In Today's Scripture Reading:
The Lord's judgment against disobedience; prayer against enemies; prayer for mercy and restoration
God had chosen Israel to be His witness to the world. As His people, they were to be examples of how He would bless all who honor Him and His Word; but, they failed miserably and the glorious City of God was destroyed. We are reminded of the pitiful heartbreak and awesome horror felt by the Israelites following the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. They had assumed that, since they were the chosen Covenant people of God, they were secure even though they had chosen to disobey God's Covenant and His Commandments. The awful consequences of sin are inevitable. The psalmist cried out: O God, the heathen (nations) are come into Thine inheritance; Thy holy Temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps (in ruins) (Psalm 79:1).
The few remaining faithful Israelites pleaded: Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy Name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for Thy Name's sake (79:9).
Since the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, there has been no Temple, no Brazen Altar, no Laver, no Golden Candlestick, no Table of Showbread, no Ark of the Covenant, no Altar of Incense to scripturally observe any sacrifice as commanded by God through Moses. All that was essential to cover their sins was destroyed. All of Israel's sacrifices and feasts were symbols created by God to foreshadow and explain all that was to be accomplished by Jesus the Messiah.
With Jesus' death, all of the Old Testament sacrifices for sins were made obsolete and the old sacrificial system under the Law was destroyed soon after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. For the Israelites, the blood sacrifices of animals could only temporarily atone for (cover) sins. How much more shall the blood of Christ . . . purge (cleanse) your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14).
The sacrifice of Christ on the cross made it possible for both Jews and Gentiles, who recognize themselves as lost sinners, truly repent, and receive Jesus as their Savior, to be forgiven of their sins. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:27-28).
As the true Shepherd (Psalm 80:1). Christ is the Good Shepherd and the Door through which one must enter to be saved. He alone is The Way to heaven (John 10:9,11).
78:15 clave => split; 78:34 inquired early => sought diligently; 79:4 derision => ridicule; 80:3 Turn us again => Restore us; 80:8 a vine => Israel; 80:12 hedges => walls or fences; 80:18 quicken us => revive us.
Pray for Government Officials: Rep. Julia Carson (IN) and Rep. John Dingell (MI) Country: Armenia (3.8 million) southwest Transcaucasia between Europe and Asia Major languages: Armenian and Russian Religious freedom 78.5% Armenian Apostolic Church; 3.3% Muslim; .05% Protestant; 17.7% Atheist/Agnostic Prayer Suggestion: Diligently seek the Lord in prayer and He will bless your efforts (Hebrews 11:6).
Optional Reading: II Thessalonians 2
Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 1:4