May 31, Wednesday

Today’s AMI QT Blog is written by Joanna Tzen of Grace Covenant Church.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Hebrews 9:23

It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 

Small children always seem to want to do what their parents are doing, following them into the kitchen or the yard; that’s why toy manufacturers make kitchen and tool play sets. My friends tell me that their toddlers will mimic cleaning up or beg to help out mom and dad in the kitchen counter—even if they’re not all that helpful.

This passage in Hebrews addresses how the Israelites worshipped a shadow or a copy of reality through the tabernacle and the practices within.

The tabernacle was a place set aside for holy worship as ordained by the Lord (Exodus 40). It was the place where Moses met God; and for generations this was the holy and set apart place where the Lord met with His people. However, the author of Hebrews tells us Jesus as the Son of God was allowed to enter directly into God’s presence to intercede or make a way for us. Thus, the tabernacle and the practices are no longer needed for atonement, since Jesus is the final sacrifice—no atonement can compare and no atonement is needed again. Jesus’ sacrifice allows us to come into God’s presence as children of God, since Jesus’ blood is now applied to us and we can approach God with Jesus’ righteousness.

Yet, the Christian Jews—the audience of the book of Hebrews—were tempted to fall back into the sacrificial system. We might ask, “Why would they go back and settle for a copy when the reality had already come?” But even today, many of us can fall back into practices that we think can earn our salvation. We may not be returning to a physical tabernacle and the practices within, but we can return to other things in hopes it will bring salvation; it can be our work, school, or even church, performance. We may not realize that we’ve been unconsciously attributing our worth to our performance in these areas, instead of depending on salvation that comes from the finished work on the cross. What practices do you find yourself falling back into instead of resting in Jesus?

Prayer: Lord, show me the areas where I have returned to my ways in the past of self-sufficiency. Help me to trust You because of who You are—a gracious, compassionate and just God. I give you lordship of these areas and know that You are in control. The gospel shows me You are a good and loving Father who gave Your one and only Son for me. I trust in the sufficiency of Jesus’ blood and sacrifice and rejoice in His resurrection that gives me new life and a new identity as a child of God. Amen.”

Bible Reading for Today: Deuteronomy 25


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Isaiah 30:15: This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift!

Questions to Consider

  1. What does this passage say is the source of salvation and strength?
  2. How do the Israelites respond to what God says in v.16?
  3. Verse 18 states: “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” What does this tell you about God’s character?”

Notes

  1. Repentance and rest is the source of salvation; quietness and trust is the source of strength.
  2. Instead of trusting in the Lord by being quiet and hearing from the Him, they make their own plans in human wisdom to flee.
  3. God is gracious, compassionate, just and desires to bless us. He is not a vengeful God, giving us what we deserve—even when we disobey. He welcomes us with grace, even after our mistakes. God’s character is trustworthy.

EVENING REFLECTION

Meditate on God’s character in quietness and trust. Thank Him for being a Father who longs to be gracious to you! Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things.”

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