Spiritual Rants: February 18 “The Priests’ Prescriptions” Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Leviticus 6:1-7:27 Mark 3:7-30 Psalm 37:1-11 Proverbs 10:3-4

Old Testament:  Leviticus 6:1-7:27

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Intro:

Anyone cheating would have to restore what he stole and more.

Ashes that floated on priests had to be thrown outside the camp as another chore.

Of the offerings, the priests were allowed to eat that.

They could also have the grain but not the animals’ blood or fat.

Leviticus 6:1-7:27

Leviticus 6:1-7  Guilty As Charged!

Cheatin’ goes, always shows!  If someone snookers his neighbor in any way, he had to repay and add 20% to it.  To boot, he had to sacrifice a ram.

Maybe we take sin too casually.  If we had to buy a smelly ram and then have it slaughtered in front of our eyes and smell the burning flesh and see the blood maybe we wouldn’t be so casual about sin.  Or would we?  Maybe we’d also appreciate the lamb slain for us a bit more, too?  Naaah.

Leviticus 6:8-30  The Priests’ Prescriptions

When I was a kid, we went to Arlington Cemetery and saw The Eternal Flame that burns by President Kennedy’s tomb.  It never goes out.  The offering for the burnt offering also wasn’t supposed to go out.  Christ’s sacrifice for us is available 24/7.

The priests were supposed to change their clothes after burning offerings.  They had the ashes from the offering on them which were symbolic of sin and had to be cleansed by removing the ashes outside the camp.  We too are to put on the clothes of Christ each day (Rom. 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to [its] lusts.”  Gal. 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”)

Leviticus 7:1-30  The Priests’ Prescriptions, Pt. 2

More information on guilt offerings.  Priests could eat the grain and animal offerings.  The animals were slayed and again blood sprinkled representing the blood of Christ shed for us.

The peace offerings were offered with thanksgiving (cf. Heb. 13:15, “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”)  Peace offerings, if in the form of cakes, are always made without leavening which represents sin.  The peace offerings of animals had to be eaten the same day as the sacrifice recalling the rules on manna.  Anyone who touches anything unclean and then tries to partake of the peace offering must be thrown out of the camp (excommunicated).

No one was allowed to eat fat (v. 23).  If they did, they were thrown out of the fellowship.  The same with the blood (vv. 26 -27).  The blood represented the blood of Christ shed for us and the life of any animal is in the blood (Lev. 17:11 , “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.”). In Acts 15 the new Christians had a dilemma.  What should be demanded of new Gentile converts since the leaders knew they should not demand all of the Jewish law.  It was decided, “that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood” Acts 15:20.  The blood is sacred since it represents Christ’s sacrifice for us.

Summary:

Anyone cheating someone else would have to restore what he stole and add twenty per cent to the value.  The person had to then offer a ram as a sacrifice.  The ashes that had gotten on the priests from an offering represented sin that had tainted them.  They had to put on clean clothes and throw the ashes outside the camp.

Priests were allowed to eat the animal and grain offerings.  Peace offerings representing peace between the Jews and God were offering with thanksgiving.  Jews were not allowed to eat fat or blood.

New Testament:   Mark 3:7-30

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Intro:

Jesus cast out more demons and told them to be quiet.

So many people came to Him they could have caused a riot.

After that He called the Twelve He wanted.

He continued with them undaunted.

Religious leaders accused Jesus of being possessed.

He warned them to be careful and that Heaven could be missed.

Mark 3:7-30

Mark 3:7-12  Demons:  Shut Up!

Jesus tried to get away from the crowds by going down to the Sea of Galilee with His disciples.  So many people had come from the region (Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, Tyre, Sidon) that Jesus had to have his disciples get a boat ready so He could escape across the water to escape the mess.  When the demons who possessed people saw Him they yelled out that He was the Son of God, disrupting His mission.  He didn’t want to reveal Himself before it was time in God’s plan.  So He told them to shut up.

Mark 3:13-30  By The Ocean Twelve

Jesus chose the twelve He wanted as disciples aka Apostles.  As part of being chosen, they were given power to toss demons out of people.

So many people followed Jesus home that the disciples couldn’t even catch a bite.  The leaders’ new tact was to accuse Jesus of demon-possession.  Jesus borrowed a line from Abraham Lincoln . . . no wait . . .   later Lincoln borrowed from Jesus . . .   “a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.”  Satan would have to be bound first, said Jesus, and then Satan’s house could be destroyed.  Jesus was saying He was (and is) stronger than any demon (or devil) and then the war would be won.  Reminds me of when the military in World War II would enter houses individually in conquered cities in Europe and clean them out.

As in Matthew, we have the warning against blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.  In Matthew, the religious leaders were the focus of the passage since Matthew is distinctly Jewish and the purpose was to show the rejection of the kingdom by the Jews.  In Mark, which is written for Gentiles, the reference to the Jewish leaders is more subdued.  A person at that time could blaspheme the Holy Spirit by rejecting Christ Whom the Holy Spirit was pointing out through His miracles.  The leaders were close to saying that the Holy Spirit’s work was satanic and thus the Holy Spirit would have been Satan.  People today who reject the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in bringing them to Christ are close to committing “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.”  But, technically, “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” could only be committed in Jesus’ day while He was on earth doing miracles (see blog Unforgiven).

Summary:

Jesus told dispossessed demons to be quiet since they were trying to disrupt His ministry.  The religious leaders accused Jesus of demon possession but He said that would be self-stultifying activity for the devil.

Jesus warned against the leaders against blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 37:1-11   A Wisdom Psalm by David

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Psalm 37:1-11  Whoa:  The Cure For Woes

If you want to be smart, here’s a good psalm for you.  It’s going to be spread over the next three days so in the near future you will be very, very smart.  In Hebrew each line follows the Hebrew alphabet so it would be easier to remember.  How does that help us?  Not much.  You’d have to be really, really smart to begin with and know Hebrew.  But it is interesting.  And it does show that the Hebrews thought it was important to learn Scripture.  Do you?

One of the most important lessons in life is that there is evil in the world.  We saw that in yesterday’s blog.  If you don’t realize there is evil in the world, you are really behind the eight ball of life.  As a believer, you might ask, how could so and so do that?  There is not a conceivable answer.  But if you read the book of Job, what you will realize is that there is evil in the world and God allows it for the betterment of His people.  Satan wanders around seeking someone to have for lunch (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8; also see Job 1:7).

Here is David’s wisdom on how to deal with evil.

First, we shouldn’t get bent into a pretzel because of evildoers (v. 1).  They, like the poor (cf. Matt. 26:11), will always be with us.  We shouldn’t be jealous of them, even when they drive big, luxurious cars and live off the lake.  They’re going to fade off the scene soon enough (cf. Eccles. 1:11; also 9:14-18 where the “poor man was forgotten”).  Think of someone who was rich and famous.  Where is the person now?  Your childhood heroes, where are they now?   I used to want to be like my heroes like George Washington.  There was a George Washington museum near my hometown when I was growing up.  I thought, what if someone put my old clothes in an exhibit just like his?  Now I just hope my old clothes are thrown away and that I can be a good servant of the Lord into eternity.  Perspectives change.

If we “trust in the Lord and do good” we will end up being good servants of the Lord throughout eternity (v. 3).

If we “delight ourselves in the Lord,” verse 4 says He will give us the desires of our heart.  Of course, if we delight ourselves in the Lord, then what He gives us will be the desire of our hearts.  But I think he also gives us things we like just because He knows we’ll enjoy them.  He knew I wanted to be a radio disc jockey so I got to do that, playing Christian music for a short period of time.  I wanted to be Johnny Carson and make people laugh.  I got to do stand-up comedy one night in a club.  I didn’t get asked back which was OK.  I was the only clean comedian the entire night.

If we “commit [our] way to the Lord,” He will be faithful to us (v. 6).  He doesn’t promise us everything we want. He often gives us more than what we need though.  He promises food and clothing.  I don’t even find a promise for a roof over our heads.  Just the opposite, Jesus didn’t have a roof over His head (cf. Luke 9:58).  But I’ve never been without a roof over my head.  Almost.  I had to stay in an abandoned house a few times but that’s all.  On the other hand, I’ve gotten some fantastic gifts.  Just this morning someone offered me tickets to a concert in a beautiful concert hall.

The other night I was treated to a movie and driven in a luxury car with heated seats!  He bought the car dirt cheap from an elderly man who didn’t need a car anymore.  This Christian would be considered poor by most standards but was driving in grandeur!  He has to pay a little more for gas but the price of gas has been very low recently and he gets a discount to boot.  He kept waiting on God until he knew God was answering his prayer for a car.  He didn’t rush ahead and buy a car in his own power.  He “rested” in the Lord and “waited patiently for Him” (v. 7).  A lot of money can be saved by trusting God and then waiting for Him to act.  Evil people will rush ahead and trust their own wealth and abilities (v. 7).  Being poor definitely has its own reward!

If we “rest in the Lord,” “wait patiently for Him” (v. 7, also v. 9b), and don’t “fret,” (v. 7b, 8b), our reward will be the land (v. 9b, 11a) and abundant prosperity (v. 11).  In eternity, you can look around for an evil person but they’re going to be somewhere else (v. 10).  They will be “cut off” (vv. 9-10).

I was just watching a TV program and the main characters mocked the Bible and prophecy.  The characters said that Bible prophecies had failed.  Huh?  Like when?  They cited the book of Revelations [sic].   It was obvious that they didn’t know what they were talking about right then.  The last book of the Bible is the book of Revelation.  It is the revelation of Jesus Christ as Savior and King of the World.  It is one revelation.

That was bad enough but the characters went on to give an example of a failed prophecy.  Adam and Eve went on to live after eating the forbidden fruit even though God said they would die.  “Adam lived to be 930 years old,” he said.  And in my feeble little mind I asked, “and then what happened?”  The answer came back to my feeble little mind, “He died.”  Duh?  That script was written by an evil person.

Did you ever wonder how Satan will explain all the Christians being removed from the planet at once when the church age ends?  Current media is setting up the answer:  space abductions, science fiction, unexplained phenomena, coincidence.  Satan has created an atmosphere of immorality and people hardened to the things of God.  Guard your children.  Evolution and the Bible as myth creates an environment where lies like that X-Files show can thrive.  It wouldn’t have happened a hundred years ago.  It wouldn’t have happened fifty years ago or maybe even ten years ago.

The truth is out there.  Wait on God and He will reveal it.

Proverbs 10:3-4  The Best Things In Life . . .

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Are you hungry?  Are you saved?  Then you’re not hungry.  Maybe your stomach is rumbling a bit but you’re not starving.  Pray for some food (v. 3, cf. Matt. 6:24-34).

If you aren’t working at your job for all you’re worth, you are the poorer for it (v. 4a).  Check out Col. 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

If you work hard, you’ll be rich (v. 4b).  Doesn’t mean you’ll drive a Rolls Royce but haven’t you heard “the best things in life are free”?

Choose Life: Scripture:  Leviticus 6:12   NASB    “Dumb Ashes”

“Then he shall take off his garments and put on other garments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place.”   Leviticus 6: 12

For some reason it strikes me that the priests had to change their clothes and couldn’t allow the ashes that drifted onto them to remain there.  The ashes represent sins.  Maybe they represent little sins.

How often do we let our little sins stick to us?   After all, they’re just little sins.  No biggies.  Just the little ones.  Maybe a little gray lie.  Maybe cutting someone off in traffic.  Not  quite giving what we think we should at church.  Buying something we don’t need and didn’t check with God about.  Maybe you’re not as joyful or thankful as you should be.  The list goes on.

Little sins aren’t little with God.  They just may be a few ashes to us but to God they are violations of His nature and He hates them as much as the big sins.

In the Old Testament, a priest had to change his clothes to get rid of the ashes.  In the New Testament we are told to “Put on Christ” (cf. Rom. 13: 14; Col. 3:10).  Do you think Christ, our Great High Priest (cf. Heb. 4:14), has any ashes on Him?  He does not.  If we “put on Christ,” we will be rid of all our sins, including the little ones (cf. 1 John 1:9, “and cleanses us from all unrighteousness,” even the small sins we don’t even know about).

Is sin robbing you of your joy today?  Put on Christ!

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

Fun Application:

See if you can figure out the weight of some ashes that could drift on a person from a fire.  Any sins you can think of that you take as lightly as that?

The purpose of the “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:   Shut Up!

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