After an complete victory at Jericho, Israel suffered defeat at the hands of little Ai because of sin.  In their pride, Israel had attacked without consulting God.  One of the men had taken spoil from Jericho which was devoted for destruction causing God to depart from them.  The story is a picture of the terrible consequences of sin but that also creates a door of hope by causing us to hate sin and seek Jesus to free us from our bondage to it.

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The children of Israel complained aginst the Lord and he sent fiery serpants which were killing the people.  When Moses interceded, the Lord did not remove the snakes but he told Moses to make a bronze serpant and place it on a pole so that any who looked at it would be spared.  Jesus was also hung high on a pole so that all who look to him in faith can be ultimately rescued from the consequences of their sin.

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Joshua and the Israelites were called to step out in faith, "Be bold and courageous" even though by earthly wisdom, the odds were stacked against them.  Where you spend your time, money and thought life are indicative of where you place your faith.  Joshua gained strenth and courage by reading and meditating on God's word day and night.  He also reflected on what God had done previously - the crossing of the Red Sea, manna in the wilderness, etc.  We need to set remembrances for ourselves.  Take the next step that you know God is asking you to take.

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Joshua and the Israelites were called to step out in faith, "Be bold and courageous" even though by earthly wisdom, the odds were stacked against them.  Where you spend your time, money and thought life are indicative of where you place your faith.  Joshua gained strenth and courage by reading and meditating on God's word day and night.  He also reflected on what God had done previously - the crossing of the Red Sea, manna in the wilderness, etc.  We need to set rememberances for ourselves.  Take the next step that you know God is asking you to take. 

 

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After a year in the wilderness, Moses sent twelve spies to expolre the Promised Land.  They alla greed that the land flowed iwth milk and honey and that it was inhabited by strong people in fortified cities.  Ten spies, looking from a strictly human perspective said that it would not be possible to take the land and they incited the people to return to Egypt.  Two spies, looking with the eyes of faith, said that, with God, the land could easily be taken.  The Israelites chose trust in their own abilities.  We are each faced with the choice of faith or faithlessness but without faith it is impossible to please God. 

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The sacrifices described in Leviticus 1-7 are earthly pictures of the heavenly reality and specifically of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  The sacrifices address sin but the peace offering specifically addresses restored felllowship with the Lord and with each other and provides for a meal to be shared.  Others speak of a pleasing aroma.  Are our lives a pleasing aroma to the Lord or do they stink.  Jesus death on the cross was the ultimate and perfect sacrifice for our sin to restore fellowship with God.

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Our sin requires that we be separate from God because his glorious holiness would destroy us.  Even our "no big deal" sins actually violate several of the 10 commandments by setting us up as gods ahead of the true God, lying about his character and misrepresenting him in a way that takes his name in vain.  Sin incurs a debt for which God's justice demands payment.  The price is death symbolized by blood.  God instituted animal sacrifices which ultimately point to the perfect atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

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February 11, 2018 Sermon

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We often think if God as being mean for  giving us the law to obey but he had thoroughly demonstrated his love long before the law was given.  The law itself is a reflection of his love, providing a set of common-sense rules for living in the household of God.  Jesus gives us the only example of someone who kept the law perfectly but he does not fit our model of someone who keeps the law.  He seemed to be relaxed and focused on others unlike the Pharisees who were supposed to be the best at keeping the law in their day.  Jesus satisfied the requirements of the law so that we no longer need to be slaves to it but it remains the loving, household rules for the family of God.

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Wake discusses our propensity to turn away from God as seen through the Israelites creation of the golden calf.

Discussion questions:

  • What could have protected the Israelites from falling into temptation?
  • What protects you from temptation to doubt God today?
  • What keeps God' righteous anger and judgment from consuming you and I today?
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