Tuesday, February 21, 2017

February 21: Leviticus 11 – 12; Psalm 38; Proverbs 10:8-9; Mark 5:21-43



Overview

            Leviticus: The Lord tells Moses and Aaron which animals are acceptable for food and which ones they are not to be eaten, the clean and the unclean. If it has a cloven hoof and chews its cud, then it is clean. If not, then it is unclean. The water creatures that are clean have fins and scales. Others are unclean. A list of unclean birds is provided. Insects are unclean unless they are hoppers. Reptiles are also unclean. Things that swarm on the ground are unclean.
            If anyone touches the carcass of an unclean animal, he becomes unclean and must wash his clothes. He will remain unclean until evening. If an unclean animal dies and falls into or on something, it must be washed. If it is an earthenware pot, it must be broken. Exceptions are cisterns, springs of water, and seeds to be sown.
            If a clean animal dies, anyone who touches it or eats it becomes unclean until evening.
            When a woman gives birth, she will be unclean for a week plus thirty-three days if it is a male and two weeks plus sixty-six days if it is a female. The male child must be circumcised on the eight day. To finish her unclean time, she must make a burnt offering of a lamb and a pigeon or turtledove as a sin offering. If she can’t afford a lamb, then she must bring a pigeon or turtledove instead.
            Psalm: David is mourning because of his sins. He is pleading with God not to abandon him. His sins have caused him emotional and physical pain. Even so, he is waiting for the Lord. He recounts that not only does he have these problems but people are against him. In the depth of this anguish, he confesses and is sorry for his sin. Still, his foes are many and he asks God to hurry and help him.
            Proverbs: We see a contrast to one who receives instruction versus one who doesn’t because he yammers on and on. Integrity provides a safe walk but crooked ways are evident.
            Mark: Jesus gets back in the boat and leaves the area of the Gerasenes and crosses the Sea of Galilee again. He is now on the west bank. A crowd comes around him when a synagogue leader, Jairus, asks him to come and heal his daughter who is about to die. So Jesus starts on his way through the crowd. A woman who had a bleeding problem for twelve years thinks that if she touches his garment she will be healed. She does and is healed. Jesus asks who touched him as he knew healing power had gone out from him. The disiciples are a bit astonished that he would ask because the crowd evidently was bumping into him. She confesses and Jesus affirms her healing.
            When Jesus gets to Jarius’ house, the girl is dead. Jesus tells him not to fear but believe. He takes only John, James, and Peter in the house and tells the mourners that she is only asleep. They laugh at him so he tosses them out, heals the girl, and tells the parent to keep quiet about it and feed her.

What Stood Out

            Leviticus: “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy” (Lev 11:44).
            Psalm: “ My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness” (Ps 38:5).
            Proverbs: “The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin” (Prov 10:8).
            Mark: “But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth” (Mark 5:33).

Insight

            Leviticus: I am very thankful that the dietary laws do not apply anymore to Christians. While these regulations of what is unclean and clean are not very restrictive, I would not want to have to break our china because a bug died and fell on it. I also wonder just how many Christians would give up their bacon cheeseburgers or Red Lobster gift cards if these were still the regulations. Some may argue that we should still observe these because God was providing sound dietary habits, but this is not the reason he did it. The reason he did it was provide in Leviticus 11:44-45, “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy … You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
            The people of Israel were to be a separate nation. They were to consecrate themselves from the other nations. They were supposed to eat differently to show that God separated them to be holy. God clearly changed that for both Jews and Gentiles when he revealed to Peter that the dietary laws were obsolete (Acts 10:9-16). God specifically told him, “What God has made clean, do not call common” (Acts 10:15).
            Our holiness does not come from observing dietary laws to show that we are different from the world. Peter clarified in 1 Peter 1:13-19 that our holiness comes from being sober-minded and setting our hope on Jesus Christ. It is by being transformed from the passions and ignorance of our previous lives. We were ransomed from our futile ways by the blood of Jesus. We are to be holy in all our conduct.
            We are new creations in Christ, so we should act that way.
            Psalm: I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a position where my sins have caused wounds that stink. But it is certainly something that occurs with some people. They probably wouldn’t admit it in these days of tolerance if it did. Sexual sin often brings diseases. Bitterness and unforgiveness often bring all sorts of pains and anguish in a person’s life. Certain lifestyle habits (according to the world – not sin) such as gluttony, smoking, drinking, and drugs are destructive. Some are labeled with different words so that they are diseases and therefore the person is a victim instead of a sinner. Whatever foolishness (sin) David did to get into his mess; he confessed it and was sorry. It’s probably time that I look at by sin and label it what it really is instead of making it respectable by giving it a different name.
            Proverbs: These proverbs fit well with what I said for Psalm 38. If I’m listening to God and following his commandments, then it demonstrates that I have understanding. However, babbling fools are so busy talking they can’t even hear instruction. This is one of the problems that lead to changing the labels of sin into politically correct terms. There is too much talking and too little listening to God. Left off here
            Mark: There are two stories intertwined in this episode of Jesus’ life. Seldom is life simple and this is an example. We call them interruptions and usually are perturbed at them. Some people call them divine appointments. This last is certainly the case for Jesus. But we also have to look a Jairus. His daughter is dying and Jesus is on his way to heal her. But Jesus stops and asks who in the crowd touched him. I’m sure Jairus was perturbed. I would have been; I would have been thinking, “What is he doing? Doesn’t he know that every second counts?” Instead, of continuing in haste, Jesus stops and clearly isn’t going to move until he finds out who was healed and the story behind it. Notice that the woman who was healed came forward and told him everything. Mark summed it up quickly, but I’m confident that it took the woman a lot longer than the few seconds it took to read Mark’s account. In the meantime, Jairus is anxiously waiting for Jesus to get moving.
            The woman was afraid and came trembling before Jesus. People called Jesus Rabbi and with that title, there were certain distinctions between him and common people. A good Jewish woman who had a flow of blood wouldn’t think about touching a Rabbi. That would make him unclean (Lev 15:19). He would be furious because his holiness would be corrupted and he would have to remain unclean until evening. Seeing how the legalistic Pharisees treated people, it is no wonder she was secretive and had fear when she was discovered.
            The grace of Jesus is evident toward her as he listens to her story, in the middle of a huge crowd, and does not blame her, condemn her, but tells her to go in peace. God receives the glory and even more people now understand Jesus’ awesomeness.
            Except maybe for Jairus, his daughter has just died. This is no problem for Jesus and he assures Jairus not to fear. All the panic, anxiousness, and fear melt away when Jesus raises his child. What’s the saying? “God’s timing is perfect. He is rarely early but never late.” He can work many miracles all at the same time.

Application

            I’m thankful that my holiness is not dependent upon keeping track of multiple laws, regulations, and rituals. I need to remember that even though this is true, I’m still to live a holy life, transformed from my old ways to the law of life that sets us free in Christ (Rom 8:1-2).
            I also need to remember that when God is delaying, there is always a reason. It may not be what I understand, but he doesn’t work in my life alone; he works for the good of everyone he loves all at the same time (Rom 8:28).

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