February 7

Leviticus 24-25, Psalm 38

When I reflect back on my Christian walk it is full of wrong actions and errant thoughts. I came into a relationship with Christ around 30 years ago, and my wife came into that relationship around 10-12 years ago. For many of those years, I either didn't attend church or chose not to go regularly. I reasoned that my whole family wasn't on board and I would be forcing them against their will. I also struggled to find a church that I thought would satisfy all members of my family. I was wrong. When I began attending church I didn't serve or give regularly for years. I reasoned that the debts that I had incurred prior to committing to church along with many other obligations justified these actions. I was wrong. For many years I chose not to evangelize. I reasoned that my knowledge was not yet where it needed to be, I would be asked questions that I couldn't answer, and in the process, I would offend many. I was wrong. Each time my mistake was trusting in my own faulty logic, coming up with a solution which seemed like a fair compromise between my desires and what God would desire. My true mistake was not bringing each and every situation before God in prayer and meditating on His Word and allowing Him to direct my actions. We read the conclusion of the book of Judges, a time when nothing seemed to go right for the nation of Israel, and it is just as applicable to our personal lives today. We read in Judges 21:25, "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

Though there were 613 laws given to the nation of Israel, not every situation was specifically covered. In Leviticus 24:11-14, we read about a son who was a product of the mixed multitude, an Egyptian father with an Israelite mother, "And the Israelite woman's son blasphemed the name of the Lord and cursed; and so they brought him to Moses...Then they put him in custody, that the mind of the Lord might be shown to them. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Take outside the camp him who has cursed; then let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him." What most of us would have done at this point would be to discuss this matter with others. They could have reasoned that being half Egyptian perhaps mercy would be the better alternative being he wasn't properly raised. They could have reasoned that it would be a great opportunity to show grace towards the mixed multitude and extend the olive branch in love and peace. They could have decided that a stern warning could have been issued to satisfy all parties. In each case, they would have been wrong. What Moses did was correct. We see that Moses did not rush into a decision nor consult others, but waited on the Lord for direction and sought His counsel.

Blasphemy means taking the Lord's name in vain and using it in a worthless manner or in a cursing manner. Whenever God's name is invoked and used in anger or irreverently it is blasphemy. If this punishment was invoked today every time someone blasphemed God's holy name there wouldn't be enough stones in the world to carry out all of the executions. Many look at the punishment as too severe. People understand the death penalty for crimes like murder, kidnapping, terrorism, and rape, but not blasphemy. This is because when we look at God's ten commandments society has elevated man's sin horizontally against his fellow man over man's sin vertically against a Holy God. This is not God's reasoning but man's. We, as Christians, can only begin to understand the mind of God when we choose to become students of God's Word. Jesus said in John 8:31-32, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." If we want to make decisions in line with God we must be in His Word, and then when confronted with a situation requiring a decision, bring it to Him. If we bring it to Him, and learn to patiently wait on Him in prayer, God will clarify our decisions and "He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster