Leviticus 24:1-25:46 + Mark 10:13-31 + Psalm 44:9-26 + Proverbs 10:20-21
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Old Testament - We begin month 3 of our One Year Bible readings today! Whoo-hoo! Congratulations! 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. Commentary on Leviticus chapter 24 titled "The Lamp, the Loaves and The Loudmouth" :) is at Bible.org at this link. Commentary on Leviticus chapter 25 is at this link and at this link.
Well, I learned something new! This is pretty awesome - 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 well in this photo below - I believe the inscription is around the top of the bell, where you'll see 2 lines near the top and can make out the word "Proclaim.")
In Leviticus 25 verses 9 & 10 today we read: "Then on the Day of Atonement of the fiftieth year, blow the trumpets loud and long throughout the land. This year will be set apart as holy, a time to proclaim release for all who live there. It will be a jubilee year for you, when each of you returns to the lands that belonged to your ancestors and rejoins your clan."
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 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 your "camel" go, so that you won't be like this camel 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 - 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.
Worship Video: My Leviticus reflections above, and particularly that eye photo, reminded me of the song "Open the Eyes of My Heart." Here's Michael W. Smith's live version.
Are the eyes of your heart opened? Click here and open your eyes!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on three verses of Scripture today: "Jesus said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them." Mark 10:14-16 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you will have faith like a child. Pray that you will always bless and serve and teach children in your life.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What is your take on the Rich Man / Rich Young Ruler? Why do you think Jesus said he should sell all he had and give to the poor? Are there areas in your life where Jesus has asked you to give up something? Maybe something material or maybe something more like an addiction or obsession, etc.? Have you obeyed Jesus in this regard? Was it a blessing to obey Jesus? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our One Year Bible readings at this link.
p.s. #2 - Download a schedule of our One Year Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
p.s. #3 - I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this One Year Bible Blog ministry today! Please also consider partnering with us by financially supporting this ministry. Thank you!
"Command the people of Israel to provide you with pure olive oil for the lampstand, …” Just noticed that there is a big difference here from when the people voluntarily offered (Exodus 25: 2) whatever was on their heart to give back in Exodus. I don’t have time to look up the Hebrew word that this English word, “Command,” sites on but when I have time I will look it up.
I think it would also be interesting to chart out what type and under what circumstances God asks for a “freewill” offering as opposed to ones that are commanded.
Mike I’m not sure that the “Just Punishment” section is really about retaliation as much as it is about the priests matting out just and righteous punishment. If Leviticus was written as guidelines for the priests, then the entire book needs to be looked at from that perspective. The problem lay folks have is that we can run off on a tangent (your favorite word) when we have information without training. Information is great when we become partners with our Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, etc, however, when we try to do their job and usurp their “authority” in dealing with them because we have information, then we get into trouble. Either we need to change professionals, if they are unaware or ignorant of the basics and new information that comes out daily, or we need to support them with the information they have.
One of the things I have taken note of in chapter 25 in dealing with the Sabbath Year (seven), the Year of Jubilee (50) and the return of property, that is not in walled cities, to the original owners is that this is suppose to be a celebratory event. However, in order to be ecstatic about this if you are not the party being released, one must practice love for your neighbor as a lifestyle! There is also a type or element of restoration and redemption from sin as one would be rescued from either bad choices or environmental circumstances that would have caused selling oneself into slavery, or selling off the family home. Looking at the Hebrew or Greek root of the work translated “sin” you would see that it means “to miss the mark.” So one can be aiming for the bulls eye but miss the mark, which is what sin really is. In a careful reading of the first few chapters of Leviticus you will see that the sacrifices first mentioned are for “unintentional” sins.
Because we are so adverse to the word “sin” we shy away from it not realizing that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and it is not big sins or little sins that merit the death penalty, it is SIN (singular) PERIOD, intentional and unintentional. Although the penalty for sin, big, little or medium, is death the gift of God is life, eternal life.
“Good Teacher/Master …” begins the Rich Young Man begins his address to Jesus. There is more to his statement to Jesus then meets the eye. By calling Jesus good he was stating that Jesus had “worked out his salvation/redemption” and he, the Rich Young Man was looking to join him. In Judaism (I hope there are Jewish scholars on this Blog to either confirm or refute what I’m about to state), especially in Hasidim, redemption is worked out be “good works,” so by calling Jesus “Good” he was either validating that Jesus, like him, was a good guy (Only one greater than you can validate someone lesser---now that can be a whole discussion See Hebrews 7:7)) or he was seeking validation himself. If this man was seeking to validate Jesus, thus placing himself above God, then Jesus’ remarks to him, at least for me, carry greater weight and conviction then I’ve ever thought about. Yes, I know that he ran to Jesus, yes I know that he bowed down, but I also know that we participate in “false” humility all the time to “justify ourselves.” And if we are justifying ourselves, we are not doing it for ourselves we are doing it for those around us so that they know how great and wonderful we are. We are already thinking that we are great (large and in charge) and we want others to know that we are.
I really have to rethink the entire dynamic of this little scene, even the conversation Jesus has with his thoroughly confused disciples afterwards. And if you notice the commandments that Jesus gave to him were the ones dealing with outwardly behavior toward man, those were the ones this guy kept; however what wasn’t mentioned were the commandments that dealt with the “heart.” The first four commandments can be outwardly demonstrated; however inwardly, in the heart without anyone knowing them, you can break them. Jesus didn’t mention those four, I wonder why? (The question is rhetorical)
Although the writer is speaking in the plural, we and us, this Psalm seems to really speaking about the Messiah. Only the Messiah, the sinless one, can make with any kind of certainty, the bold statements of being without sin.
17 All this has happened despite our loyalty to you.
We have not violated your covenant.
18 Our hearts have not deserted you.
We have not strayed from your path
There are a lot of fools out here in the world because Common Sense, is not so common. The question for is, "Do I lack some of this uncommon Common Sense?"
21 …but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | February 28, 2023 at 09:27 PM