Monday, February 27, 2017

February 27: Leviticus 20:22 – 22:16; Psalm 43; Proverbs 10:18; Mark 9:1-9:29



Overview

            Leviticus: The Lord repeats the reasons for the statutes. The people are to be holy because he is holy. The nations in the land he is giving them did all these things and it was detestable to him. He also repeats for the third time warning against occult involvement. Holy behavior for the priests is prescribed in mourning the dead, marriage, and dress. The chief priest is even more restricted in his mourning for dead relatives and marriage. No priest who enters the sanctuary may be diseased, deformed, or even have a blemish.
            The priests who are unclean for any reason may not come near the holy things that the people of Israel dedicate to the Lord. They must go through the cleansing ceremony before they can officiate again. A layperson may not eat of any of the holy portions belonging to the priests unless he is a slave living in the house of a priest. A priest’s daughter who marries a layperson may not eat of the holy things unless she returns to her father’s house without having a child. Anyone who eats of a holy thing must make restitution and add a fifth of the value.
            Psalm: David asks God to vindicate him against ungodly people. He took refuge in God and then asks why he is still depressed about these people. He asks for God’s light and truth so he can worship with joy and praise. He again asks why he is so depressed and tells himself to hope in God, and again praise him for his salvation.
            Proverbs: Concealing hate for a person is nothing but lying. Slandering another person is foolish.
            Mark: Jesus tells his disciples that some with him will not die before they see the kingdom of God come with power. He then took Peter, James, and John to a mountaintop where he is transfigured in intensely white clothes. Moses and Elijah appear with him and talk with him. Peter wants to make a tent for each but a cloud comes over them and a voice tells them Jesus is his son and listen to him. Then everything returns to normal. On the way down, Jesus tells them not to tell anyone about it until he is raised. They don’t understand.
            In the meantime, a crowd gathered around his other disciples because they couldn’t cast a demon out of a boy. Jesus rebukes them for their unbelief. He asks about the situation then says that all things are possible for those who believe. The boy’s father asks for help in his unbelief. Jesus casts out the demon. The disciples ask why they couldn’t cast out the demon and Jesus answers, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer” (Mark 9:29).

What Stood Out

            Leviticus: “A man or a woman who is a medium or a wizard shall surely be put to death” (Lev 20:27).
            Psalm: “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me” (Ps 43:3).
            Proverbs: “Whoever utters slander is a fool” (Prov 10:18).
            Mark: “So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean” (Mark 9:10).

Insight

            Leviticus: The Lord detested occult behavior so much that he has mentioned different activities several times in the Bible. Astrology and anything else that attempts to discern or affect the future by spells or charms is an affront to the Lord. He ties these sins together when he reprimanded Saul for making sacrifices instead of waiting for Samuel. He said, “Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols (1 Sam 15:23 NLT). All these forms of sorcery are rebelling against God by looking for answers from demonic forces. Let’s face it. There is only one God and when someone gets information about the future or affects the future by some other means, that information can only come from someone who is rebelling against God. Since we don’t have the ability within ourselves to do it, the ones providing this help must be in the spiritual realm. The angels do God’s bidding, always and without exception. So that leaves demons. Worshiping idols is nothing more than worshiping the demons that hide behind them (1 Cor 10:20).
            As I pointed out yesterday, many of the prohibitions were based on eliminating the occult practices of the nations. Our culture is more obsessed with this behavior than most of us imagine. Almost every newspaper has astrology readings. Type “astrology predictions” into Google and see that the world is ready to lead you into this dark realm. If that were not enough, evolution has convinced most people that life started on some other planet. They believe that aliens exist and have either visited or will visit this planet. Where do you think these “aliens” originate? It is nothing more than another form of occult worship.
            Remember what the Lord did to those cultures that participated in these activities as well as all the other sins he prohibited. The priests of those cultures were the worst but God called the priest of Israel to be far better than anyone else in Israel. But now, we are priest of God (1 Peter 2:9) and we should be living holy lives that are examples to the world. That would mean making sure we have nothing to do with the occult.
            Psalm: This appears to be a continuation of Psalm 42. David is depressed and in turmoil because of the oppression of his enemies. I wonder sometimes just what kinds of enemies I have that would cause this kind of depression. I think about the spiritual warfare that goes around us every day and we don’t even realize it. Is it those enemies? That’s one possibility, but that’s not what normally causes our pain and depression. Personal relationships are probably more often the cause. If you’ve ever had a person at work or even in your family that has caused you grief, it is extremely hard to face that person every day. I’ve experienced both. What is the solution to overcoming depression that happens? It is in asking God for his light and truth. They will bring us out of the shadows into his holy dwelling (Ps 43:3). Assuming that we’ve done everything possible to live in peace with the person (Rom 12:18) then the only thing left is to hope in God and let him take care of it (Rom 12:19).
            Proverbs: Is it really so bad to conceal hatred for another person? Consider this, Jesus said hatred in your heart is the same as murder (Matt 5:21-22). Keeping it concealed is only lying to God. This means that concealing it just keeps the sin going rather than confessing it and repenting. This doesn’t mean that we should tell people when we hate them, we should remove the hate.
            Slander always seems to catch up with a person. It is foolish to slander because you’ll only suffer for it when it is eventually discovered.
            Mark: Jesus’ transfiguration and conversation with Moses and Elijah is obviously a glorious and wonderful event in the life of Jesus. But, we don’t know what the three said to each other. We don’t know the purpose of the transfiguration. Some speculate that this is what Jesus was talking about when he said some would see the kingdom come in power before they died. I really don’t know. But I do know that the power of the kingdom came not necessarily on that day but the day when the Holy Spirit come on the day of Pentecost. From that day on, the kingdom of God advanced with the power of the Holy Spirit.
            I also know from this appearance that those who precede us in death have some form of a recognizable body. These were Old Testament saints. They weren’t unconscious and were most likely aware of what was happening on the earth, at least regarding Jesus. I also know this was another affirmation of the deity of Jesus. It also sparked the disciples question about Elijah coming first.
            It also points out that even though Peter had declared that Jesus is the Messiah, they still didn’t understand that Jesus must die and be raised again. While they had a lot of faith it was still not enough. And that was demonstrated with Jesus’ interaction with the remaining disciples and the crowd.
            Just when we think we have all the answers about demons, healing, and other miraculous events. Mark throws in this event with the demon-possessed son. We don’t know how old he is now, but the demon has been there a long time, since childhood. This may eliminate the concept that a person can only be demon-possessed if he opens himself up to the occult. Certainly, that is most often the case, but not the rule. Then Jesus tells them that all they need to do is believe and all things are possible. But he later tells the disciples that prayer can only drive out this kind of demon. Since there is no evidence that Jesus prayed, it means that this is how we must do it, but this only applies to this kind of demon. I think praying in the first place would be a good idea.

Application

            I can’t do anything without being connected to Jesus (John 15:4-5). Prayer is a huge part of that connection and so is studying the Word. I need to work on both. I need his light and truth.

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