Daily Scripture readings for July, set #21:
Leviticus 16 begins with this command/instruction from the Lord: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat” (vs 2). The veil that Aaron is not supposed to go behind is the same veil that is ripped at Jesus’ crucifixion. Leviticus 16:2 can really help us as modern day readers to appreciate the horror that temple priests would have felt upon seeing the veil torn in AD 33, and it helps us appreciate the significance of that event.
Psalm 43 is quite short, and verse 5 even quotes from yesterday’s reading in Psalm 42 (so to speak). Verse 3 seems noteworthy to me today: “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!” What a great prayer to start the day! I wonder if the author of Psalm 119 had this verse in mind as inspiration for Psalm 119:105 (insert Amy Grant reference).
The second half of Matthew 19 contains the famous line from Jesus equating a rich man entering the Kingdom of God with a camel going through the “eye of a needle” (vs 24). There’s a common understanding of this passage that relies on the “eye of a needle” as a name for a gate to Jerusalem that camels had a tough time walking through, but it’s important to understand that this is just not true. The entire thrust of Jesus’ argument here is that it is IMPOSSIBLE for a rich person to be saved… at least apart from God’s grace. It’s often helpful for me to remember this teaching from Jesus when I’m lamenting to myself the fact that I’m not rich. I think it’s safe to say that my lack of extensive wealth in this world is actually a huge grace in my life, rather than a bummer.
Acts 26:28 records King Agrippa, upon hearing Paul’s very evangelistic court defense for himself, replying to him in this way: “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” Has anybody ever asked you that? “Hey… wait a minute… you’re trying to convince me to be a Christian, aren’t you?” Paul’s not interested in “sneaking” the Gospel into his relationships and situations. Boldness is key.