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what came out to me over and over again today is that the sacrifices to God had to be perfect, without blemish....a forerunner of the fact that only Jesus, perfect and without blemish could ever die for our sins..i wondered how hard it must have been searching through the flocks for the perfect animal?

I think many of us fail to show emotion before God because we rarely show emotion in our day to day dealings, at least thats how I feel about it.

It's almost like I don't have the energy or time to be emotional in my prayers with God. I'm trying to make more time to spend quality time in prayer and meditation, the psalms are a good place to start.

So how do you think the rank and file people feel when they bring their "all" as a sacrifice to the Lord? It had to have been a process starting with recognizing their own personal need to be close to God. Then they had to come by His rules and offer the right and perfect sacrifice. How long did it take for the average person to look through his flock to find what he needed to bring to God, or to pick the best grain or first fruits? Then he would have to leave the daily life and come to the place of God to give over to the priests his sacrifice to have it burned. Leviticus really speaks of the separation of having times where the need of God and His Holiness and righteousness and sacrifice overcome and overwhelm the daily-ness of life. I think that some people leave the reading of Leviticus because it is here that God begins to show them that they must come to Him on His terms alone--and that holiness and personal sacrifice is required. It also becomes very obvious to us all that we cannot fulfill these commands. We come as did Abraham knowing that God will provide the sacrifice. He sent His own Son to be the once and for all sacrifice. We do need to know the "context" of sacrifice to really understand our need of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Leviticus introduces the concept of "one way", God's way, to come to Him and be accepted and forgiven.

I think the thing that stood out to me most today was the man who told Jesus "If you are willing you can make me clean." Jesus proceeded to heal him and then gave him instruction not to speak of it throughout the town they were in. The man was disobedient which prevented Jesus from being able to minister within that town again. How many times has Jesus touched my life then given me instruction that I did not follow. I just said "Thanks" and ran off but failed to hold up my end of the bargain so to say. The healing process for this man was simple, he asked and received. But what gratitude did he show? He told people about Jesus and while we often think telling unbelievers all about what God has done for us we need to remember at times that it's all about God's timing and if he instructs us to keep it to ourselves we ought to do what he's asked regardless of our intenstions or we may rob those around us of blessings they may have otherwise received. Imagine what Jesus may have done for those people if he was still welcomed in their town.

One of the things that stood out in both the Exodus and Leviticus readings is that God is very particular about how things are to be done and how we are to appraoch him.

The other thing that stood out to me in Leviticus is the alternation of activity between the priest and the offeror. I think this reinforces how we should be participating in our relationship with God...daily and actively. God desires that we be holy, and we bear the responsibility of living our lives in such a way as to pursue holiness everyday.

Thanks to all your postings, I really do understand Leviticus so much better. It all makes more sense. It really does stress that God wants us to do what he says, and if he says do not speak of it, he has a good reason.

When I pray, I find it very hard to start out by asking for what I need, without first thanking Him for what I have. And, I sometimes feel guilty asking for some things, when there is so much more important stuff going on. My friend tells me we are to ask, God wants us to ask, she will even say demand. That this is why Jesus died for us, so we could ask, and God could give it to us, because that is what HE wants to do! She says it makes Him happy, when we come to Him for anything, no matter how big or how small. I still feel like I'm asking too much, sometimes, little things that I shouldn't take up Gods time with. Boy, do I get a lecture about that. So, I am working on going to God for ANYTHING, EVERYTHING, no matter how large or small, and not feeling guilty about it. If I feel down, I call my friend. She is awsome, and I have no doubt that God speaks through her.

God bless you all, and keep posting.
Jackie

I just finished Philip Yancey's book "The Jesus I Never Knew" and there is a good chapter titled Miracles: Snapshots of the Supernatural that goes into today's Mark reading. The author tells of how he found the healing of the leper significant because he discovered that in Jesus' time it was an unclean act to touch a leper (which apparantly we'll read laws with respect to lepers in Leviticus). Lepers lived degrading and isolated lives due to the ignorance of society. A leper's pain came from the outside - the stigma of a social outcast. What's so amazing is that Jesus did the unthinkable - He TOUCHED him! I can totally understand why the guy would be jumping for joy telling everyone - I probably would be too. Jesus knew human behaviour and told the guy to keep quiet because he knew that although faith can bring miracles, miracles don't necessarily bring a person to faith. Cool! He knew that the supernatural would cause a sensation which would overshadow his teaching purposes. I admire Jesus' focus on his purpose. I like that he didn't reject anyone who asked for healing even though he knew it was not the be all and end all of his ministry. I see how healing/miracles was easy for Jesus but to bring a person to faith was something that required so much more. I find it strange because I've always thought of miracles as being something harder to perform and I perceived the latter as easier. Any thoughts? I'm rethinking it.

I really am enjoying this blog - I'm learning so much more than if I were just reading the OYB on my own. Thanks Mike and to everyone who takes the time to post comments.

Cry out and dump on God first.....don't take this wrong. Bring EVERYTHING to God FIRST. He can hanle it and it will take the edge off and keep your relationships with the ones you love in good repair. I heard this on a Bible radio lesson and it had changed my marraige and all other relationships for the better.

I'm a big baby when it comes to crying out to God. I can't tell you how many times I have been in my quiet time and have cried. How many times in the car I have cried. Let's just face it -- I cry! But what sweet release I receive. His word says that weeping may endure for a night, but it also says -- but JOY cometh in the morning. I'm so glad that JOY comes! Praise Him!

Today's verse: "The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray" Mark 2:35. If it was important for Jesus to pray first thing, how much more important it must be for us!

Shalom!

Great blog. I'm struggling to keep up with a simple passage each day on a blog. You should definitely be commended for your efforts here.

- Paul

I love your blog! I've read the Bible through many times; yet I always seem to avoid reading Leviticus. I followed your advice and read the article entitled "Learning to Love Leviticus" and found it to be very worthwhile.

Thank you for the time that you spend maintaining this blog. I've recommended it to various other friends.

Mark 1&2

[NOTE: When I talk about the servant with authority, I should clarify. Jesus has not yet been given all power in heaven and on earth. He is the servant with authority - but that authority comes from the Father. "The Son by himself can do nothing," {cf, John 5:19}]

Jesus Prays
"And Jesus reveals the heart and substance of his prayer in what he says in reply: "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out." This is what he was praying about -- that God would lead him, doors would be opened, and hearts prepared in the cities to which he would go next.

Why did Jesus seek the Father's face like this, in these hours of pressure? The only answer we can come to is that he wants to make clear that the authority he had was not coming from him. This is what our Lord is trying to get across to us so continually in the Scriptures -- that it was not his authority by which he acted; he had to receive it from the Father." - Ray Stedman
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Mark1:40b
"If you are willing, you can make me clean." NIV

"willing" in the root of the Greek word is "choose", "your choice". Not if Jesus is in a good mood for healing - but if HE so chooses.

There are Christians who pray for healing, and when it does not happen - their faith is affected. They do not understand - some become bitter. I think the words here shoud be noted - 'If God choses...'. I believe God heals nowadays, but it is for a reason.

I have been blessed with two prayer healings. A "blown out elbow with nerve damage" that I posted about last year, and last month a badly sprained wrist. Both times I asked God, "Why?"

Compared to cancer, tumors, people dying in hospitals - why me, why such minor injuries healed through prayer.

I came to an understanding - that in my case it was too deepen my faith, tell me it was ok to pray for myself (I always used to make a point of praying for others), and to get me into fellowship and Christian growth with the man who prayed for my injury. I had avoided him in the past - now we are friends and have greatly benefited from each other's reading of the Bible.]

So why the second time? The lessons above were learned, and it was the same man. But this time a non-believer (searching but still a non-believer)was present - so maybe the healing was not for me - but for the unbeliever????

[Note: God heals - the man was just a conduit through which God worked via our joint prayer.]
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Paralytic
Most understand this lesson, and I will hold off until another recount in a later Gospel, BUT...

Mark 2:8a
"Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts.."

Jesus had authority from God. Was this Jesus acting as God? - or - is it the gift of discernment through the Holy Spirit? Does not say - 'Jesus knew', or 'Jesus knew in His mind', but 'in His spirit'. I will leave that one for you to "chew on".

Leviticus

I read something in Bob Deffingbaugh's commentary that made me do some reading around the net.

In hindsight we know about the sacrifices pointing to Christ. But what is God doing immediately here for the wandering nation of Israel.

I believe the sacrifices are fulfilling the needs of man.

BURNT OFFERING
Man needs to belong, to be accepted. Here God provides that acceptance on a temporary, day-by-day basis.

The sacrifice must be a "male" animal. Why? In scripture a "male" stands for leadership, dominion. Man was born to Rule. but the offering was totally consumed by fire. Man was made to be possessed by God.

The symbolism is man turns himself totally over to God (consumed offering), and then when possessed by God man rules in a way pleasing to God.

It had to involve a death -only by means of the death of an acceptable substitute can man ever satisfy this great longing to belong to and to be possessed by God.

On this basis man fulfills the need to be accepted by God.
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GRAIN OFFERING

Once accepted by God - there is a need to respond. (Grain always accompanies the burnt offering). How will we respond to God's acceptance?

If the sacrifice is done with the right heart and not turned into a ritual - we should respond as if "fine flour" - smooth and consistent with no rough edges - balanced like the life of Jesus.

Should be like fine flour but we need the oil (Holy Spirit) indwelling (mixed)and anointing (poured on top). The incense to provide an aroma pleasing to the Lord - what God sees. Not outward, but inward is what God sees. And it will all be preserved by the adding of "salt".

What not to add or have in the offering:

Leaven - puffs up the yeast - we are not to respond with "Pride".

"Honey" - why honey? Honey is a natural sweetener. Don't come to God with your own natural attributes (no matter how sweet). Symbolically - the only sweetness God wants from you is the sweetness of the perfect humanity of Christ working in you. To the Israelites - depend on God to develop your "response" if the sacrifices are done with the right heart.
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PEACE OFFERING

Accepted, responded, and now the need for peace. the peace of security, emotional stability, an untroubled heart.

This offering can be male or female. Peace does not depend on postion - leader or follower - all need this "peace".

All the "fat" was to be cut out and consumed (burned) at the altar. Fat symbolizes the "richness of life". It is the Lords' to give.

They were to eat no "blood" (symbol of Life), nor fat (richness of life), they are the Lord's to give.

By offering the "fat", the Israelite was saying - he is dependant on God for the richness of his life. He can be at peace because he is accepted by the Lord (burnt offering), and God provides.

havent read Friday's yet, but I have a genuine Q, I have always wondered about, i cant get an answer for. in Prov v. 11 “For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.” So much in the Bible you hear, do this so you may live many years…do this and you life will be long.

---now God knows how glorious and wonderful heaven is. He knows the pain and trouble we have in life. Why would He ‘reward’ us by prolonging our time on earth? I would think he would shorten our days to be with Him. Like with Enoch…he walked with God, He pleased God, then he was taken up. We are passing through here unto we reach our true destination, our heavenly home with Him. We call all agree on that. So why is a long life on earth shown as if it’s a reward? I’m totally not being facetious here, i really just dont understand. a long life on earth has never appealed to me. if anyone has an answer i'd appreciate it.

I think - and it's my very very personal opinion - that we're here to serve Him as disciples and bring the Gospel to people in order to bring them to the Lord.
1 Samuel 12:24 "But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you".
My life is to serve the Lord and I LOVE it! I want to preach the Gospel, share my tesitmony's hoping that the unsaved will get the need to find Jesus Christ and let Him be their personal Saviour. I truly believe that we - as in we: Christians - are here in the world not only to live in God's Word, but also to share God's Word and give Him the chance to talk through us and shine through us. So we can bring more people into His Kingdom. My life is not about me anymore, it's about Him ... it's about bringing more and more people to Him. I want to save people and give them such beautiful life as I have! So for me it would be a reward to be here on earth for a long time, I hope by the time I'm grey and old I brought hundreds of people to His Kingdom and that would be a huge reward and then it's time to go to my heavenly home with Him. And He can look into my heart and sees what I've done for Him out of love for Him. I gave my life ....

Verses that stood out for me today:
Mark 2:10 "So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins".
Psalm 35:23 "Wake up! Rise to my defense! Take up my case, my God and my Lord".
Psalm 35:28 "Then I will proclaim your justice, and I will praise you all day long".
Proverbs 9:17-18 “Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!” But little do they know that the dead are there. Her guests are in the depths of the grave".

As for my emotions towards God ... well ... I cried in my prayers, laughed in my prayers, yelled in my prayers, sang in my prayers ... I don't hide for God, cause He knows anyway. I think it's okay for us to cry before God, why wouldn't it? He knows, He can look right into our hearts. Praying out loud and let my emotions go, that makes me feel closer to God.

Jenny - all that keeps coming to my mind when I read your question is Phil 1:21..."To live is Christ, to die is gain". We've got work to do! I often wondered why we just don't pop into heaven right after we get saved...would be much easier! But God truly has a plan for our lives to be used to bring Him glory. Anyway - just my opinion...hope it helps a little. :0)

Mark 1:35 - "Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed." Just a reminder to maybe set that alarm a wee bit earlier!!! It will be worth it! :0)

Crying before God...all I can say is "yes, often!" - I have to be real with God because I know He knows the real me anyway. Why put up a front. I do get mad at God, I've yelled at Him...it's actually refreshing to be real with Him. I know He understands me.

The verses in Proverbs reminds me that sin is always going to be tempting..."stolen water is sweet, food eaten in secret is delicious". It's always going to be enticing and our flesh will probably always long for it in some form or another. I'm glad we serve a big merciful, loving and forgiving God!

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY;

“…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? “

God is the only person before whom I feel comfortable crying and I have done so on several occasions when in prayer. I always felt better afterward. I think holding back emotions is something men do more often than women because we are taught by society that strong men don’t cry in public. With God, however, it is a good thing to acknowledge our weakness and be ourselves. Besides that, being in the presence of God can often be an emotional thing in itself.


LEVITICUS 1:1-3:17

First of all, I just want to say that Leviticus is an awesome book and I don’t find it to be hard reading at all. However, if I were a new believer I would want to read the New Testament, especially the Book of Hebrews, before I tackle it though.


1:1-17 The Burnt Offering, fig. of both the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ and also of our own Christ-likeness for a “sweet savour to the Lord ( vv. 9, 13,17 ).

“ Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”

- Ephesians 5:2 ( KJV )

2:1-16 The Meat Offering, fig. of the life of Christ, as our example, and also holiness in our lives and service to the Lord, symbolized by the “unleavened “ wafers “anointed with oil “ which represents the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said: “… My MEAT is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work “ - John 4:34 ( KJV ).

3:1-17 The Peace Offering, fig. of the peace we have with God through Jesus Christ
( Romans 5:1 ).

“ For it pleased the Father that in him [ Jesus ] should all fulness dwell; And, having made PEACE through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

- Colossians 1:20 ( KJV ).

MARK 1:29-2:12

Jesus, out of compassion ( 1:41 ), healed many sick and diseased people during his ministry. Miracles defy human reason ( 2:8 ) which is why the world primarily puts its trust in physicians. Don’t get me wrong I am not telling people not to get medical attention and treatment for their infirmities. I am just saying that many don’t look to the Lord first for healing. I believe that God stills heals sickness and disease in answer to prayer. I am somewhat dismayed that many churches do not practice James 5:14-16. I am wary though of certain faith healers, primarily those in the Word of Faith movement. The same goes for exorcisms. Jesus also cast out devils. Why doesn’t the church take a more active role in casting out devils and exercising the authority over them that He gave to us? Isn’t that part of the Great Commission too?

“ And he [ Jesus ] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

- Mark 16:15-18 ( KJV )

PSALM 35:17-28

The passage is a plea to God for rescue from our enemies ( v.17 ), from the pride of man, from the strife of their tongues ( Psalm 31:20 ) and not allowing them to prevail nor to rejoice over us ( v.19, 25 ). I see it as applying to those who would mock our faith and devour us like lions if given the opportunity. The fact that they are called “lions” ( v.17 ) indicates to me that they are under satanic influence ( 1 Peter 5:8 ).


PROVERBS 9:13-18

In the preceding verses ( 1-6 ) Wisdom is pictured as woman which I interpret to represent the Bride of Christ, or the Church which is His body. A contrast is drawn in this passage between her and another woman ( vv.13-18 ) who is foolish ( v.13 ) which represents, in my view, the wisdom of this world. Like as the first woman issues an invitation to guests to come to her supper that is prepared ( Marriage Supper of the Lamb? ), the foolish woman also invites guests to the table she has prepared which I see as being “ the table of Devils “ ( 1 Corinthians 10:21 ). The “stolen waters” ( v.17 ) is fig. of adultery ( 5:15-20 ) and applies both sexually and spiritually, in my view, as the world encourages sexual immorality today through the philosophy of moral relativism and the false Church commits fornication with the world. All the godless, humanistic philosophies of man could apply here. The “bread eaten in secret” is no doubt leavened and represents iniquity. The secrecy reminds me also of the Babylonian mystery religions and secret societies with their secret initiation rites and secret oaths. Among those who accept the invitation of the foolish woman were those who were too preoccupied with the cares of this world ( v.15 ) to accept God’s invitation. The guests who accept the invitation of the foolish woman are deceived and at the end of their journey will find out that they have arrived in Hell ( v.18 ).

I lived in vegas in 2001 and went to a great church. The pastor went through Leviticus and he made it interesting! So i hope we all do our best to learn from it. I am very sensitive to animals so i have to skip some of the grosser stuff concerning the animal offerings :(
God understands, He made me :}

In Mark 2, Jesus heals the paralytic. I was listening to a sermon on this last week and the pastor mentioned that it was his friends who had faith in Jesus, not necessarily the man. This shows the importance of being surrounded by believers, who will have faith in Jesus to restore us even if we doubt. the pastor also mentioned some of the phony "faith healers" that say 'you arent healed b'cos u dont have enough faith. to that the pastor said, well then they should have faith for me! if I dont 'have enough faith your 'great faith' should restore me. haha.
I just love Jesus! Not only did He come to die for the sins of the world, He loooved to minister to ppl, heal them, cast out demons, restore them. awesome!

I love ps. vv. 23 "Awake, and rise to my defense!
Contend for me, my God and Lord.
24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, O LORD my God;
do not let them gloat over me"
--I have sooo seen this in my life, ppl that seek to harm me or gloat, i see God's hand bring them down. God is my fortress n protector, my defense!! Its incredible...sometimes i dont even ask...its as if my distressed spirit in me is presented to the Lord, n those who may wish harm on me are disciplined. I have seen this so many times...God is awesome! i have nothing to fear b'cos God has my back! I dont worry about 'getting even' or any of that, i just let Him deal with them...and He does, believe you me! I almost want to warn ppl who seek to harm me, be careful...You dont seem to know who my Father is, and He does not delight in seeing His children crushed! (my first real lesson in this was wen i was like 12, i was walking my dog with my best friend and long story short, sum lady cussed me out bad from her house and told me: 'i hope your @ss gets run over some day!' I was so upset, i went home n told my mom and cried and cried to God, i didnt understand how she could be so cruel! a few months later, i saw her house got hit by a car! i remembered wat she said to me and was like, hmm, coincidence?) thats just one of a series of things.
I never had a brother or husband or someone who i felt protected me (maybe this is a woman thing, the need to feel protected by a man)...my dad wasnt all that protective, kinda let me do my thing. but i think something in women, and i'm sure men too, we have a need to feel protected. Let me tell you, that need is sooooo fulfilled as a child of God! But soooo above n beyond anything a human could do to protect.


Do I try to hide emotions from God? never! He knows em anyway! If I'm angry, sad, I tell Him! i scream, cry, rant, rave, and wen its over, He waits til i'm done, then speaks to me and restores me! have i ever criedto HIm? absolutely! i'm not really one who cries around others, and it was always so hard for me to ask for help, but i never hold back from the Lord. The oceans I have cried before Him. He has brought me a long way...in learning to ask others for help too, i was always so 'tough' and prideful, but god broke me down, He wants us to ask for help, from Him...but also from others too. maybe more men can relate to that feeling of reluctance to ask for help/pride then females idk.

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