrifices which took him into the holy of holies (v 4; cf Exo 28; 39).

  • Aaron secured the necessary sacrificial animals: a bull for his own sin offering and two male goats for the people's sin offering; two rams, one for Aaron's and the other for the people's burnt offering (vv 3,5).

  • Aaron slaughtered the bull for his own sin offering (vv 6,11).

  • Before entering into the Holy of Holies with the blood of the bull, Aaron had to create a "cloud" of incense in the Holy of Holies, covering the mercy seat, to "veil" the glory of God so that he could enter in (vv 12,13). In the case of Aaron, he was to offer only the prescribed incense so as to create an obscuring veil of smoke, thus dimming the glory of God's presence and sparing his life.

  • Aaron then took some of the blood of the bull and sprinkled it on the mercy seat seven times (v 14).

  • Lots were then cast for the two goats, to determine which would be slaughtered and which would be driven away (vv 7,8).

  • The goat for slaughter, the goat of the people's sin offering, was sacrificed, and its blood was taken into the Holy of Holies and applied to the mercy seat, as the bull's blood had been (v 15).

  • Cleansing was then made for the holy place (v 16), seemingly by the sprinkling of the blood of both the bull and the goat. The atonement of the holy place is done alone, without anyone present to help, or to watch (v 17).

  • Next, outside the tent, Aaron was to make atonement for the altar of burnt offering, using, it would seem, the blood of both the bull and the goat (vv 18,19).

  • Now the second goat, the one which was kept alive, had the sins of the nation symbolically laid on its head, and was driven from the camp to a desolate place, from which it must never return (vv 20-22).

  • Aaron then came out of the tent of meeting, removed his linen garments, washed, and put on his normal priestly garments (vv 23,24).

  • The burnt offerings of rams, one for Aaron and his family and the other for the people, was now offered (v 24)

  • The earlier sacrifices of the bull and the goat were completed. The fat of the sin offering was burned on the altar (v 25), and the remains of the bull and the goat were taken outside the camp, where they were burned (v 27).

  • Those who had been rendered unclean by handling the animals on which the sins of Aaron or the people were laid were to wash themselves and then return to camp (vv 26,28).

Reading 2 - Psa 119

Christ in Psalm 119:

How did Jesus spend the "hidden years" from age 12 to age 30? Of course, there was his labor (very probably as a carpenter, along with Joseph), and many ordinary tasks as required. But, as regards the special work for which he must have prepared himself, it may be taken as fairly certain that Jesus, born King of the Jews, did one very special thing: he wrote out his own copy of the Law and also of the rest of the Old Testament Scriptures (see Deu 17:18-20).

Considering this monumental Psalm 119, think with what zest he would have written out these 176 commentaries on the Word of God and their expression of his own delight in the ways of his God! It makes a wonderful exercise to read the psalm slowly, in short sections, all the while trying to see the words through the eyes of young Jesus in Nazareth.

As we summarize Psalm 119, it becomes evident Jesus and his life are to be found throughout:

  • Jesus was sorely tried, but in his trials he recognized his Father's loving discipline for his good (vv 50,67,71,75,107,153).

  • He had to suffer contempt (vv 22,39,42) and even ill-treatment (vv 121,134) because of his adherence to the law.

  • He was despised and persecuted by the authorities (vv 23,161); he was mocked, lied against, and opposed by men of position and power, whom he designates as "the proud" or "the wicked" (vv 51,61,68,78,84,85,86, 95,122,150,157).

  • He was in danger of his life (vv 87,109).

  • His persecutors were for the most part not heathen, but faithless Israelites, since he describes them as forsaking God's law (v 53), wandering from His commandments (v 21), and forgetting His words (v 139). They were selfish, self-satisfied men of the world, incapable of appreciating true faithfulness (v 70). Their indifference to the law aroused his burning indignation (v 53), as well as his profound sorrow (v 136).

  • He was confronted by laxity and apostasy (vv 113,126,158), and by evil example calculated to draw him from his faith into the way of evil (vv 29,37,115).

  • But, understanding his Father's estimation of such men and such a course (vv 118,119) and their ultimate destiny (v 155), he resisted the temptation.

  • Surrounded by difficulties of many kinds, he sought refuge in prayer, seeking for a fuller understanding of the divine purpose, for strength to keep the law, and for relief from the distressing circumstances that threatened to destroy him.

Reading 3 - 2Corinthians 12:10

"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2Co 12:10).

"It is in our very weaknesses that the strength of God is perfected. If we are so foolish as to admit of no weaknesses of our own, may we not be, in that very attitude, denying God the opportunity to work in us and through us? This must be a possibility to consider. Paul's thoughts on the matter indicate that, at the very least, it may be suggested as a possibility and with all reverence, that Divine strength needs human weakness as its vehicle or medium of operation" (CE Hinde, The Christadelphian 114:405).


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