Leviticus 16, Psalm 19, Proverbs 30, 1 Timothy 1

Leviticus 16

Leviticus 16:17 (ESV) 17 No one may be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel.

The LORD told Moses that Aaron was to make atonement in the Holy Place for himself, his house and the assembly of Israel. This was the Day of Atonement (or Yom Kippur) that occurred once each year on the tenth day of the seventh month and was the only time in which the priest could enter the Most Holy Place. One bull and two goats were used during the ceremony; the bull to kill for his and his family’s sins, one goat to be sacrificed and the other goat to be sent away to bear the nation’s sins (the “scapegoat”). Aaron (or the high priest of the time) was to enter into God’s presence in humility, laying aside his ornate high-priestly attire and instead wear the garment of an ordinary priest. The details of this yearly event are truly remarkable and are helpful in seeing a) the holiness of our God, b) how much effort was required for man to be in His presence and c) how egregious is the sin of man that all of this was needed.

Psalm 19

Psalm 19:7 (ESV) 7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;

The law and testimony of the LORD gives wisdom to the simple. This brings great comfort in knowing that it is the humble whom God provides with wisdom for salvation. The prideful will be brought low “but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor” (Ps. 29:23b).

Proverbs 30

Proverbs 30:32–33 (ESV) 32 If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth. 33 For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.

The final words of this proverb—an oracle by Agur son of Jakeh—are a sharp admonition for silence. Continuing in imprudent speech and pressing an issue will only make matters worse. The Believer’s Bible Commentary quotes George Williams in a helpful paraphrase of these verses:

If feeble man in his folly has lifted up himself against God, or even indulged hard thoughts of Him, let him listen to the voice of wisdom and lay his hand upon his mouth; for otherwise there will be a result as surely as there is a result when milk is churned, the nose wrung, or anger excited.

1 Timothy 1

1 Timothy 1:12–13a (ESV) 12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent

Paul gives thanks to God for giving him strength and for judging faithful a man who was once a blasphemer, persecutor and insolent opponent. While I do not share the depth of opposition of Paul’s pre-conversion life, this passage brings to mind my own life prior to coming to faith in Christ. I recall the snark and antagonism I once had toward Christians, wholly convinced of their oppressive and arcane thinking. How ardent I was in convincing them of their error, sadly even winning some to my cause. Only by God’s grace was I plucked from such darkness. Praise God for having mercy on this wicked soul, for washing me clean with His forgiveness and granting me a new heart.

Carson on Psalm 19

Great scholars invest wasted lives in undermining [the credibility of the law of God]. Many people choose snippets and themes that soon constitute a grid for eliminating the rest. Cultural drift constructs new epistemologies that relativize God’s words so that they are no more revelatory than the source documents of any other religion. Worst of all, Christians invest so little time and energy in learning what they claim to be the Word of God that it falls away by default. Yet it remains an unimaginably glorious revelation.

This is a really helpful analysis by Carson on how sinful humanity approaches God’s law. Believers and unbelievers alike are guilty of handling it wrongly. This should be an encouragement for the faithful to be so deeply steeped in His Word and ever sharpened in His law that we would not fall pray to errant thinking.