Friday, October 25, 2013

Lesson 8: Deuteronomy 16:18 – 18:22

Weekly I receive an email from the Presidential Prayer Team.  A religious organization dedicated to bring petitions before the LORD on behalf of our nation. Suggested prayers for our nation, our leaders and our troops keep me up to date on current issues. Every week prayers focus on a specific person from each branch of government. I used this source for tonight’s prayers. My favorite section is Our Nation’s Godly Heritage which helps us remember our nation was conceived in prayer.
 Samuel Colgate (1822-1897), Manufacturer, Philanthropist
The only spiritual light in the world comes through Jesus Christ and through the Inspired Book; redemption and forgiveness of sin alone through Christ. Without His presence and the teachings of the Bible, we would be enshrouded in moral darkness and despair.
In the Bright Spot this week: A new Missouri law has recently gone into effect October 11 that allows public schools and buildings in the state to observe Christmas, or any federal holiday, without restrictions.
State Rep. Rick Brattin of Harrisonville is the bill’s sponsor. House Bill 278 text reads, in part, "No state or local governmental entity, public building, public park, public school, or public setting or place shall ban or otherwise restrict the practice, mention, celebration, or discussion of any federal holiday."
PrayerHeavenly Father, we exalt You and ask Your blessings over our nation today. We praise you for all the ways You shower blessings upon us. May Jesus Christ be praised in our hearts and lives. May He be praised in our president’s life and those of his administration. May Christ be praised in our legislatures, courts, and churches. We honor You and pray that You be honored in our nation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Lesson 8: Deuteronomy 16:18 – 18:22
The Character of Israel’s Leaders
·        Judges must deliver justice (16:18-20; 17:2-7).
·        Rulers must serve in faith (17:14-20).
·        Spiritual leaders must convey God’s words (18:1-22).
Jesus fulfilled all these roles--Judge, King of Kings, Priest, and Prophet

1.     Judges must deliver justice.
 In Exodus 18 Moses judged the people from morning to evening. Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law, advised Moses to share the burden; to look “for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe,”

16:18“You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.
Justice was to be made available to all. God expected these men who served in this role to be genuine seekers of truth and of righteousness. Judges were not to “respect persons” which in Hebrew literally means “regard faces.” No preference to family or friends.
Under God’s Law Judges must:
·        not pervert justice
·        not show partiality
·        not accept a bribe
In Israel God's law was national law.
Cases that were too difficult to settle by the judges were brought to the Levites at the Tabernacle. The High Priests used the stones called the Urim  (representing light and excellence) and the Thummim (representing perfection and completion). When not in use, the stones were kept in a pocket behind the breastplate.
Thank you God that believers are judged by Jesus Himself, the one who took all our sin.  

John 5:22,30  22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
Godly leaders are the key to our national strength.  Godliness in action is the courageous pursuit of truth and justice. For our own benefit as well as the good of our nation, we must pray for our judges!

2.     Kings and Rulers must serve in faith

The Lord knew the day would come when Israel would ask for a king like the other nations. Instead of trusting God to protect them, the people wanted to king who would build an army and lead the nation to victory.

Warren Wiersbe explains “Israel's first king Saul was never intended to establish a royal dynasty in Israel. The promised Messiah would come from the royal tribe of Judah. Saul was given to the people to chasten them because they rejected the Lord.” God gave them what they asked and let them suffer from their choice.

Restriction on a King
·        not acquire many horses for himself, Don’t go back to Egypt.
·        not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away
·        nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold

King Solomon in his later years violated all three of these restrictions and it led the nation into sin. 1 Kings 11:3 “He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.”

Deuteronomy 17:18-19…”the King shall write for himself a copy of the law of Moses, it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes,”

If the Kings did indeed take the time to write the laws of Moses and read in every day, he would be submissive to God and His law.

 “As the Lord has promised, prayer will transform our nation by transforming individual lives, one heart at a time.”

Let us come to God boldly and consistently, praying for our government leaders!

King David – A man after God’s own heart administered justice and equity to all his people. However, we have a King greater than David.
John 18:37 “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.” John 19:19 Pilate had the plaque affixed to the cross which read Jesus of Nazareth, Kings of the Jews.

1 Timothy 6:14 Lord Jesus Christ “he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,”

3.     Spiritual leaders must convey God’s words.
·        Levites,
·        Priests,
·        Prophets
The Levites
Day three of our lesson, we read Jacob's third son Levi and his brother Simeon killed all the men and plundered the city of the Hivites, because the prince had defiled their sister. I learned that the judgment on Levi to be set apart from his brothers resulted in the priestly tribe of Levites.
Numbers 39-12 “And you shall give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; 12 “Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the people of Israel instead of every firstborn referring to Egypt …. They shall be mine: I am the Lord.
Levi’s descendants would be scattered in 48 cities throughout Israel, but God in His marvelous grace “set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord to stand before the Lord to minister to him and to bless in his name, to this day.”  Deuteronomy 10:8 
Deuteronomy 18:1-4 Although they received no section of land as the other tribes, they were given the Lord’s food offerings as their inheritance; the firstfruits of grain, wine and oil, and the first fleece of the sheep. Lord is their inheritance, as he promised.
Looking back to Numbers 35:2 The Lord spoke to Moses, “Command the people of Israel to give to the Levites some of the inheritance of their possession as cities for them to dwell in. And you shall give to the Levites pasturelands around the cities.
Numbers 3515 These six cities shall be for refuge for the people of Israel, and for the stranger and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills any person without intent may flee there.
The city of refuge represents Jesus.”Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8”
 "The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble"(Psalm 9:9The sinner's only hope is Jesus Christ. "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe" Proverbs 18:10
Let’s remember to build up and encourage our spiritual leaders, our pastors and teachers praying for them daily.

Our Great High Priest is Jesus the Son of God who sits in heaven at the right hand of The Father. Our Advocate

Hebrews 4   15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need

Prophets and the Prophet
18:15“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—18b And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
Jesus our Prophet
As Prophet, Jesus pronounced an end to all our sin. On the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:19) .. they said to him “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.

 Jesus, as the final and sufficient Prophet, came not just proclaiming the Word of God; He is the Word of God. He proclaimed our need to repent and believe on Him (Mark 1:15). And He proclaimed our pardon and forgiveness for sin (Col. 1:14).

The greatest hope for the leadership of our country is found in the prayers and influence of the church. But if the shepherds of the Christian community fail in their task, what hope do we have? Let us always pray for our spiritual leaders!

James 5:16-18 declares, “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Will you choose to pray faithfully for our leaders?

“Father, thank You for the United States and its government. I pray for the president, the national and local government, the judges, the policemen, the military and all those who are in leadership positions in this country. Please protect them from the evil that is in the world and keep them safe and free from all harm.  Amen”

Lesson 7-Deuteronomy 16:1-18

A Jewish college student in his research for a class on comparative religions became engrossed in a book describing the New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Passover. He had stepped onto an enlightening path of Old Testament prophecy that would lead him to embrace Jesus as the Messiah. Fifteen years later, as he addressed a Jewish-Christian conference on “Jewish Feasts and the Messiah,” he tearfully recounted his journey. “I ask you,” he said to the audience, “do you plan to wait until your Jewish friends just happen to read the right book, as I did? Or can you explain to them the basic meaning of the historical Jewish feasts, so they too may learn to celebrate Jesus, the Lamb of God!?”
Lesson 7 God provided a unique calendar to help Israel to remember who they were and celebrate all the Lord had done for them-“holiness in time, to be attached to sacred events.” Our teaching tonight will focus especially on the three feasts described in Deuteronomy 16. These feasts require the men to travel to the “place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell in it, v. 6 first in the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem. Years after the Temple in Jerusalem is destroyed, Israel can continue to celebrate the feasts according to months in the Hebrew calendar. The Seder meal can now be observed in individual homes. Each local church is the family of God, feasting on Jesus Christ through the Word. Taste and see that the LORD is good. PRAY
Deuteronomy 16:1-17
         Feast of (Pey-sahkn) Passover: Celebrate Jesus, the Lamb of God (16:1-8).
         Feast of Pentecost: Celebrate with generosity (16:9-12).
         Feast of Tabernacles: Celebrate with joy (16:13-17).

Passover: Celebrate Jesus, the Lamb of God (16:1-8). Feast of Unleavened Bread
Deuteronomy 16:1 Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. The Biblical year begins with the first New Moon after the barley in Israel reaches the stage in its ripeness.
The Passover lamb selected for the feast must be a perfect male with no blemish (Ex.12:5). Its blood marked the doorposts of the houses of the Israelites, so the Lord would “pass over” and spare them the dreadful tenth plague which was visited upon the Egyptians on the night God redeemed His people.
50 days later God established a covenant with the people at Mount Horeb. The second Passover was celebrated the first month of the second year after the Exodus. Because of the disobedience at Kadesh Barnea the feast would not be celebrated again until Israel crosses the Jordan into the Promised Land.
The Passover meal, seder (SAY der), commemorates God’s mercy in delivering the Israelites’ from slavery.JUST THE FACTS
·        Who-Jews and non-Jews  
·        What- Pe-sach, known as Passover, perfect sacrificial lamb,
·        When-v.6, in the evening at sunset, at the time you came out of Egypt
·        Where- at the place the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell.
·        Why-Teach your children by retelling the exodus from Egypt.

Celebrate Jesus, the Lamb of God!
Feast of Unleavened Bread v.3 Seven days you shall eat (it with) unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste— Yeast is equated with sin. Just a little bit can leaven a whole loaf; sins multiply until there is no truth.

The wife and children clean the house and remove all products that contain yeast all bread, rolls, etc. Sometimes they will bag it up and take it to a non-Jewish neighbor for the week. The father will come in before the meal with a feather and symbolically look through the cabinets for yeast. Often they may leave a small bit for the father to find and discard.

Many years ago I attended a Seder meal at my church hosted by a Messianic Jew and his family. I was so impressed with the children and their participation in the serving of the meal. The “script” for main part of Passover is the Haggadah (literally, “telling”). It contains questions and answers, stories, song, and food for teaching the young children the story of the exodus. Therefore we Celebrate Jesus, the Lamb of God!
Notice four cups on the table.  The bread, Afikomen (ah-fee-koh-mun) in Greek, is one of three pieces of matza that is broken, hidden, and then found to be eaten for dessert at end the meal. The children search the room for the hidden matza to receive a reward. Since the meal is at sunset and last until around midnight, it is important to keep the young ones active and awake. Jewish children can celebrate every year without knowing Christ came to be Passover lamb. As Christians we need to share the feasts with Jewish people so they may Celebrate Jesus, the Lamb of God!
Jesus grew up knowing Jewish history. At twelve years old we remember his trip to Jerusalem with his parents. He obeyed the laws and the commandments. Jesus celebrated His last Passover meal with His disciples.  Jesus, who knew no sin, is our perfect unblemished sacrifice, crucified to redeem us once for all time.

(John 1:29) “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice as the Passover Lamb and the fulfillment of the new covenant between God and man.  As Christians we celebrate the Lord’s Supper with Afikomen (ah-fee-koh-mun) broken bread Christ’s body and grape juice which represents Christ’s blood, the seder’s Cup of Redemption.
Let us praise God for our Redeemer and
Celebrate Jesus, the Lamb of God!

1 Corinthians 5:8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Pentecost-The Feast of Weeks Celebrate with Generosity (16:9-12).
9“You shall count seven weeks... from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. 10Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you. Everyone in your household and sojourners are invited. 12You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes. Giving was an act of sharing and rejoicing! Unlike all the other feasts in the Tanach, the Feast of Weeks is not given a fixed calendar date but instead Jews are commanded to celebrate it at the end of a 50-day period known as "The Counting of the Omer." Omer was the size of a container to measure offerings about 3.7 quarts.
Ann Spangler in her book, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus says, “if Passover commemorated the exodus from Egypt, then Shavuot (Sha-voo-awt) must commemorate the God’s covenant with Israel on Mount Horeb.”
Shavuot (Sha-voo-awt) is the time to present an offering of new grain of the summer wheat harvest all Jewish males were required to go to Jerusalem to “appear before the Lord” (16:16). The book of Ruth is often read to celebrate joy and thankfulness for the Lord’s blessing of harvest. You will remember as a young Moabite widow, Ruth was allowed to glean around the edges of Boaz’ wheat fields. Incidentally she is in the lineage of Jesus as grandmother of King David.

From the book of Acts we know Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem following his crucifixion and resurrection. They were all together in the upper room for Shavuot (Sha-voo-OTE) on the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover week. The Holy Spirit filled the house, with a sound like a mighty wind and what appeared to be tongues of fire, and filled the disciples. Peter said that the risen and exalted Jesus had poured out the Holy Spirit.  The people responded to Peter’s message with repentance, and about 3,000 were baptized (Acts 2:41.) The original Feast of Pentecost ushered in the harvest season. In Acts the Pentecost ushered in the birth of the church and a harvest of souls. On Pentecost God sent His Spirit to seal a new covenant of the forgiveness of sin, not carved on tablets of stone but on human hearts. Like the Torah, the Spirit reveals God’s truth, instructs us, and convicts us of sin. The Spirit empowers us to live in intimate communion with God by changing our hearts from within. That is something that the law could never do. (Romans 8:5 – 7).

What a wonderful reason to celebrate! Celebrate Jesus, the Lamb of God!  
Will you share your knowledge of the feasts with a Jewish friend? How will you share with generosity from the abundance of God’s blessings on you?
Feast of Tabernacles: Celebrate with joy (16:13-17)
13“You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress. 14You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns. 15For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.
They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.
Feast of Tabernacles: Commemorates the Forty-Year Wilderness Journey
The Feast of Booths-figs, grapes,
Sukkot (Soo-KOTE or SOO-kote), also known as “Feast of Tabernacles,” is a week-long celebration of the fall harvest and a time to build booths (temporary shelters of branches) to remember how the Hebrew people lived under God’s care during their forty years in the wilderness (Neh. 8:14–17).
• The sukkah, or booth, is a temporary structure built of wood or wood and canvas. The roof is made of branches and leaves, with enough open spaces to see the stars. It is decorated with fall flowers, leaves, fruits, and vegetables. Many Jewish people erect booths on their lawns or balconies and eat at least one meal a day in them.

• A lulav, made up of 2 willow, palm, and myrtle branches, march  aound the Torah waved in all four directions (north, south, east, and west) and up and down to symbolize that God’s presence is everywhere.
2 million roamed the in desert and God provided, 3 x larger  of than Charlotte.780,000 and God provided food, clothing, and water for al of them.
 The celebration is a reminder of God’s faithfulness and protection. Jewish people continue to celebrate Sukkot by building and dwelling in temporary booths for eight days. The four special plants used to cover the booths are citron, myrtle, palm, and willow (Lev. 23:39–40).

Two ceremonies were part of the last day of Sukkot: (1) Giant golden lampstands were lit in the temple courtyard, and people carrying torches marched around the temple, then set these lights around the walls of the temple, indicating that Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles (Isa. 49:6). (2) A priest carried water from the pool of Siloam to the temple, symbolizing that when Messiah comes the whole earth will know God “as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).
When Jesus attended the Feast of Tabernacles, on the last day of the feast, he said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37–38). The next morning while the torches were still burning, he said, “I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). Sukkot represents the final harvest when all nations will share in the joy and blessings of God’s kingdom. During that time, all believers will celebrate this feast (Zech. 14:16–19).
Will you choose to celebrate Jesus, the Lamb of God?