The Value of Rest – Exodus 35-37

Read Exodus 35-37

Exodus tells us of three defining moments for the nation of Israel: 1) God miraculously delivers His people; 2) God’s presence is with Israel and no other nation enjoys this distinction; 3) God gives the nation His own Law and establishes a covenant with Israel alone.

Inside God’s Law for His people, He makes to sure He tells them to rest. While the instructions for the Sabbath had been delivered earlier (Exodus 20:8-11), God repeats these valuable words.

The word Sabbath literally means, “stopping.” Instead of calling it a “Sabbath” day, you could call it a “stop-working” day. We remember to take one day off in seven in order to to keep the day holy. The word “holy” has to do with belonging to God. You can make your cell phone holy if you use your phone for the special purpose of God. You can make this day holy by setting it aside for God alone. God gives us this day as a blessing rather than a burden. It is a day for showing mercy and a day for doing good. It should not be governed rigidly by narrow definitions of what is work and what is not. But neither is it a day to focus on sports and gardening. Instead, it is a day to focus on the Lord.

Here are two practical suggestions for you:

1) Set Aside Time for God’s Word. Take approximately thirty minutes and have a plan on reading the Bible. You should include time to memorize some Bible passages. Aim for word for word memory. A good place to start is the Roman Road (go ahead and Google it).

2) Set Aside Time to Show Mercy to Others. This is a great time to remember the poor. This was exactly Jesus’ point in Matthew: “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:11-12). Too often churches operate as a restaurant – hungry people wait to be fed by a select group of waiters. Instead, our church should operate as an anthill – every member has a task of mercy to do.

5 Reasons Why Should You Read Leviticus

Leviticus maybe your least favorite biblical book for many find Leviticus hard to read. It is the “Bermuda Triangle” of the Bible for oftentimes, people who start reading Leviticus are rarely heard from again. Christians have found this book to be difficult to read and prefer to skip from the Ten Commandments to the exciting stories of conquest in Joshua. Even though this book is the shortest of all of “Moses’ books,” it contains only a short amount of narrative and is almost entirely God’s laws for Israel. The world of Leviticus is a mystery to us. Just a few pages into the book and we are encountering strange things like ritual purity and a holiness code. For most, Leviticus is drudgery to read because it is a totally different world.

With so many things going against reading Leviticus, I believe you should you still take the time to study it. While this book seems disconnected to our world, here are five reasons why you should read and study Leviticus:

1) Leviticus is in the Bible. Remember, God does not waste words. He is not a “talking head” on a cable news network where you mute or ignore Him. When God speaks, every word should be heard and weighed carefully (2 Timothy 3:16). Much of Leviticus is directly quoting God.

You may be surprised to hear popular author David Platt’s words: “I believe it is more important for you and me to read Leviticus than it is for us to read the best Christian book ever published, because Leviticus has a quality and produces an effect that no book in the Christian marketplace can compete with.”

We should remember the words of Jesus: “…everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). Yes, Moses wrote Leviticus and this book is still valuable for your spiritual growth.

2) How you worship God stills matters today. While Exodus tells the Hebrew people where to worship God – in the tabernacle, Leviticus tells them how to worship God – by offering sacrifices. Read Leviticus to deepen your practice of worship.

3) God’s presence is deadly. Yes, God is holy and you cannot approach Him outside of God’s grace. Left to our corruption, we would not last a nanosecond in the presence of a holy God. His holiness is dangerous to our sinfulness and we need God to tell us how to come near Him.

4) Leviticus is quoted twelve times in the New Testament making it the sixth most quoted book in the New Testament. The New Testament also frequently alludes to Leviticus. Plus, the New Testament writers assume you have a knowledge of purification after childbirth, offering after the cleansing of a leper, journeys to the festivals in Jerusalem, and separation from the Gentiles when eating. All these practices find their origin in the book of Leviticus.

While we often pick and choose only the parts of the Bible we enjoy, we must remember how interconnected the Bible really is. Keep in mind, many of the categories of the New Testament are first introduced in Leviticus. Think of these as lanes on a highway for you to travel over. You wouldn’t know the meaning of atonement, purification, or consecration if it were not for the highway lanes laid in Leviticus.

For example, when you quote Jesus by saying, “Treat others the way you’d want to be treated,” you are quoting Leviticus 19:18 and Leviticus 19:34. So, if the New Testament matters to you, then you should also value Leviticus.

5) Leviticus tells us part of God’s big plan for the world. Again, this book is important because it is part of God’s plan to save sinners. While we love to think of Jesus’ death on our behalf and its impact on our lives, the precursor to His death and resurrection is found in Leviticus. We should long to study and know God’s plan – even the angels wonder in amazement at God’s strategy for the world (1 Peter 1:12).

Rules, Rules, and More Rules – Exodus 22-24

Read Exodus 22-24

The narrative slows down and you sense the mood of Exodus has changed. No longer are you reading stories of conflict and miracles that supernaturally change the course of history. Instead, the second half of Exodus reads more like proceedings of our Continental Congress. To be sure, the actual work of governing isn’t nearly as enticing as the battlefield accounts of George Washington. Yet, the Hebrew people needed desperately to hear God’s instructions for living.

You’re going to find that it is harder to read the laws and commands than the earlier stories of Exodus. And truthfully, many people simply quit reading when the Bible becomes harder to read. Yet, consider this: as you read through the various laws, think of God’s decrees as His guardrails. As a guardrail protects your vehicle from careening off a cliff, His commands protect you from harming yourself or others.

Take a moment and think of your family, the people you go to school with, or the people you work alongside. Many of the people in your world reject God’s rules. They would rather picture God as a benevolent grandfather whose primary job is to be nice. But the Bible presents a far different picture of God. Here is One who battles injustice and who issues rules against poverty, racism, violence, and the evil so characteristic of our lives. In fact, each of the rules given in Exodus reminds us of this simple truth: God has the right to expect allegiance from us.