Leviticus 19, Psalms 23-24, Ecclesiastes 2, 1 Timothy 4

DateVersionReading Plan
@April 15, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Leviticus 19

Leviticus 19:23–25 (ESV) 23 “When you come into the land and plant any kind of tree for food, then you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it must not be eaten. 24 And in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD. 25 But in the fifth year you may eat of its fruit, to increase its yield for you: I am the LORD your God.

The LORD told Moses that the people were not to eat the fruit of the land into which they were entering until the fifth year. The first three years of fruit-bearing were to be considered forbidden and the fruit of the fourth year was to be a holy offering of praise to the LORD. The patience and obedience this would have required seems considerable. Not only did they have to wait several years to eat the fruit, but the first eligible year of fruit was to be given as offering to the LORD. It is helpful to see here the level of sacrifice the LORD requires—often of our own comfort and physical sustenance—but also to realize that He alone is worthy.

Psalms 23-24

Psalm 23:5–6 (ESV) 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23 is certainly one of the most well-known and beloved psalms in the Biblical corpus. David gives such heartwarming testimony of the LORD’s provision even in the presence of his enemies. The LORD is depicted as a gracious Host, preparing a table before David in the presence of his enemies, an expression of God’s faithfulness to carry David through any opposition. David portrays his head being anointed with oil, a custom of hospitality performed on guests in the ancient Near East. David’s cup is not only filled, but overflows in abundance, depicting the LORD’s lavish generosity. All of this culminating in David dwelling in the house of the LORD—to be in His presence and to worship Him—forever. How wonderful it is to be awash in these words of David, in the bountiful love of our LORD and that it all be for His name’s sake.

Ecclesiastes 2

Ecclesiastes 2:11 (ESV) 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

The author recounts all that he had done—the houses built, the vineyards planted, the slaves purchased, the silver and gold of treasures acquired—and considered all of it to be vanity and a striving after wind. The drive to possess the pleasures and wealth of this world will ultimately yield nothing of value in the end. There is nothing to be gained under the sun, no earthly riches, comfort or fortune to be compared to the all-satisfying treasure of knowing and loving the Lord Jesus.

1 Timothy 4

1 Timothy 4:7–8 (ESV) 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

As someone particularly conscious of physical health and fitness, it is helpful to read this and be reminded of where these things should fall in prioritization. Paul acknowledges that bodily training is of some value but that godliness is far superior, holding value in every way as well as the promise of both present and future life. While I am grateful for health and the ability to steward my body well, these must remain in complete subjection to my pursuit of the Lord and godliness.

Carson on Leviticus 19

Perhaps the most striking feature of Leviticus 19 is the repeated clause, “I am the LORD.” In each case, it provides the reason why the Israelites are to obey the particular command.

Carson illuminates a crucial aspect of God’s motive behind all His commands of the Israelites. If my count is accurate, the phrase, “I am the LORD” is repeated 15x in this chapter, making it a highly significant theme. Their conduct was to be rooted in their reverence for Him, to proceed in a divinely-appointed standard of honesty and integrity and abide in the authority that has no equal.