Spiritual Rants: February 16 “Spring Cleansing” Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Leviticus 1:1-3:17 Mark 1:29-2:12 Psalm 35:17-28 Proverbs 9:13-18

Old Testament: Leviticus 1:1-3:17

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Intro:

The book of Leviticus may seem tedious.

The more you study it, the more you’ll understand its genius.

The first three chapters concern offerings of bulls, grain or for peace.

The fat was the Lord’s and of eating it, they must cease.

Leviticus 1:1-3:17

Leviticus would probably be voted as “least wanted if stuck on a desert island.”  It seems overly detailed and tedious.  However, it was the first book to be studied by Jewish children.  Leviticus is named after the Levites, the tribe who supplied the priesthood for the Israelites.  Leviticus is a book of object lessons designed to show God’s character and holiness to His people.  And to us today.

Leviticus 1:1-17  More Bull

How to prepare a bull or sheep or goat for a burnt offering.  They shall all be males without defect.  A bird could be brought as well.

The main idea is that a life needed to be exchanged for a life.  This was a gigantic object lesson to foreshadow the atoning death of Christ.

Leviticus 2:1-16  Going With The Grain

I don’t know if it was gluten-free but the grain offerings had to be leaven-free.  Leaven was symbolic of sin.  So no leaven.  The rest of the recipes are in this passage.

Leviticus 3:1-17  Give Peace A Chance

A peace offering could be any animal from a herd, male or female.  If it was a goat, hands had to be laid on its head before it was slaughtered.  The blood was to be sprinkled around the altar signifying the purification of the altar.  The blood symbolizes Christ’s blood shed for us to purify us.

There was a prohibition on eating the fat or the blood.  The fat was the Lord’s (and He can have it).

Summary:

Leviticus was named after the tribe that suppled the priests for the Tabernacle worship.  It contains a lot of details on the worship in the Tabernacle.  Many of the details serve as object lessons for teaching from the New Testament.

Chapters 1 -3 concern the instructions for offering a bull, grain, or peace offerings.

New Testament:   Mark 1:29-2:12

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Intro:

Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law.

Many were healed and left in awe.

He wouldn’t allow the demons to speak.

A paralytic was made whole, leaving the people “out of their minds” in Greek.

Mark 1:29-2:12

Mark 1:29-45  Spring Cleansing

“Immediately” the disciples and Jesus came out of the synagogue and went to the house of Simon (Peter) and Andrew along with James and John.  This could have occurred in the spring of 29 A.D.  We saw this story in Matthew (8: 14, 15).  Peter’s mother-in-law was sick but “immediately” the disciples spoke to Jesus about her.  He healed her and she made dinner.

The demon-possessed came to him for healing as did many with all kinds of diseases.  He wouldn’t let the demons speak probably because you can’t trust a demon.  Jesus was the One to do the preaching.

A leper came to Him whom Jesus took compassion on and healed.   Leprosy is symbolic of sin.  Scipture says that Jesus “cleansed” him (v. 42).  Jesus told the former-leper not to tell anyone except the priests and to make the appropriate offering for being cleansed.  But noooooo . . .  he opened his big fat mouth to everyone, telling them what Jesus had done.  This made it difficult for Jesus to preach because of everyone coming to Him for healing.  He had to go out to more unpopulated areas to be able to preach.  Jesus was doing miracles to validate His message of repentance needed by the nation to bring in His kingdom.  He was not just performing miracles just to show off.

Mark 2:1-12  Springing Into Action

We read this story in Matthew 9: 1-8.  The story is similar.  A paralytic’s friends take him up on the roof and then lower him down into Jesus’ teaching meeting because the door is blocked with people.  Everyone expects Jesus to heal the paralytic but instead he forgives his sins.   The Jewish religious leaders thought he was blaspheming which in this case is claiming the attributes or rights that only belong to God.  Jesus read their minds and used an “a fortiori” argument.  An “a fortiori” argument is one with the greater force.  For example, if I can beat up Superman, I certainly can beat you up.  Jesus asked if it was easier to forgive sins or say, “pick up your mat and walk.”  The obvious answer is obvious.  Forgiving sins can only be done by God.  But to prove He could do both, Jesus told the paralytic to pick up his mat and go home.  And he did.  Everyone was “amazed” which in the original Greek literally means they were “out of their minds.”  They said they had never seen anything like it.  Hey, who has?

Summary:

Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law.  He healed many others.  He cast demons out of many but wouldn’t allow the demons to speak.  He healed one man of leprosy, a disease which is symbolic of sin.

Mark tells the story of the paralytic that is let down through the roof of a house in which Jesus was teaching.

Psalm 35:17-28   A Lament by David

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Psalm 35:17-28  Big Brother, Part 2

We finish Psalm 35 today.  David is being bullied by his enemies and calls on his big brother, Yahweh, to help Him.  Today we know Him specifically as Jesus.  He is our older brother.  Hebrew 2:10 says, “For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one [Father]; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”  Jesus cleans us up, sanctifies us, yet He also calls us brothers.  He is bigger than we are.  He is our Big Brother.

David feels like he’s surrounded by lions waiting to rip him apart (v. 17).  This shouldn’t happen in “Christian” fellowships but it does.  Someday, angels will sort out the wheat from the chaff (cf. Matthew 13:24-30, “harvesters” are angels) but, for now, He uses fleshly brethren to sharpen us (cf. Prov. 27:17).

Everything we do and all prayers we pray should be for God’s glory (cf. 1 Cor. 10:31; John 14:13).  David asks for an answer to his prayer so that he can praise God for it before the fellowship (v. 18).  He asks that God recompense him since his enemies act in opposition to God’s character (vv. 19-22).  When we ask God for things, they should align with God’s character and purposes (cf. John 14:14).

When we ask for something in God’s name, it must be something that lines up with God’s purpose and His being (cf. John 14:14 “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it, also John 16:24).  David is not only asking for protection for himself, he is asking that God conform the world to His standards and wipe out those who oppose Him.  He asks that God judge him “according to [His] righteousness” (v. 24) and that the end result is that Yahweh will be glorified.  People will say, “The Lord be magnified” (v. 27b).

We can pray for our own prosperity but notice in 3 John 2, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”  God wants us to prosper materially but the priority is our spiritual health.  God cares much more about our spiritual well-being than our material prosperity.  When we pray for health for ourselves or others, we should always keep that mind.  And that, above all, we want God to be glorified.  Then God will praised “all day long” (v. 28).

Proverbs 9:13-18    A Bimbo

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Remember in Proverbs to be a fool is to be an unbeliever.  Unbelievers don’t understand God at all.  They think they know a lot but I think deep down they realize they are being fool-ish.  Solomon describes a fool-ish woman here.  She is loud and draws attention to herself but she is actually a bimbo, naive and foolish.  Victoria Jackson famously portrayed this type of woman years ago (“I Am Not A Bimbo,” scroll down to it, also hear it sung here).

She hangs with other “naive” sorts (v. 16).  She is into illicit relations (v. 17).  She draws people to death (v. 18).  She is the current media, she is politics, she is entertainment and sports.  She is a Bimbo. Beware.

This is why we are commanded not to be bound in any way with non-Christians.  They don’t think like believers.  Paul says he used to view things as a fleshly, worldly person. Paul changed his viewpoint after he was saved, ” . . .  from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer” 2 Cor. 5:16.

We should realize that Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4) and pray that unbelievers’ eyes are opened.  We can pray that they will have receptive hearts (cf. Luke 8:5-12).  We can pray that they won’t end up being bimbos.

Choose Life: Scripture:  Mark 1:35   NASB    “Prayer As Fun”

“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.”   Mark 1: 35

When I was in seminary, someone suggested that I find a prayer warrior to pray for me while I was studying for ministry.  I prayed that I could find someone.  I didn’t think it would be easy because I didn’t think many people really liked to pray.  At the time I was working selling the seminary videos over the phone.  I felt like maybe the older lady who boxed up stuff in the mailroom might be someone who prayed so I asked her.  “I love to pray!” was her response.  Was she nuts, I thought?  I hadn’t met anyone who loved to pray before.

Not long after I was saved, I read about everything I could get my hands on about theology and the Christian life.  One book I read was Prayer by O. Hallesby.  One chapter I had found intriguing was called, “Prayer as Work.”  That made sense to me.  Prayer seemed like it could be work.  But prayer as fun?  Prayer that someone could “love” to do?  That was foreign to me.

Thank God for that lady at the seminary.  By her example I found out that prayer could be fun.

Prayer is the point where we meet God.  It is the center of our relationship with Him.  Our verse today says that Jesus used to get up early to pray!  Can you imagine?  It wasn’t just because He was God that He did that.  He did it because He was man.  He also did it because He was an example for us.

A topic I need to cover sometime is the place of quietness in our Christian lives but notice here that Jesus went to a “secluded place” to pray.  No iPods, phones, traffic noise, coffee klatchers, etc.  It was quiet and secluded and He prayed.  And I’ll bet He enjoyed it.

How about you?  Can you have fun praying today?

If you can, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:

Here are a couple of things the New Testament says about prayer.

Eph. 6:18  “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

1 Thess. 5: 17  ” . . .  pray continually”

Notice what those two verses say about prayer?  We’re supposed to be praying all the time!  How can you pray all the time?  I think the answer is that we should always have an ear out to God every moment of every day.  That would explain verses like “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), “keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25 NIV ESV, “follow the Spirit” HCSB), and negative commands like “do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19) and not “to grieve the Spirit” (Eph. 4:30).

We can’t be praying continually and breaking fellowship with God by sinning at the same time.  And if we have fellowship with God all day long, that should be fun!

Have some fun.

Pray all the time.

You’ll definitely be blessed if you do!

The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   Move Over Rachel Ray

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