M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan, April 1

Today’s Bible readings are from Leviticus 4, Psalm 1-2, Proverbs 19 and Colossians 2.

Leviticus 4 is about the sin offering (which stretches to 5:13).

DeCanio says…

It is important to recognize, as Lindsey (1985:180) points out, that although the sin offering and the guilt offering, subsequently discussed, are distinguishable, they clearly have some definite similarities.  This is especially the case with regards to their primary function as both can best be described as expiatory offerings.

Not all sins could be atoned for by means of a sin offering.  Only sins committed unintentionally (these could be sins of omission as well as sins of commission; see, for example, Num 15:22-23) could be atoned for with a sin offering.

The sin offering, however, did not cover were sins committed with a defiant attitude (see, for example, Num 15:30 which literally means “with a high hand”)—that is, sin with a purpose of being disobedient to God.

For such cases as these, no sin offering could be brought by an individual (Lindsey 1985:180).

The only hope for cleansing from such sins lay in the Day of Atonement ritual which provided yearly cleansing from “all their sins” (16:20), “so that they will be clean from all [their] sins” (16:30).

The sin offering, therefore, was applicable only for sin not done in a spirit of rebellion against Yahweh and His covenant stipulations, whether they were sins of ignorance (Lev. 4), sins without conscious intent (Lev. 5), or intentional but non-defiant sins (such as for manslaughter where the act is committed without premeditation).

The book of Psalms is the prayer book of Israel.  It is divided into five books.

Psalms 1 and 2 serve as introductions to the entire book of Psalms and Psalm 150 serves as a doxology for the entire book of Psalms.

Psalms 1-2 introduce the book’s main emphases:  the struggle to honor God and His greatness.  Psalm 1 contrasts the conduct and fate of the righteous and wicked.  The key difference is meditating on God’s law (1:3).  If we don’t meditate, we will naturally follow the way of the world (vv. 1-2).

What is meditation?  It is not the eastern concept of emptying one’s mind, but rather filling one’s mind with Scripture.  It represents a slow turning over and over of the Scripture in one’s mind, gazing at it from various angles, living with it, soaking in it.

We will only meditate on it if we love it.  Psalm 119:97: “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.”

The wicked will never accept God’s sovereignty over their lives and will rebel (2:1-3).  God laughs at their feeble rebellion because He rules the earth and has established David’s throne forever.  Powerful earthly rulers come and go, God’s rule stands forever.  Thus, they should bow to David’s authority (2:10-12) and the ultimate “Anointed One,” Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 19 gives us some lessons about poverty and wealth:

1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

Looks can be deceiving.  It is naturally assumed that a rich man is rich because of God’s favor and a poor man is poor because God is against him.  In reality, it is the integrity of the heart that makes a person really wealthy and blessed.

4 Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend.

6 Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.  7 All a poor man’s brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He pursues them with words, but does not have them.

This, again, is what naturally happens.  But of course, those “new friends” are there because of what they can gain, not give.  The proverb anticipates the Lord’s teaching to use of money to win friends and an eternal reward in the kingdom of God (Luke 18:1-9).

One of my favorite verses is 19:11

11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

There are some sins we can overlook (cf. 1 Peter 4:8), chalk them up to human error or common mistakes.  Those we cannot, however, still need to be forgiven and not held onto.  It is a glory to be a person who is not easily offended.

In Colossians 2 Paul warns the Colossians about man-made philosophies that would undermine the gospel.  All these philosophies are nothing compared to Christ.  He alone is sufficient for our salvation, sanctification and glorification.

  • In Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (2:3)
  • “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (2:9)
  • “you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority” (2:10).
  • We have died to sin and been raised to life with Him (2:11-14).

6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Thomas Constable has these charts:

 The Christian’s Walk

“Walk … worthy of the Lord” (1:10) “Walk in Him” (2:6)
·      Bearing fruit (1:10) ·      Firmly rooted (2:7)
·      Growing like a tree (1:10) ·      Being built up like a building (2:7)
·      Gaining strength (1:11) ·      Established (2:7)
·      Giving thanks (1:12) ·      Giving thanks (2:7)

 Summary of the believer’s completeness in Christ in 2:11-15

·      The domination of our flesh has been broken. (2:11)
·      Our former manner of life has ended. (2:12a)
·      We have been raised from spiritual death. (2:12b)
·      We have been given new life. (2:13a)
·      Our transgressions have been forgiven. (2:13b)
·      Our debt to God has been paid. (2:14)
·      Our spiritual enemy has been defeated. (2:15)

Verses 16-23 indicate that they were trying to overcome the flesh through asceticism and through mysticism.  Neither are effective.

Constable summarizes:

Four harmful teaching emphases of these false teachers are still with us today. The first harmful teaching is “higher” knowledge (Gnosticism).  Some examples are: so called scientific, archaeological, or paleontological “facts” that contradict Scripture, so called revelations that claim to be on a par with Scripture, and teaching that directly contradicts biblical revelation.  The second harmful teaching is the observance of laws to win God’s love (legalism).  Some examples are: salvation by works, teaching that puts Christians under the Mosaic Law, and teaching that says sanctification comes by keeping man-made rules.

The third harmful teaching is the belief that beings other than Christ must mediate between people and God (mysticism).  Some examples are: teachings that certain beings (e.g., angels, “saints,” ancestors) or experiences (e.g., glossolalia, hearing voices) can improve our relationship with God.  The fourth harmful teaching is the practice of abstaining from things to earn merit with God (asceticism).  Some examples are: fasting to force God’s hand, living in isolation to avoid temptation, and self-mutilation to mortify the flesh.

Jesus is ALL WE NEED.