February 4

Leviticus 16-18, Psalm 35

We live in a godless society. We see no harm in the things we watch on television, engage in in social media, and choose to sing. It seems like at the end of every wedding one of the more popular final songs, usually being sang at the top of their lungs with drinks in hand is, "My Way", by Frank Sinatra. Just read the final stanza which everyone is joyously singing: For what is a man, what has he got if not himself, then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels AND NOT THE WORDS OF ONE WHO KNEELS (capitalized to emphasize). The record shows I took the blows and did it my way. Yes, it was my way. Since the beginning of time God has been lovingly showing us the path of blessing, but people believe they know better, they can do it their way. Until we, in humility, realize that our way will lead us down a path to destruction and in total humility empty ourselves, then and only then can we enjoy the Spirit filled life that God lovingly desires for us, filled with Him and not ourselves.

Once a year the high priest was allowed to enter into the Most Holy Place accessing the mercy seat where man would meet with God. Notice how Aaron was to dress in Leviticus 16:4, "He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are the holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on." He was being taught if he was to approach God it was in humility. The high priest normally wore garments of glory, full of jewels, colorful robes of blue, with fancy hems, colorful belts, etc. These garments set him apart from all the other priests. But, when he was to come on Yom Kippur into the Most Holy Place, he was to take off these garments of glory and exchange them for the common garments of his fellow priests. Humility must come before ministry and exaltation. This picture of Aaron, their high priest reveals a beautiful picture of Jesus, our High Priest, as revealed in Philippians 2:5-11. We read, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Frank Sinatra's song may glorify those who do it their way as opposed to those who would kneel, but I would much rather do it His way, as it says in Philippians 2:10, on our knees. In Pastor Lloyd's message on Matthew 5:3 last night, ("Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven"), he drove home the point that unless we empty ourselves of self, we can't begin the journey of the Spirit filled life. If people ask why the high priest could only meet once a year before the Mercy Seat, it was because that is what God established. If people ask why they need to go to church, it is because God established fellowship with other believers rather than a life apart from fellow believers. If people ask why they need to read their Bibles over and over again, it is because this is how God speaks to us and enjoys a relationship with us. God establishes what is best, not us. We need to take our self out of the equation. Churches all over Manhatten are hanging rainbow colored banners showing their inclusion and acceptance of any sinful behavior, but God has never allowed this. When we consider human nature as revealed in Scripture as well as in our daily lives, rather than questioning God, we should be in sheer amazement that He could actually love us, a people who have wandered away from Him, taken advantage of Him, rebelled against Him, and been indifferent to Him. Through it all He welcomes us back with His arms open with unconditional love.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster