READ: Leviticus 6-7
THINK: Many people are turned off to Christianity because they feel that the church is always asking for money. While that's an exaggeration, people can be super-sensitive when it comes to money. Even faithful followers of Christ can struggle to give with a thoroughly generous attitude. But monetary offerings and financial "sacrifices" present little inconvenience compared to what was once required of God's people. Of course, money cannot buy God's favor or cover our sin any more than animal sacrifices. God sees the heart, and that's what matters when offering anything to Him. Whether expressing gratitude, seeking forgiveness or pursuing a closer relationship with God, elaborate preparations are not necessary. Because of Jesus, we can come to God as we are, with a humble heart, offering our very lives. That's the sacrifice He desires. Jesus gave His all for us, and He wants us to give our all to Him.
RESPOND: What was required of a person who cheated or deceived someone regarding a personal possession or property? (See 5:15 note.) In what ways must we be careful regarding things that are to be holy (i.e., spiritually and morally pure, set apart for God's purposes), including our own lives? What were the purposes of the Old Testament worship rituals of offerings and sacrifices? (See 7:2 note.) In what ways were these rituals symbolic? From God's perspective, what did the sacrifices demonstrate? What was one of the reasons for a fellowship offering (7:12)? What kinds of "offerings" can we make to show gratitude to God? (See 7:2 note.) Why was it such a serious offense for an "unclean" person to participate in the offerings or sacrifices, and what spiritual principle does this illustrate? (See 7:20 note.) Why will God severely judge those who claim to be right with Him, yet deliberately allow sin to remain in their lives? What principle can we take from the fact that priests received portions of meat and grain from sacrificial offerings? Why is it appropriate for ministers to make a living from their service to the church?
PRAY: Ask God to forgive you if you have been dishonest with anyone, and pray for the humility to set things right with those involved. Pray for the discipline to live a life of active holiness, avoiding ungodly attitudes and behaviors while passionately pursuing God's purposes. Give thanks to God for specific things in your life.
ACT: Make things right with anyone whom you have cheated or deceived. This will take a bold, practical step, but that's what God desires. Do something specific to show gratitude to God for all He's done for you. Perhaps you can write a prayer or poem. Or pass God's blessing on to someone else who could use your help. If there is any way in which you're being hypocritical in your relationship with God or others, make a true and sincere change.
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