How Should Christians Today Celebrate Passover and Pentecost?

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 16:1-12.  Let’s go!

In Deuteronomy 16:1-12, Moses describes to the current generation of Israelites two of the three most important feasts in the Jewish calendar: Passover (also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread) and Pentecost (also known as the Feast of Weeks).  

Deuteronomy 16:1-8 (NIV)
1  Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover of the LORD your God, because in the month of Abib he brought you out of Egypt by night.
2  Sacrifice as the Passover to the LORD your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name.
3  Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste–so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt.
4  Let no yeast be found in your possession in all your land for seven days. Do not let any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until morning.
5  You must not sacrifice the Passover in any town the LORD your God gives you
6  except in the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name. There you must sacrifice the Passover in the evening, when the sun goes down, on the anniversary of your departure from Egypt.
7  Roast it and eat it at the place the LORD your God will choose. Then in the morning return to your tents.
8  For six days eat unleavened bread and on the seventh day hold an assembly to the LORD your God and do no work.
 
On verses 1-8:  Why don’t Christians celebrate Passover today in the way Deuteronomy 16:1-8 talks about?  It’s because we now have something even greater than Passover to remember and observe:  Jesus Christ, His death and His resurrection — also known as Easter.  

You’re Blessed with the Best

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 15:12-23.  Let’s go!

Deuteronomy 15:12-15 (NIV)
12  If a fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself to you and serves you six years, in the seventh year you must let him go free.
13  And when you release him, do not send him away empty-handed.
14  Supply him liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you.
15  Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today.
 
On verses 12-15:  Moses tells the Israelites to be gracious to a servant who leaves them after several years of service. He tells the Israelites to “supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress.” (v14)  Applied to us today, when a person has served you well for a long time, instead of bitterly grieving their departure or indifferently letting them go, go out of your way to honour and bless that person.  Celebrate the ways you are better off because of them and bless them liberally.  Be gracious to them as God has been gracious to you.  When we send people off this way, we will be blessed as well (see v18).

God Gives You Accelerated Forgiveness

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 15:1-11.  Let’s go!

Deuteronomy 15:1-3 (NIV)
1  At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.
2  This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the LORD’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed.
3  You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your brother owes you.

On verses 1-3:  Moses instituted a system where every 7 years debts between fellow Israelites were to be canceled.  It was a way to remember and demonstrate God’s grace, as well as to give people a fresh start.  For that is God’s heart for every person: to give them a fresh start.

Since Jesus Gave Up Everything For Us

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 14:22-29.  Let’s go!

Deuteronomy 14:22-23 (NIV)
22  Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.
23  Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always.
 
On verses 22-23:  In Deuteronomy 14:22-29, we learn five reasons why it is important for us to tithe (i.e. set aside a tenth of our income and give it to God at the place – that is, the house of God – where we worship Him).  The first reason we learn from verse 23: By tithing we “learn to revere the LORD your God always” (v23).  Tithing trains us to have an attitude of worship toward God no matter what our circumstances are like.  Tithing is a tool for our own spiritual maturity, training us to put God first in our lives.

It Matters What You Feed On

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 14:1-21.  Let’s go!

Deuteronomy 14:1-2 (NIV)
1  You are the children of the LORD your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead,
2  for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.

On verses 1-2:  In Canaanite culture, when a person died, their family would mutilate themselves out of grief and hopelessness, cutting themselves and shaving the fronts of their heads.  Moses told the Israelites that they do not need to grieve this way because “you are the children of the Lord your God” (v1), chosen to be “His treasured possession” (v2). In other words, because the Israelites could have confidence that those who trust in Him will be with Him in eternity, they could grieve with hope.  Similarly, as Christians we are God’s treasured possession.  When a Christian friend dies, we do not need to grieve hopelessly because we have assurance that our friend is now in heaven with God, happier and healthier than they’ve ever been.  Instead of mourning hopelessly, we can grieve with hope, celebrating the fact that through faith in Jesus Christ that person who died has not left home, but gone home.
 

Jesus Took The Fall For Us

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 13:1-18.  Let’s go!

Deuteronomy 13:1-18 (NIV)
1  If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder,
2  and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,”
3  you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.
4  It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
5  That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you…….

On verses 1-18:  In ancient Israel, leading a person to worship anyone other than the LORD was considered a capital offense punishable by death.  What are we as Christians to do with a passage like this today?  It’s worth remembering that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for all our sins – including all the ways we have ever led others astray, and all the ways we ourselves have been led astray.  When we deserved to die for our sins, Jesus Christ, who was innocent, took the fall for us all.  That way God could turn His fierce anger away from our sins and instead show us mercy and compassion.

Food, Finances and Faith

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 12:15-32.  Let’s go!

Deuteronomy 12:15-16 (NIV)
15  Nevertheless, you may slaughter your animals in any of your towns and eat as much of the meat as you want, as if it were gazelle or deer, according to the blessing the LORD your God gives you. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat it.
16  But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.
 
On verses 15-16:  Why were the Israelites prohibited from eating blood?  For more on this see the section below called “On verses 20-27”.
 
Deuteronomy 12:17-19 (NIV)
17  You must not eat in your own towns the tithe of your grain and new wine and oil, or the firstborn of your herds and flocks, or whatever you have vowed to give, or your freewill offerings or special gifts.
18  Instead, you are to eat them in the presence of the LORD your God at the place the LORD your God will choose–you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns–and you are to rejoice before the LORD your God in everything you put your hand to.
19  Be careful not to neglect the Levites as long as you live in your land.

Holy Ground

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 12:1-14.  Let’s go!

Deuteronomy 12:1-3 (NIV)
1  These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess–as long as you live in the land.
2  Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods.
3  Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places.

On verses 1-3:  Moses tells the Israelites that when they oust out the nations occupying the Promised Land, they are to completely destroy their altars and places of worship.  This sounds harsh and is certainly not a politically correct statement in Western culture today. The lesson for us here is this:  we are to give God uncompromising worship.  Later in the Old Testament, in 2 Kings 23, we read of King Josiah who does exactly what Deuteronomy 12:3 is talking about.  With all the breaking, smashing and tearing down that Josiah does in 2 Kings 23, you’d think that Josiah was a playable character in a Super Mario Bros. video game. 

God’s Call to Give Your All Is Rooted in Love

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 10:12-22.  Let’s go!

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (NIV)
12  And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
13  and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
 
On verses 12-13:  When you love someone, naturally you want to give all of yourself to that person, and you desire for that person to give all of themselves to you.  That’s why we get pop standards like, “All of me, why not take all of me?  Can’t you see, I’m no good without you”.  That’s why John Legend sings, “Give your all to me, I’ll give my all to you.”  That’s why in Phantom of the Opera, Christine and her lover sing to each other, “Love me…That’s all I ask of you.” 
 
The same goes for God.  Because God loves us, He wants to give all of Himself to us, and in return He wants us to give all of ourselves to Him.  That’s why verse 10 says, “what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul”.  God’s call to give your all is rooted in love.

Which Mountain Will You Live On?

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 11:22-32.  Let’s go!

Deuteronomy 11:22-25 (NIV)
22  If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow–to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him–
23  then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you.
24  Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the western sea.
25  No man will be able to stand against you. The LORD your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.
 
On verses 22-25:  Whenever you see God making a conditional offer to bless the Israelites if they fully obey God’s commands, let it be a reminder that whereas we completely failed to obey all of God’s commands and were disqualified from God’s blessings, Jesus perfectly obeyed and earned those blessings.  Now, we who live by faith in Jesus Christ can enjoy the blessings that Jesus’ obedience made possible, which includes having victory over an enemy who is much stronger than us (Satan) and being given territory that we never could have earned ourselves (such as a place in God’s kingdom, a ministry to serve in, and God’s family to belong to).  It is Jesus’ perfect obedience that makes God’s blessings possible in our lives.