Leviticus 14:1-57 ~ Mark 6:30-56 ~ Psalm 40:1-10 ~ Proverbs 10:11-12
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Old Testament - Today in Leviticus chapter 14 we read about cleansing from skin diseases and treatment of contaminated houses. I found the treatment of the mildew in the houses quite fascinating - with verse 45 telling us about the ultimatum for a house if the mildew reappears: "It must be torn down, and all its stones, timbers, and plaster must be carried out of town to the place designated as ceremonially unclean." This chapter again goes into the clean & the unclean. If you didn't get chance to read the bible.org commentary on Clean & Unclean from Leviticus chapters 12 through 15, you may want to take a few minutes to read it at this link. Also, a sermon from Peninsula Bible Church with some interesting points on Leviticus chapters 13 & 14 titled "Sick Garments and Diseased Houses" is at this link. Verses 52 & 53 today: "After he has purified the house in this way, he will release the living bird in the open fields outside the town. In this way, the priest will make atonement for the house, and it will be ceremonially clean."
New Testament - Today we read in Mark Chapter 6 verse 46: “Afterward he (Jesus) went up into the hills by himself to pray.” What a beautiful verse for each of us to meditate upon! Jesus went by himself to pray to God. It is interesting to note that this took place just after Jesus fed the 5,000. Jesus had been working hard – he is God and yet he still felt the call to pray to the Father. I think this verse is such a great reminder that you and I need to follow Jesus’ example in this verse. And we’re so not God! :) So, think about how much more crucial it is for us to pray. Jesus knew that God was his source of strength. His comfort. His wisdom. And prayer was the one sure fire way for Jesus to really connect and spend time with God. How is your prayer life these days? Are you finding a good amount of time each day to be by yourself and pray? If not, can you schedule this time into your calendar each day? A stained glass image from today's readings about Jesus feeding the 5,000:
Psalms - The U2 fans out there will know that the band released a song called "40" in 1983 inspired by Psalm 40. The band took most of the lyrics for this song straight from the early verses of this Psalm - and I quote here from the song, not the Psalm per se - "I waited patiently for the Lord, He inclined and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit; Out of the miry clay. He set my feet upon a rock; And made my footsteps firm. Many will see; Many will see and hear." The song also could have also been called "6" because the refrain is from Psalm 6 verse 3: "How long, O LORD, how long?" A quote from Bono on the song is this: "'40' became the closing song at U2 shows and on hundreds of occasions, literally hundreds of thousands of people of every size and shape t-shirt have shouted back the refrain pinched from 'Psalm 6': 'How long to sing this song.' I thought of it as a nagging question - pulling at the hem of an invisible deity whose presence we glimpse only when we act in love. How long...hunger? How long...hatred? How long until creation grows up and the chaos of its precocious adolescence has been discarded? I thought it odd that the vocalising of such questions could bring such comfort; to me too." Has anyone heard U2 play "40" in concert before? I did twice - once back on the Joshua Tree tour way back in 1987 and once a couple years ago on the Vertigo tour. It's a beautiful song - written really by David!
Proverbs - Today we read in Proverbs chapter 10 verse 11: “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.” WOW! I love this Proverb on so many levels. The idea of a “fountain of life” is such a great metaphor! Because I think what comes out of our mouth is so much like a fountain – and we are hopefully pouring forth Living Water for others. However, I imagine that there are times when our fountain is not quite so clean and we’re pouring forth something else. I think what I find so meaningful about this verse is that I have really been convicted of how important and impactful our words are to others. Our words can really build people up – or tear people down if we are not careful. I don’t know about you, but I know there are times in my life when I can be negative with what I say. Then, there are times when I can be very positive and I feel like the enthusiasm is contagious to others. And these are the times when perhaps my words seem to be a bit more like a fountain of life. I say all of this to just encourage you to reflect on the words that come from your mouth.
Worship God: Today as we're reading Psalm 40 and per my comments on this Psalm above, I'd like to share with you a live performance of U2's "40" at Red Rocks on June 5, 1983. Watch this video all the way to the end to see the crowd at Red Rocks singing "How long to sing this song?" over and over again...
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture this week: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Matthew 5:6 NIV
Comments from you & Questions of the Day: Per Proverbs 10:11 above, are your words typically a fountain of life to others? Are you cognizant of what you say and how you say it to others around you so that your words truly will become a fountain of life to others? Or are you sometimes careless with your words? Do you think our words matter? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Psalm 40 opened up to me in a new way today. I love the way it starts with:
"I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry."
How often I need to wait on the Lord. When I do, He does "turn to me and hear my cry." The psalmist spills out his heart, and ends with:
"I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly."
A great reminder that we should not hide the "many wonders" that God has shown to us. I was encouraged to reveal God's "love and truth" to a world that needs to hear it.
Posted by: Gary | February 23, 2009 at 05:25 AM
How sad that the crowd never had a clue what they were singing and where it originated. How sad that U2 with that song were espousing what I call Cosmic Christianity...propagating New Age theology hidden amidst Christian terminology. In ignorance they worship creation rather than the Creator and spread their message through music. We should not be surprised as Lucifer was the Chief musician before his fall. We should pray for U2 and all those who are deceived by the master of deception.
Sadly how many of us forget to pray for music, movie and TV stars...Satan loves to use them to get his message across. He goes after them and they are easy prey...for who witnesses to them or even prays for them.
Posted by: Jan | February 23, 2009 at 05:35 AM
Thanks for the various links to the commentaries on Leviticus, particularly Bible.org. They've been very insightful in gleaning truth and context from among these outwardly seeming grotesque sacrifices. I completely understand now Moses' argument to Pharaoh that the Israelites had to go into the wilderness to worship because their worship would have been abhorring to the Egyptians.
All the symbolism rings with truth when linked to the New Testament but it's hard to imagine how I would have responded to these sacrifices without the benefit of the New Testament and the wisdom and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I grew up on a farm and I’ve helped with the butchering of large animals and I still remember some of the noxious sights, and particularly the odors, of all the blood and guts. Some of the smells linger with you for days. It’s hard to imagine a Holy place with the sights and smells of blood, guts, and burnt flesh; particularly when Solomon dedicated the temple and sacrificed thousands. It’s Interesting that there is no mention of how to clean up after these sacrifices. Were the priests allowed to wash off the blood from their ears, thumbs, and toes; their priestly garments; the alter itself? Without the benefit of context, it’s terribly difficult to imagine how the LORD was pleased with the “sweet smelling aroma” of these sacrifices. Thank God for the incense that was also burned on the altar. From an outsider’s perspective, where is God in the midst of all this public killing? Surely to any outsider this would seem appalling.
Posted by: Briggs | February 23, 2009 at 09:45 AM
Thank you for these thoughtful passages which give much food for thought. Another good Bible lesson, check out the interview at:
Posted by: Harry | February 23, 2009 at 12:40 PM