Dear Church Family,
Bonnie and I hope that you are all well and able to use some of the down time you may be experiencing in enjoyable ways. Just a reminder that we will be having a Sunday School class, like the ones we do during the summer months, up and online this Sunday at about 9:15 AM. That will be followed by a live message at 10:30 AM and our regular evening message at 6 PM.
Social distancing! That’s a new term isn’t it? Some people like the idea not just during times like this, but all the time. But everyone needs a hug once in a while.
I was thinking about social distancing last night when we were having our devotions. We were reading about the institution of the priesthood under Moses in Leviticus, and I was impressed again with how tight the restrictions were—that is, how few were cleared to serve as a priest.
Leviticus 21:21 No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the LORD's food offerings; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God.
When you read the whole list in that chapter, you wonder how many could be fit to serve. But this whole matter reflects the great gulf that stands between God and mankind due to sin. This is a “social distancing”’ that is the result of our unrighteousness, which leaves us separated from a righteous and holy God who is…
Habakkuk 1:13 …of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness.
These children of Aaron were rendered unfit for service before God in the outward ceremonies of the tabernacle, and later the temple, in things that were outward actions, things that the author of Hebrews said were…
Hebrews 9:9-10 …symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience— concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.
What hope is there for anyone of overcoming this imposed distancing occasioned by our sinfulness? Well, we know the answer, don’t we! Our hope, as the hymn says, is in the Lord (Jesus), who gave Himself for me and paid the price of all my sin at Calvary! The Perfect Priest making the Perfect Sacrifice (Himself), and then imputed His Perfect Righteousness to all who believe.
We have access to the holy and righteous throne of the living God by Jesus Christ, and that is why every prayer is offered in His precious name, the name of the One who loved us and gave Himself for us, and why we can now cry, “Abba, Father,” and know we will be heard and answered in love.
Father, we draw near to You today, not in our name, but in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. We come not seeking your favor because of our righteousness, but bearing His by grace.
Lord, hear our prayers for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world today. For while we are feeling the restraints placed on us, many of them are far more restrained and burdened. We are hearing of pastors who are crushed in spirit because in their efforts to show mercy they became purveyors of illness. We are hearing of ministries being handicapped in their efforts to minister in Christ’s name because of illness and restrictions of all sorts.
Be with us here, in our own land. Dear Lord, keep the mature saints of our families and church safe. Be with our sister churches from Edmonton to Weed, and with all the believers in churches of all sorts throughout the nation.
Hear our prayers for those who are sick and those who are recovering out of our own fellowship. Be with the children and teens. Give them patience and increase their faith as plans are set on hold and futures become less clear—let us all put our expectations in You—pour out our hearts to you—and give thanks that because of our Great High Priest those expectations are only limited by Your promise to do us good both now and forever. In Jesus’ Holy Name we pray, Amen.