READ: Leviticus 23–24
THINK: Are you giving God your life's best, or does He get your leftovers? Do you put so much time, effort and passion into other activities that when it comes to ministry, you leave the work to others? Then again, maybe you're so active in the church, that you take little time to be with the One you're supposedly serving. In a strange way, it's often easier for people to love serving God more than they actually love God himself. Many times our good intentions never prevail because we want to tie up all of life's loose ends first so we can give God time without distractions. The problem is, the distractions are always there and the perfect time never comes. God understands our human tendencies, and that's why He asks us to give Him the first portion-to take our time with Him right off the top-to give Him our very best before our efforts are spent on lesser priorities.
RESPOND: Considering the Sabbath laws (23:3), what are the benefits of setting aside a special day for rest and worship? Why do you think God instituted a variety of annual feasts, assemblies and celebrations? What were the "firstfruits" and why did the Lord claim them as His own? (See 23:10 note.) How does this principle apply to Christians today? How did these events benefit people, and how did they bless God? (See 23:15 note.) When the Israelites reaped their fields, why were they to leave the edges unharvested (23:22)? What did this indicate about God's care? Why do you think God was so serious about no work being done during the ceremonies and celebrations (cf. 23:28-32)? What did the Israelites do during the Feast of Tabernacles, and how did this serve as a reminder to them? (See 23:34-43 note.) Why were the consequences so severe for cursing or blaspheming God (i.e., speaking of Him as evil; 24:13-15)? Why do you think the Old Testament Law called for reciprocal punishment (24:17-22), meaning that a person was to suffer the same consequence as the offense he or she committed (i.e., an eye for eye)? Why doesn't God hold us to that same standard today? What does He expects of us when we wrong someone?
PRAY: Give God thanks for freeing you from slavery to sin and giving you a reason to celebrate Christ's life and love.
ACT: Take time today to relax in God's presence, giving your cares to Him and accepting His peace. Don't worry about thinking of what to pray, simply worship God by pondering His attributes, such as His love, power, holiness, mercy and faithfulness.
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