~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Leviticus 1:1-3:17 ~ Mark 1:29-2:12
Psalm 35:17-28 ~ Proverbs 9:13-18
Old Testament / Learning to Love Leviticus! - This upcoming month of readings is what I call mission-critical. We’re beginning our journey through the book of Leviticus. As this is my 3rd time leading a crew of people through the One Year Bible, I know that Leviticus is the book where we lose many people who started out so strong over the past 6 weeks. I want to let you know this in advance, so that if you feel like maybe not reading your Bible for even just one day this upcoming month, please don’t do it! You may find Leviticus “boring” on occasion, but there truly is a lot of depth to it. And if you stop reading the One Year Bible during Leviticus, you’ll miss out on so much more of the Bible coming up – including Saul, David, Solomon, the prophets – and the list goes on.
If you read nothing else in this posting today, please take ten minutes or so to review the amazing reflection at the link below on the book of Leviticus by Bob Deffinbaugh over at Bible.org. The article at this link below titled “Learning to Love Leviticus” will bless you immensely before we embark on our study of Leviticus this week - http://bible.org/page.asp?page_id=258
An excerpt from Bob at this link above – “Up to this point in time the Book of Leviticus has been the “liver and onions” book of the Bible to me. That is, I know that it must be good for me, but I just don’t seem to have a taste for the stuff. To others, the Book of Leviticus is something like camping - they tried it once and that was enough to last them a lifetime. Having briefly looked at the Book of Leviticus, let us get down to the issue of “taste” which must be settled before we will ever benefit from this portion of God’s word. The first thing we must seek to do is to identify the reasons why we tend to dislike and thus to avoid this book.” Again – please please read “Learning to Love Leviticus” at this link - http://bible.org/page.asp?page_id=258 – before you read anything else in this blog posting.
Date: 1420 or 1220 B.C.
Content: The book of Leviticus was designed to be a handbook for the priests or Levites, hence the name Leviticus. It sets down the regulations that were to govern the life of Israel in general and specifically to give regulations concerning sacrifice and worship. All of the major sacrifices are described, as well as the way they were to be offered. All of the major festivals and holidays are discussed. There are also special sections devoted to the priesthood and regulations concerning ceremonial matters.
Theme: The central theme of this book is that God has provided a way for atonement to be made by the offering of sacrificial blood. This whole system found its fulfillment in the shedding of Christ’s blood as the one great sacrifice for the sins of the world. Leviticus also shows that worship is to be orderly and is to follow a regular pattern. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” page 2) More commentary on Leviticus is at this link – http://bible.org/page.asp?page_id=882
Commentary on Leviticus chapter 1 and The Law of Burnt Offerings is at this link. Commentary on Leviticus chapter 2 and The Grain Offering is at this link. Commentary on Leviticus chapter 3 and The Fellowship Offering is at this link.
New Testament - Today in Mark's readings I noticed that Jesus healed, taught, healed and healed. 3 healings and 1 teaching in today's readings. I don't know about you, but sometimes I personally seem to overlook Jesus' healing ministry. I pay a lot of attention to what he did on the cross for us. I pay a lot of attention to his resurrection. I pay a lot of attention to his teachings. But his healings? Not so much. And if I really stop to think about it, I know that I personally need some healing from Jesus in my life. I have wounds. I have issues. I have "patterns" as the singer David Wilcox would say. :) I need Jesus' healing touch in my life. How about you? Do you need Jesus' healing touch in your life? If so, can you reflect on chapter 1 verses 40 & 41 in Mark's readings today - "A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. "If you want to, you can make me well again," he said. Moved with pity, Jesus touched him. "I want to," he said. "Be healed!"" What is your "leprosy"? Do you want to be made well again? Do you believe that Jesus wants to heal you? Commentary on Mark chapter 1 is at bible.org at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 35 verses 22 & 23 are two very impassioned verses that I think we should take note of - "O LORD, you know all about this. Do not stay silent. Don't abandon me now, O Lord. Wake up! Rise to my defense! Take up my case, my God and my Lord." I think what these verses do is remind me that we don't have to always speak to God in "hushed" tones or in our "church voices". We can interact with God at any moment as we really are. I don't think we should try to hide our emotions from God. We should come before God at any time - as we are - and let him take us from there... and heal us from there... When is the last time you have literally cried out to God?
Proverbs - Proverbs verse 18 is downright scary - "But the men don't realize that her (Folly's) former guests are now in the grave." This reminds me of Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death." Yes, sin sells... And sin calls... And sin pays... Death. Sin/Folly pays death. That is downright scary. That's why we read about the sacrifice system in the Old Testament - to atone for sin, which brings death without atonement. Thanks to the New Covenant, our sins have been paid for on the cross by Jesus. Let us not ever forget the gravity of sin. Let us not ever forget sin sells death. But let us also not ever forget that Jesus paid our debt once and for all on the cross. So, next time you hear Folly calling out to you from her doorway, walk on by in the light of salvation that was given to you freely by Jesus. Jesus who saves us from death.
Comments from you & Question of the Day - The image of the boy crying that I posted up in the Psalms section made me wonder this - are you comfortable crying before God? Have you ever cried before God? Do you think it's okay for us to cry before / to God? I just wonder if sometimes we hold back our emotions from God or try to prove to Him (and others?) that we really have it all together - when really we don't? Why do you think that we sometimes try to hide our emotions or hide things from God? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!