Silent Reading

And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:

Deuteronomy 17:19 (KJV)

Read – In the early 400s AD, St. Augustine wrote about a man named Ambrose who, when he read, did not vocalize the words or move his tongue. This was apparently shocking for St. Augustine to witness so much so that he noted it in his journal.

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A Lying Spirit

A couple of months ago, I had a great conversation with an older fellow believer. He was concerned that I had become too legalistic in my obedience to the laws of God. Although, he didn’t outright say that, I could tell based on his attempt to have me reconsider not fasting from leaven during Passover. He knew that my family and I didn’t eat leaven during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but he did. And similarly to many Christians, he prided himself on being spiritually obedient and living according to the spiritual commandments written on his heart. This is a very noble effort indeed.

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Lech Lecha

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Genesis 12:1 (KJV)

Get thee out – God tells Abram, lech lecha (לֶךְ-לְךָ), get thee out. As is much of the Hebrew Bible, this is another play on words. The words may sound identical, but actually mean two different things: “go” and “to yourself.” The implication is that although Abraham must undergo a traumatic departure from his native land, he is actually traveling to find his more authentic self. Once Abraham enters the land, his true relationship with the one Lord can grow. 

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To Sanctify, or Not To Sanctify

All the firstling males that come of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto the Lord thy God: thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock, nor shear the firstling of thy sheep.

Deuteronomy 15:19 (KJV)

Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the Lord’s firstling, no man shall sanctify it; whether it be ox, or sheep: it is the Lord’s.

Leviticus 27:26

So which is it? Should you, or shouldn’t you sanctify the firstling of beasts? If you take these two verses verbatim as they’re written, this is an obvious contradiction in the text. Deuteronomy states that you should sanctify the firstling, but Leviticus states that you should not.

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God Will Provide

13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.

Genesis 22:13-14

Jehovahjireh – This word literally means “Yehovah will see to it,” or as many say, “God will provide.” It’s a common saying in Christianity today and this may very well be the root of it. Christianity has really gained some mileage around this feel-good saying. I think we use it for just about any trial as a beacon of hope. And it bears some truth too. God does provide … until the time He doesn’t.

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Importance of Pronouns

Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.

2 Chronicles 24:19 (KJV)

He – If you’re familiar with this story, this verse should cause some hesitation. The “he” is lowercase causing confusion around just who had sent the prophets.

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Bread and Salt

And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.

Leviticus 2:13 (KJV)

Meat, Salt – So God commands that all “meat” offerings are to be brought with salt. The religious community I belong to presents salt with bread for every public prayer. But this says, “meat”… or does it?

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God Repented

The Lord repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord God.

Amos 7:6 (KJV)

Repented – This isn’t the first time the Lord repented from His plan. In fact, it’s the second time in this chapter of Amos alone! God also repented for making man in Genesis 6:6, He repented from the evil that He sought to do to His own people in Exodus 32:14, and He also repented upon raising up judges for Israel so to bring them again from captivity. These are just a few examples.

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Stop Asking and Start Acting

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

Isaiah 58:6 (KJV)

Oppressed – When we fast, we often times ask God to perform some sort of action in our lives. We’re afflicting ourselves in attempted humility and beseeching our Creator’s help. But in Isaiah 58, God turns it around on us. Rather than doing what we ask, He asks us to do something else instead.

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Food isn’t the Focus

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.

Leviticus 23:2 (KJV)

Feasts – The Lord really loves a good meal, doesn’t he? When reading this, I’m quite impressed by God’s desire for us to partake in meals together. But just after this, He mentions that the 7th day Sabbath is one of these “feasts.” How does that work? There’s no Sabbath instruction about holding a feast.

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