Take Your Stand

‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ Matthew 16:18 KJV

You can’t sit on the sidelines when God has called you to the frontlines. Sometimes that means taking a stand for what is right. Jesus said, ‘I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ Note, gates are defensive measures. That means we have been called to attack the powers of hell.

A little over five hundred years ago, in 1517, a monk named Martin Luther picked a fight with the religious establishment. He challenged the status quo by attacking the selling of indulgences (like a ‘free pass’ to Heaven issued by the church). He posted the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and ignited the Protestant Reformation.

Luther probably didn’t know that he was making history. But small acts of faith and courage have a domino effect. When we do what is right regardless of the circumstances or consequences, we set the table for God to turn the tables. At the Diet of Worms in 1521, Luther was summoned by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and put on trial for his beliefs. Instead of retracting what he’d said, Luther mustered the moral courage to take a stand: ‘My conscience is taken captive by God’s Word, I cannot and will not recant anything. For to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.’

So, who do you need to stand up for? The homeless? The fatherless? The voiceless? Don’t let the problem overwhelm you. Don’t let what you cannot do, keep you from doing what you can.

SoulFood: Lev 1–4, Luke 20:20–26, Ps 31, Pro 8:34–36

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Leviticus 1–4 ()

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1:1 The LORD called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock.

“If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD. He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. Then he shall kill the bull before the LORD, and Aaron's sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Then he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces, and the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. And Aaron's sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head, and the fat, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar; but its entrails and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall burn all of it on the altar, as a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

10 “If his gift for a burnt offering is from the flock, from the sheep or goats, he shall bring a male without blemish, 11 and he shall kill it on the north side of the altar before the LORD, and Aaron's sons the priests shall throw its blood against the sides of the altar. 12 And he shall cut it into pieces, with its head and its fat, and the priest shall arrange them on the wood that is on the fire on the altar, 13 but the entrails and the legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall offer all of it and burn it on the altar; it is a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

14 “If his offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves or pigeons. 15 And the priest shall bring it to the altar and wring off its head and burn it on the altar. Its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. 16 He shall remove its crop with its contents and cast it beside the altar on the east side, in the place for ashes. 17 He shall tear it open by its wings, but shall not sever it completely. And the priest shall burn it on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire. It is a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

2:1 “When anyone brings a grain offering as an offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it and bring it to Aaron's sons the priests. And he shall take from it a handful of the fine flour and oil, with all of its frankincense, and the priest shall burn this as its memorial portion on the altar, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. But the rest of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the LORD's food offerings.

“When you bring a grain offering baked in the oven as an offering, it shall be unleavened loaves of fine flour mixed with oil or unleavened wafers smeared with oil. And if your offering is a grain offering baked on a griddle, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mixed with oil. You shall break it in pieces and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering. And if your offering is a grain offering cooked in a pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil. And you shall bring the grain offering that is made of these things to the LORD, and when it is presented to the priest, he shall bring it to the altar. And the priest shall take from the grain offering its memorial portion and burn this on the altar, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. 10 But the rest of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the LORD's food offerings.

11 “No grain offering that you bring to the LORD shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey as a food offering to the LORD. 12 As an offering of firstfruits you may bring them to the LORD, but they shall not be offered on the altar for a pleasing aroma. 13 You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.

14 “If you offer a grain offering of firstfruits to the LORD, you shall offer for the grain offering of your firstfruits fresh ears, roasted with fire, crushed new grain. 15 And you shall put oil on it and lay frankincense on it; it is a grain offering. 16 And the priest shall burn as its memorial portion some of the crushed grain and some of the oil with all of its frankincense; it is a food offering to the LORD.

3:1 “If his offering is a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offers an animal from the herd, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD. And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and kill it at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and Aaron's sons the priests shall throw the blood against the sides of the altar. And from the sacrifice of the peace offering, as a food offering to the LORD, he shall offer the fat covering the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys. Then Aaron's sons shall burn it on the altar on top of the burnt offering, which is on the wood on the fire; it is a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

“If his offering for a sacrifice of peace offering to the LORD is an animal from the flock, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish. If he offers a lamb for his offering, then he shall offer it before the LORD, lay his hand on the head of his offering, and kill it in front of the tent of meeting; and Aaron's sons shall throw its blood against the sides of the altar. Then from the sacrifice of the peace offering he shall offer as a food offering to the LORD its fat; he shall remove the whole fat tail, cut off close to the backbone, and the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails 10 and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys. 11 And the priest shall burn it on the altar as a food offering to the LORD.

12 “If his offering is a goat, then he shall offer it before the LORD 13 and lay his hand on its head and kill it in front of the tent of meeting, and the sons of Aaron shall throw its blood against the sides of the altar. 14 Then he shall offer from it, as his offering for a food offering to the LORD, the fat covering the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails 15 and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys. 16 And the priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering with a pleasing aroma. All fat is the LORD's. 17 It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, in all your dwelling places, that you eat neither fat nor blood.”

4:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If anyone sins unintentionally in any of the LORD's commandments about things not to be done, and does any one of them, if it is the anointed priest who sins, thus bringing guilt on the people, then he shall offer for the sin that he has committed a bull from the herd without blemish to the LORD for a sin offering. He shall bring the bull to the entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD and lay his hand on the head of the bull and kill the bull before the LORD. And the anointed priest shall take some of the blood of the bull and bring it into the tent of meeting, and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle part of the blood seven times before the LORD in front of the veil of the sanctuary. And the priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense before the LORD that is in the tent of meeting, and all the rest of the blood of the bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And all the fat of the bull of the sin offering he shall remove from it, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys 10 (just as these are taken from the ox of the sacrifice of the peace offerings); and the priest shall burn them on the altar of burnt offering. 11 But the skin of the bull and all its flesh, with its head, its legs, its entrails, and its dung—12 all the rest of the bull—he shall carry outside the camp to a clean place, to the ash heap, and shall burn it up on a fire of wood. On the ash heap it shall be burned up.

13 “If the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they do any one of the things that by the LORD's commandments ought not to be done, and they realize their guilt, 14 when the sin which they have committed becomes known, the assembly shall offer a bull from the herd for a sin offering and bring it in front of the tent of meeting. 15 And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the LORD, and the bull shall be killed before the LORD. 16 Then the anointed priest shall bring some of the blood of the bull into the tent of meeting, 17 and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD in front of the veil. 18 And he shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar that is in the tent of meeting before the LORD, and the rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 19 And all its fat he shall take from it and burn on the altar. 20 Thus shall he do with the bull. As he did with the bull of the sin offering, so shall he do with this. And the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven. 21 And he shall carry the bull outside the camp and burn it up as he burned the first bull; it is the sin offering for the assembly.

22 “When a leader sins, doing unintentionally any one of all the things that by the commandments of the LORD his God ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, 23 or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring as his offering a goat, a male without blemish, 24 and shall lay his hand on the head of the goat and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD; it is a sin offering. 25 Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of its blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering. 26 And all its fat he shall burn on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings. So the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin, and he shall be forgiven.

27 “If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any one of the things that by the LORD's commandments ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, 28 or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. 29 And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill the sin offering in the place of burnt offering. 30 And the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar. 31 And all its fat he shall remove, as the fat is removed from the peace offerings, and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a pleasing aroma to the LORD. And the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven.

32 “If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish 33 and lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. 34 Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar. 35 And all its fat he shall remove as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings, and the priest shall burn it on the altar, on top of the LORD's food offerings. And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed, and he shall be forgiven.

Luke 20:20–26 ()

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20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar's.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

Psalm 31 ()

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To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

31:1   In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    in your righteousness deliver me!
  Incline your ear to me;
    rescue me speedily!
  Be a rock of refuge for me,
    a strong fortress to save me!
  For you are my rock and my fortress;
    and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;
  you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
    for you are my refuge.
  Into your hand I commit my spirit;
    you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
  I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
    but I trust in the LORD.
  I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
    because you have seen my affliction;
    you have known the distress of my soul,
  and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
    you have set my feet in a broad place.
  Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
    my eye is wasted from grief;
    my soul and my body also.
10   For my life is spent with sorrow,
    and my years with sighing;
  my strength fails because of my iniquity,
    and my bones waste away.
11   Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
    especially to my neighbors,
  and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
    those who see me in the street flee from me.
12   I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
    I have become like a broken vessel.
13   For I hear the whispering of many—
    terror on every side!—
  as they scheme together against me,
    as they plot to take my life.
14   But I trust in you, O LORD;
    I say, “You are my God.”
15   My times are in your hand;
    rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
16   Make your face shine on your servant;
    save me in your steadfast love!
17   O LORD, let me not be put to shame,
    for I call upon you;
  let the wicked be put to shame;
    let them go silently to Sheol.
18   Let the lying lips be mute,
    which speak insolently against the righteous
    in pride and contempt.
19   Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
    which you have stored up for those who fear you
  and worked for those who take refuge in you,
    in the sight of the children of mankind!
20   In the cover of your presence you hide them
    from the plots of men;
  you store them in your shelter
    from the strife of tongues.
21   Blessed be the LORD,
    for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
    when I was in a besieged city.
22   I had said in my alarm,
    “I am cut off from your sight.”
  But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
    when I cried to you for help.
23   Love the LORD, all you his saints!
    The LORD preserves the faithful
    but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24   Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
    all you who wait for the LORD!

Proverbs 8:34–36 ()

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34   Blessed is the one who listens to me,
    watching daily at my gates,
    waiting beside my doors.
35   For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favor from the LORD,
36   but he who fails to find me injures himself;
    all who hate me love death.”

Fri 29 March, 2019


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