~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Leviticus 24:1-25:46 ~ Mark 10:13-31
Psalm 44:9-26 ~ Proverbs 10:20-21
Old Testament - Today in Leviticus chapter 24 we read the well known law of retaliation from verses 19 & 20 - ""Anyone who injures another person must be dealt with according to the injury inflicted-- fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Whatever anyone does to hurt another person must be paid back in kind." I've read commentaries that say that this law of retaliation was actually compassionate for its time - in that it limited what one person could to another person in a very lawless age. If you lost an eye, you could take an eye - but you could not kill in return, for example. So, I see the logic behind saying that the law of retaliation limited punishments.... but, I also think we would do well to remember Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount where he quotes from Leviticus 24 verse 20 in Matthew chapter 5 verse 38 & 39 - ""“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." Jesus teaches that there is a higher law of love that is better than the law of retaliation.
Well, I learned something new today! This is pretty cool - the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is so named because this statement from Leviticus chapter 25 verse 10 is written on the bell - "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." (which you won't be able to see in this photo below - I believe the inscription is around the top of the bell, where you'll see 2 lines near the top)
New Testament - Today in Mark chapter 10 we read about the Rich Man. I have heard plenty of sermons on this passage of scripture and read a bunch of commentaries. The message is probably not that every Christian needs to sell all they have, give to the poor, and you'll have treasure in heaven. However... this could be the message for some of us. Basically, the message is probably more along the lines of what in your life are you holding on so tight to, that you need to let go of? What are you worshiping? What are you letting stand in the way of your relationship with Jesus? And what must you let go of? What's your "camel" that's holding you back? It might be money or material possessions. It could be an addiction. It could be status. It could be anger. It could be lust. I don't know what it is for you - that's between you and Jesus. But, can you let it your "camel" go, so that you won't be like this big guy here trying to get through the eye of a needle... :)
Psalms - Every time I read Psalm 44 verse 23 it reminds me of one of the amazing aspects of the Psalms - that the Psalms are people like us speaking to God - and in all sorts of emotional ways: "Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Get up! Do not reject us forever." This type of verse reminds me that it's okay for us to not always talk to God in our "church voice." It's okay to get a little bit passionate in our prayers to God. I think God would prefer us to be real with him - where we are right now or at any given moment - rather than try to put on any special facades for God. If ever you feel like you are at a loss for words for what you might want to say to God - how you might be needing to pray to God - surf through the Psalms... you'll very likely find voice for what you are trying to say.
Proverbs chapter 10 verses 20 & 21 are interesting - they are both about the words that come out of the mouths of the godly - "sterling silver" & "good advice". I pray that each one of us would grow more and more in our relationship with the God, so that our words are indeed like sterling silver and that we give good advice.
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!