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8th February

Leviticus 26-27; Psalm 39

Bible in a Year
3 minutes
In this article
8th February

Leviticus 26-27; Psalm 39

Bible in a Year
3 minutes


So far in Leviticus we've read through the detailed descriptions of ritual sacrifices and offerings. This included the Burnt, Grain, Peace, and Sin Offerings. Next we read through the ordination of priests as they prepared themselves for God's presence. Unfortunately, Aaron's sons were careless in their service and were struck down.

From there the focus shifted to ritual purity, encompassing dietary laws, childbirth, skin diseases, and mould. These weren't to do with morality but served as practices to instil in the people the importance of purifying themselves. After that came pinnacle of the Israelites calendar, the Day of Atonement. The high priest atoned for the people's sins through the life found in blood. He then cast out the sin into the desert. From there we switched to moral purity.

Now that the people have been cleaned they are to live in a way that helps them maintain that cleanliness and purity. After that we read about the qualifications of priests. This included restrictions on marriage and contact with the dead, reflecting the need for 'wholeness' and purity in God's service.

Next we looked at the ritual feasts, including the Sabbath, Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Firstfruits, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Booths. These feasts again, existed to instil healthy rhythms of rest and remembrance in the lives of the Israelites.

Yesterday's reading carried this on looking at the more day to day workings of the tabernacle. We also read of a case of someone blaspheming the name of God and contaminating the camp. In this case, the contamination and the person doing the contaminating had to be removed from the camp.

Finally, we zoomed all the way out to the sabbath year, every seven years, and the year of Jubilee, every seven times seven years. These were years of rest and redemption.

Leviticus 26-27

This Holiness Code that we have been reading through (Leviticus 17-26) ends here with a conclusion. We get a description of what happens if the people are obedient to all the rules laid out and what happens if they are not.

If they are obedient, God’s blessing is poured out upon them. He will give them success in everything they do. He will give them peace, provide for them, and cause them to grow into a mighty nation. But if they are disobedient, he will punish them. 

Here we get, once again, the two sides to God’s character; his mercy through faithfulness, and his justice through judgement. But note the differences between the two. If the people are obedient, they will get the full blessings.

But if the people are disobedient, they get a portion of the punishment, in the hope they repent and are obedient again. Then if they continue, they get a larger portion of the punishment until finally he removes them of the land so that the land can rest from their contamination. Even in God’s judgement he is still faithful to the people and is merciful enough to give them away back.

The final chapter is about vows. You could make a vow to commit yourself, your property, or your land to the tabernacle. Each of these things would then ultimately belong to the tabernacle.

But what if you dedicated yourself to the tabernacle, then something comes up and you’re no longer able to serve there? You can’t break your vow! So instead you could redeem yourself by paying the equivalent amount of money.

The same applied to property and land. This was a useful system because it made allowance for people that made vows that they could no longer keep and also provided a small amount of extra income for the upkeep of the tabernacle.

And so we come to the end of Leviticus. We ended Exodus with Moses not being able to enter God’s presence because of the contamination that had infected the people and the land.

Now, through Leviticus we’ve read how the people are to maintain their relationship with God. How they are to get themselves cleaned and then conduct themselves now that they are clean.

Tomorrow we’ll read in Numbers whether it worked or not.

Psalm 39

This psalm is attributed to king David and is titled to Jeduthun. It falls into the category of lament, though this psalm is more abstract than previous lament psalms. Rather than being about a specific struggle, this psalm is a reflection on fleeting life is, leading the psalmist to confess their sin.

Jeduthun was one of David’s lead musicians (1 Chronicles 16:41). Jeduthun’s name may also be similar to the Hebrew word for confession, and so it may also be a play on words.

Psalm 39:1-3 - I am guarded before the wicked

Psalm 39:4-6 - My life is transient

Psalm 39:7-9 - Deliver me from my transgression

Psalm 39:10-13 - Have mercy on me and hear me

The psalm opens with the psalmist talking to themselves. They had decided to keep quiet and keep to themselves. Life is too short and too difficult to warrant drawing the attention of the wicked.

Unfortunately, this didn’t last long for them. Though at first they kept silent, this only led to be more frustrated and angry with what they saw. This became like a fire building inside them.

So instead they turn to God, asking them why life is so short. The unspoken question here is that it all seems so meaningless, where life is but a breath while the wicked seem to prosper.

Working through this thought, the psalmist is then led to repent, stripping everything back. God is their source of hope. In the midst of all this, their trust has to be found in him. They have become too focused on what the wicked were doing that they had failed to seek after God.

The psalmist now fully turns to God and asks for mercy. They ask God to forgive their distrust in his order, and to remain close.

The point of this psalm is to not get caught up in the mundane, or the business of life. Don’t despise any of it. Instead, allow life to find meaning in God.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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