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Leviticus 11:1-12:8 ~ Mark 5:21-43
Psalm 38:1-22 ~ Proverbs 10:8-9
Old Testament - Today in Leviticus chapter 11 we read about ceremonially clean and unclean animals for the Israelites. Tyndale's One Year Bible Companion commentary on this chapter today states that "there were several reasons for this restricted diet - 1. to ensure the health of the nation. The forbidden foods were usually scavenging animals that fed on dead animals; thus disease could be transmitted through them. 2. to visibly distinguish Israel from other nations. The pig, for example, was a common sacrifice of pagan religions. 3. To avoid objectionable associations. The creatures that move about on the ground, for example, were reminiscent of serpents, which often symbolized sin."
Verses 20-22 mention of eating locusts reminded me of John the Baptist: "You are to consider detestable all swarming insects that walk along the ground. However, there are some exceptions that you may eat. These include insects that jump with their hind legs: locusts of all varieties, crickets, bald locusts, and grasshoppers. All these may be eaten." Commentary at bible.org on "The Clean & the Unclean" from Leviticus chapter 11 is at this link, and from chapter 12 is at this link. And yes, in theory, this is a grasshopper in the image below. It's clean! :)
Today in chapter 11 verse 44 we read: “After all, I, the LORD, am your God. You must be holy because I am holy.” How does this verse speak to you? Do you think about being holy? Do you want to be holy? Zondervan shares the following commentary on this verse – “Holiness is the key theme of Leviticus, ringing like a refrain in various forms throughout the book. The word “holy” appears more often in Leviticus than in any other book of the Bible. Israel was to be totally consecrated to God. Her holiness was to be expressed in every aspect of her life, to the extent that all of life had a certain ceremonial quality. Because of who God is and what he has done, his people must dedicate themselves fully to him.” Check out Peter quoting from this Leviticus verse in 1 Peter 1 verses 13-16 – “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”” How do these verses speak to you? Do you think about being holy? Do you want to be holy?
New Testament - The structure of today's readings in Mark chapter 5 are amazing! The narrative starts with Jairus asking Jesus to heal his daughter who is about to die - but, then, in the middle of the narrative Jesus' journey is stopped by a woman who simply wants to touch Jesus' robe so that she will be healed from a 12-year suffering. And verse 34 in this portion is just so beautiful as Jesus says to the now healed woman: ""Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. You have been healed.""
Then, the narrative cuts back to Jairus, but it sounds like it's too late for Jesus to come to the house. Messengers report that the little girl has died. Jesus simply tells Jairus in verse 36 - "Just trust me." (which is something so powerful that I believe Jesus says to you and me today too - "Just trust me." Don't worry about anything else in this passing life. "Just trust me.") And then in verses 40 & 41 we read: "Then he took the girl's father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. Holding her hand, he said to her, "Get up, little girl!"
Commentary from Bob Deffinbaugh at bible.org on today's readings in Mark chapter 5 entitled "Where there is Death there is Hope" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 38 is powerful. Verses 4 & 5 speak so much to our human condition - "My guilt overwhelms me--it is a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins." Does this verse speak to you in any way, shape or form? If so, please consider then verse 18 - "But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done." Will you confess your sins to God today? Will you admit that you are truly sorry for your sins? Will you pray for healing from your sins? Will you make confession of your sins to God a regular practice?
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 10 verse 8 is a good reminder to consider how much and how often and how meaningful our words are when we speak: "The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces."
Comments from you & Question of the Day: Related to this Proverb above, I read an article recently about how "small talk" is getting more prevalent in our world today. And as a society we are speaking less often about sincere or meaningful matters. Instead we prefer to talk a lot about the weather or sports or celebrities. It does make me wonder - is some of this small talk just babbling? I don't know. I guess I just pray that when we speak we will speak sincerely in truth and love. And not just talk to hear ourselves talk. Do you think that some of our small talk is simply babbling? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!