Ever realized that those who are in positions of leadership are supposed to serve? Ever realized that those who are in positions of authority are supposed to bless? Ever realized that those people are supposed to helping others to become who God created them to be?
Similarly we should honor and bless them as we learn in Romans when we read:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. –from Romans 13:1
Jesus is an incredible example of leadership where He walked with humility even though He had all authority! He didn’t come to the world to be served but to serve:
Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
–from Mark 10:43-45
So don’t lord the position you have over others. Don’t lord your title over others. Don’t lord your authority over others. Serve them! Talk with them! Speak to them! Allow God to open doors for you to be able to speak truth, hope, and life into their lives with love! Make it more than a positional thing. If they weren’t told would they know your position or title? What would they say about you after they have gotten to spend time with you? How would they describe what you said? Bring Jesus with you! Allow the Holy Spirit to lead your thoughts, words, and actions! Allow the power of God to work in and through you for the glory of God in the name of Jesus!
So how will that play out today? What will God be able to do to you when you submit it to Him and allow Him to work in and through your life? Will you invite Him in? Will you submit to His will for you today? Let’s see how He will work in and thru us when we give this day up into His hands!
Spiritual Authority — Day 62: Bible In One Year 2017
Devotional, Psalm 29, Mark 11:27-33, Mark 12:1-12, Leviticus 9, Leviticus 10
1. The voice of authority … Psalm 29:1-11
A psalm of David.
1Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
3The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
4The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox.
7The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.
8The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
11The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
–from Psalm 29
It’s interesting that this reading includes the Desert of Kadesh. We had a sermon yesterday talking about the murmuring and the complaining that happened there as well as the naysayers who stopped the Jews from entering into the promised land and how 37 years later having only travel 40 miles with the previous generation having passed away except for Joshua and Caleb from the spies and Moses, they were back for a second time! If you were going to be one of the people in a group of 12 would you rather be Joshua, Caleb or one of the twelve that most people have forgotten? Would you be one who believe and trusts in God that He brings you to it, He will bring you through it? Would you be one who sees the opposition over the blessings? Would you be seeing the giant grapes, the land flowing with milk and honey? Would you be seeing the giants and the walls? Let’s keep the Desert of Kadesh be in the rearview mirror! Let’s choose to be Joshua or to be Caleb and trust in God no matter what we see! Let’s choose to trust God because we know like David said our God is bigger than anything we will face! Let’s walk in the trust and the hope and the authority of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the plans of God! Let’s allow our faith to propel us into all that God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish!
There is a huge spiritual hunger and need in our society. People are searching for spiritual knowledge and experience. This psalm points us towards ‘the voice of the Lord’ (v.3). David describes the awesome power, majesty and authority of God’s voice (vv.4–5a,7–9a).
Today, the supreme way we hear the voice of the Lord is through the words of the Bible. The word of God is authoritative, powerful and majestic: ‘We fall to our knees – we call out, “Glory!”’ (v.9, MSG). Being on our knees is an appropriate way to listen to the voice of the Lord. I love to start each day on my knees, reading the Bible, trying to hear God’s voice – asking, ‘Lord, what are you saying to me today?’
David starts by saying, ‘Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength’ (v.1). All authority, power and strength belong to God. However, he does not keep it all to himself. As you listen to his voice he shares with you his authority, power and strength. David ends with, ‘The Lord gives strength to his people’ and ‘blesses his people with peace’ (v.11).
These are two things that we desperately need as we face the battles of life (internal and external). We need God’s ‘strength’ and his ‘peace’.
–from Day 62: Bible In One Year 2017
2. God-given authority … Mark 11:27-12:12
27They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?” 29Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!” 31They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.) 33So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” –from Mark 11
1Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 2At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. 6 “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’ ?” 12Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.
–from Mark 12
Jesus spoke and acted with God-given authority. He listened to the voice of the Lord and spoke the very words of God. This is the key. If you want to speak with authority, spend time with God, listening to his voice.
It was perfectly obvious to everyone that Jesus had authority. The only question his opponents asked was where that authority came from (11:28). Jesus responded with a brilliant question about John the Baptist.
He asked them whether John’s authority was from God (‘heaven’) or of ‘human origin’ (v.30). They could not answer the question because they did not want to admit it came from God (as they had not believed him) (v.31). Nor did they want to say that it came from human origin because the people recognised that John was a true prophet (v.32).
I once heard a preacher, who believed that the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit ended with the apostolic age, being asked the question, ‘Is the Pentecostal movement a move of God?’ It provoked a similar response to the one in today’s passage – he could not answer the question.
To say that ‘it came from God’ would mean recognising the outpouring of the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit in our contemporary world. To deny that it came from God would be to deny the experience of over 600 million Christians around the world who have experienced God’s power through the Pentecostal movement.
Because Jesus’ interrogators refuse to answer his question about John the Baptist, Jesus refuses to answer their question about his authority. ‘Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things”’ (v.33b).
Jesus then tells a parable, which is intended to reveal the source of his authority. His opponents certainly recognise Jesus’ aim, for Mark tells us that they ‘looked for a way to arrest [Jesus] because they knew he had spoken the parable against them’ (12:12).
Jesus’ parable is about a man who ‘planted a vineyard… put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower’ (v.1). The parable is based on Isaiah 5:1–7 in which God is the owner and his people (particularly the leaders) are the vineyard. In Jesus’ parable, the servants who are sent and killed are God’s prophets, including John the Baptist. Jesus then introduces himself into his own parable: God ‘had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, “They will respect my son.”’ (Mark 12:6).
Jesus shows he has a unique authority because he is the unique Son of God. There is a very clear distinction made between the unique beloved son and heir and the different servants who are sent first. Yet, with amazing foresight, Jesus declares that he, the unique Son of God, will be killed (vv.7–8).
He then explains that the leadership of God’s people will be transferred to a new leadership (the early leaders of the church) with Jesus as their cornerstone: ‘The stone the builders rejected [that] has become the cornerstone’ (v.10; see also Psalm 118:22).
The unique Son of God has unique authority as the unique cornerstone of God’s people. Listen to him and you too will speak with the authority that derives from his authority.
–from Day 62: Bible In One Year 2017
3. The authority of Jesus … Leviticus 9:1-10:20
The Priests Begin Their Ministry
1On the eighth day Moses summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. 2He said to Aaron, “Take a bull calf for your sin offering and a ram for your burnt offering, both without defect, and present them before the Lord. 3Then say to the Israelites: ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, a calf and a lamb—both a year old and without defect—for a burnt offering, 4and an ox and a ram for a fellowship offering to sacrifice before the Lord, together with a grain offering mixed with olive oil. For today the Lord will appear to you.’ ”
5They took the things Moses commanded to the front of the tent of meeting, and the entire assembly came near and stood before the Lord. 6Then Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded you to do, so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.”
7Moses said to Aaron, “Come to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and the people; sacrifice the offering that is for the people and make atonement for them, as the Lord has commanded.”
8So Aaron came to the altar and slaughtered the calf as a sin offering for himself. 9His sons brought the blood to him, and he dipped his finger into the blood and put it on the horns of the altar; the rest of the blood he poured out at the base of the altar. 10On the altar he burned the fat, the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver from the sin offering, as the Lord commanded Moses; 11the flesh and the hide he burned up outside the camp.
12Then he slaughtered the burnt offering. His sons handed him the blood, and he splashed it against the sides of the altar. 13They handed him the burnt offering piece by piece, including the head, and he burned them on the altar. 14He washed the internal organs and the legs and burned them on top of the burnt offering on the altar.
15Aaron then brought the offering that was for the people. He took the goat for the people’s sin offering and slaughtered it and offered it for a sin offering as he did with the first one.
16He brought the burnt offering and offered it in the prescribed way. 17He also brought the grain offering, took a handful of it and burned it on the altar in addition to the morning’s burnt offering.
18He slaughtered the ox and the ram as the fellowship offering for the people. His sons handed him the blood, and he splashed it against the sides of the altar. 19But the fat portions of the ox and the ram—the fat tail, the layer of fat, the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver— 20these they laid on the breasts, and then Aaron burned the fat on the altar. 21Aaron waved the breasts and the right thigh before the Lord as a wave offering, as Moses commanded.
22Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down.
23Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown. –from Leviticus 9
The Death of Nadab and Abihu
1Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. 2So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of when he said:
“ ‘Among those who approach me
I will be proved holy;
in the sight of all the people
I will be honored.’ ”
Aaron remained silent.
4Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel, and said to them, “Come here; carry your cousins outside the camp, away from the front of the sanctuary.” 5So they came and carried them, still in their tunics, outside the camp, as Moses ordered.
6Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the Lord will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the Israelites, may mourn for those the Lord has destroyed by fire. 7Do not leave the entrance to the tent of meeting or you will die, because the Lord’s anointing oil is on you.” So they did as Moses said.
8Then the Lord said to Aaron, 9“You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, 10so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, 11and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses.”
12Moses said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take the grain offering left over from the food offerings prepared without yeast and presented to the Lord and eat it beside the altar, for it is most holy. 13Eat it in the sanctuary area, because it is your share and your sons’ share of the food offerings presented to the Lord; for so I have been commanded. 14But you and your sons and your daughters may eat the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented. Eat them in a ceremonially clean place; they have been given to you and your children as your share of the Israelites’ fellowship offerings. 15The thigh that was presented and the breast that was waved must be brought with the fat portions of the food offerings, to be waved before the Lord as a wave offering. This will be the perpetual share for you and your children, as the Lord has commanded.”
16When Moses inquired about the goat of the sin offering and found that it had been burned up, he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons, and asked, 17“Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the sanctuary area? It is most holy; it was given to you to take away the guilt of the community by making atonement for them before the Lord. 18Since its blood was not taken into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the goat in the sanctuary area, as I commanded.”
19Aaron replied to Moses, “Today they sacrificed their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, but such things as this have happened to me. Would the Lord have been pleased if I had eaten the sin offering today?” 20When Moses heard this, he was satisfied. —Leviticus 10
Be careful when you play with fire! Make sure you realize what you are doing and how you live out your life! God has a calling upon you! So stick close to God and allow Him to lead you and guide you all the days of your life! Thanks to Jesus we are able to come before God! Thanks to Jesus we are able to speak with God! Thanks to Jesus who took away the sin of the world! Let’s live out our lives pleasing and satisfying to God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
It is an awesome thing to enter into the presence of God – ‘The Glory of God appeared to all the people. Fire blazed out from God… When all the people saw it happen they cheered loudly and then fell down, bowing in reverence’ (9:23–24, MSG).
The example of Nadab and Abihu (10:1–2) shows that access to God’s presence should never be taken for granted. In our day and age, people often want relationship with God but they want it on their own terms and in their own way. However, it is only because of Jesus that you can enter God’s presence with confidence and without fear of being consumed as Nadab and Abihu were.
Access to the presence of God was made possible, in the Old Testament, through the complex sacrificial system. The high priest had to offer sacrifices for himself and the people (9:7–8). Because the high priest was a human being and, like us, was weak and sinful, he had to go on offering sacrifices for his own sin as well as the sins of the people.
Jesus has a unique authority. He is the sinless high priest. As the writer of Hebrews puts it: ‘Such a high priest truly meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself’ (Hebrews 7:26–27).
As a result, through Jesus you have access to the holy presence of God: ‘Therefore, brother and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water’ (10:19–22).
You can come into the presence of God today and hear the voice of the Lord, receive his strength and peace, and speak with the authority that comes from having heard the voice of God.
–from Day 62: Bible In One Year 2017