Highlights In Today's Reading:
Three spiritual truths stand out — Atonement, Sacrifice, and Holiness. PTL — learn how Jesus fulfills them all! The Laws of Atonement and Sanctification teach: Ye shall be holy, for I am holy (11:44; compare I Pet. 1:16). Warnings against various defilements and the need to know (Listed in chapters 18-19).
He (the high priest) shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: and he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the Mercy Seat that is upon the Testimony, that he die not (16:12-13).
The altar of incense that was before the Lord in the Holy Place was much smaller than the brazen altar in the outer court where the sacrifices were offered. The altar of incense was covered with gold and was placed just in front of the curtain that led to the Holy of Holies. The high priest offered incense on it morning and evening, symbolizing the aroma ascending upward as an offering of prayer without ceasing unto God (Acts 12:5; Rom. 1:9; I Thess. 1:3; 2:13; 5:17; II Tim. 1:3). When the priest went in to light the lamps in the evening, and again when he trimmed the lamps in the morning, he burned incense on this Golden Altar, using live coals from the altar of Burnt Offering.
The incense ascending toward Heaven is symbolic of the desires of the heart reaching upward to God. It gives meaning to the Scripture: Pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17), and reveals the power that praying Christians have with God. God will, and does, answer prayer when it is in accord with His will (I John 5:14). However, the Lord warns: He that turneth away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be abomination (Prov. 28:9).
What a privilege — and a responsibility — we have to offer up acceptable prayers day and night unto God — praying for those things which the Holy Spirit lays upon our hearts! Only as we read the Word of God can we learn how to pray and what to ask for — what pleases the Father and how to avoid asking amiss. All acceptable prayer has its foundations in the redeeming love (mercy) of a forgiving God.
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (James 4:3).
Thought for Today:
Many have confessed their sinful past lives. Real peace comes in knowing that through the blood of Jesus our past is no longer remembered against us. PTL!
Through two goats used on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:8). The slaying of the first goat typifies that our peace with God was restored by the sacrificial blood of Christ on the cross (Rev. 5:9). The goat carrying the sins away into the wilderness signifies that as far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us (Ps. 103:12; Heb. 8:12; 10:17).
16:12 censer =incense holder; 16:19 hallow it =dedicate it only for God; 16:29 stranger =alien; sojourneth =stays, lives temporarily; afflict you souls =humble yourselves; 17:4 cut off =excommunicated; 18:18 vex =irritate, to be a rival to; 18:20 carnally =adultery; 18:21 seed =descendants; 18:25 visit the iniquity =bring judgment for its sins.
Pray for Staff: Ken Sharp • Government Officials: Rep. Richard (Doc) Hastings (WA) and Sen. Herbert Kohl (WI) • Country: Australia (19 million) an island continent between the Indian and Pacific Oceans • Major languages: English and native languages • Religious freedom • 40% Protestant; 27% Roman Catholic; 3% Orthodox; 2% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Trust in the Lord and wait upon Him in your prayers, for He will hear you (Mic. 7:7).
Optional Reading: Mark 10
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:5-6