Spiritual Rants: February 20 “Drop Dead Fred!” Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Leviticus 9:7-10:20 Mark 4:26-5:20 Psalm 37:30-40 Proverbs 10:6-7

Old Testament:  Leviticus 9:7-10:20

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Intro:  

Aaron did what he should.

Fire came from the Lord and charred the offering along with the wood.

His two sons disobeyed and they were the ones burnt.

It was a lesson that by their brothers wasn’t learnt.

Leviticus 9:7–10:20

Leviticus 9: 7 – 23  Doing It Right

Verse 7 is another verse with the word “command” in it.  (We saw 16 in our last reading.)  Moses told Aaron to bring a sin and burnt offering to secure the people’s relationship with Yahweh.  Aaron brought a calf and he offered it according to God’s rules.  It’s interesting that Aaron had gotten things very wrong by making a calf for the people but now is offering a calf.

Again, blood was smeared on the horns of the altar and  the rest poured out at the base of the altar.  He burnt up the fat and kidneys and liver as he was supposed to.  He burnt the rest and the skin outside the camp as commanded.

Aaron then offered the burnt offering just as he was supposed to.  He did the same with the goat offering for the people as well as the grain offering.  He also slaughtered an ox and a ram.

The sin, burnt, grain and peace offerings in verses 15 -18 symbolized atonement, dedication, sustenance, and communion (see Ryrie).

Aaron then blessed the people and he went with Moses to the tent of meeting.  When they came out, they blessed the people and the glory of the Lord appeared to the people.  Fire came from the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat.  The people saw it, shouted and fell on their faces.  You would, too.

(Ryrie believes the fire was the same fire that was not to be extinguished according to Lev. 6: 12 -13).

Note:  As previously mentioned, if you want the presence of the Lord, then do what He says “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him”  John 14: 21)

Leviticus 10: 1- 20  Drop Dead Fred!

Nadab and Abihu were the sons of Aaron and the other priests.  I’m guessing they were so impressed with what had happened after Moses and Aaron were leading the worship that they, too, wanted to have the glory of the Lord appear.  They wanted the offerings to be consumed with fire from “the presence of the Lord.”  Unfortunately, in this case they were the offerings!  They went about things all wrong.

As mentioned the word “command” occurs multiple times in the last passage.  It means that what the Lord says, we are to do!  Nadab and Abihu didn’t get that.  They offered “strange fire” which the Scripture (v. 10) says, “that He [the Lord] had not commanded them.”  That’s like opposite of doing what He commands . . .  doing what He had NOT commanded.   Fire came from the “presence of the Lord” and “consumed them”!  They held high positions but didn’t believe God’s Word.  So Moses quoted Ex. saying, “by those who come near Me I will be treated as holy.”  Peter knew how this worked.  In the first chapter of his book, he quotes Leviticus (11:44, 45 and 19:2, take your pick), “you shall be holy, for I am holy” 1Pet 1: 16.

It’s not clear exactly what they did wrong.  They may have offered fire that didn’t come from the altar (16:2) or may have offered at the wrong time of day (Ex. 30:7-9).  They may have tried to enter the Holy of Holies which was only available to the High Priest and only on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16: 12-13).  They have gotten wasted violating what is written in v. 9.  Judgment was immediate!  They dropped dead.  People who are closest to God have more responsibilities than others (e.g. teachers, James 3:1, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment”).

The stories that most scared me coming out of cemetery, I mean, seminary were the stories of Moses forbidden to enter the Promised Land and Uzzah getting zapped by God for trying to keep the Ark from spilling off a cart.  What I failed to realize was that Moses clearly violated a command from God as did Uzzah.  It’s a bit clearer to see in the story of Nadab and Abihu but the principle is the same.

Just as this incident occurs at the beginning of the Mosaic dispensation of law and illustrates that God means what He says, so the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) illustrate the same thing at the beginning of the church dispensation.  God means what He says.  A and S both dropped dead in the middle of a church service for lying to the Holy Spirit.  You don’t see that every day.  Aren’t you glad?

In Romans 5, the Apostle Paul emphasizes grace.  He emphasizes that we are saved by grace to such an extent that he is afraid some will misunderstand and think that we can just willy-nilly sinny in the Christian life.  He calls such thinking meshugah (Rom. 6:2).  That is Yiddish for crazy!!!  (Yes, with three exclamation marks!!!)  Well, actually, he uses the Greek, “Mey Genoito.”  Literally, I have goiters.  No. Wait.  Literally, “are you unbelievably crazy?”  More literally, “by no means” should we sin!

Now, it is true that we can sin as much as we want as a Christian and the sacrifice of Christ will cover us.  There is still a problem.  In 1Corinthians 11:31, Paul says Christians had “fallen asleep” for disrespecting the Lord’s Supper.  I don’t think that meant they literally fell asleep.  I don’t think they woke up again . . . on earth, anyway.  I think they got an immediate pass to heaven.  Their opportunity to achieve reward down here was done.

In the book of 1John, chapter 5 and verse 1John 5:16, “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death.  There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.”  Eeesch.  A sin “leading to death”?  When do you ever hear about this in church?  Maybe we should quit messing around in church and take things a little more seriously?  Just sayin’.

Notice Aaron shut up about the whole thing.  He knew . . .

Aaron’s sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, took over in the place of Nadab and Abihu (vv. 6, 12, 16).  Guess how they did?  First thing they did was botch things up.  They didn’t eat the goat as they were supposed to have done.  Instead they burnt up the whole goat.  Moses was really torqued.  Kindergarten, “follows directions”: fail.  Aaron took up for them.  Apparently, they erred given the circumstances of their brothers’ deaths.  Moses let them off the hook.

Summary:

Aaron offered the sacrifice of a bull just as he was ordered.  A fire came down from the Lord and burnt up the offering.

Aaron’s sons, the priests Nadab and Abihu, wanted to replicate what Moses and Aaron had done but disobeyed God.  Aaron’s other two sons took their place and they also didn’t follow instructions.

New Testament:   Mark 4:26-5:20

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Intro:

Jesus said the kingdom like mustard or a seed would take a new form.

The disciple were tested by a fierce storm.

Many demons were cast into s couple thousand pigs.

Because their revenue was lost, the businessmen wanted Jesus to find new digs.

Mark 4: 26 – 5: 20

Mark 4: 26 – 29   Getting Seedy

Who knows how seed comes up?  No one.  Jesus said the kingdom of God was that way.  Seed is sown, then later on the blade pokes out and then a whole plant!  Then the whole thing has to be harvested.  Charles Stanley used to always say, “you reap WHAT you sow, LATER than what you sow and More than what you sow.”  Sow ‘nuf!

Mark 4: 30 –  34  Give It A Little More Mustard!

Jesus went on to say that the Kingdom was like a mustard seed.  Even though it was the smallest seed known to man at the time, it grew to be so large that birds could get shade from it.  The kingdom was going to grow like that.

Mark 4: 35 – 41  Sea Sick

At night, the disciples were in a boat with Jesus when a storm cropped up.  Waves were breaking over them and filling the boat because the wind was so strong.  Jesus was sleeping comfortably on a cushion.  They woke Him up saying, “HEY, huh?”  So Jesus told the winds to shut up.  The weather chilled out.  Jesus said to the disciples, “What is your major malfunction?”  But he knew it was their faith because He said, “Don’t you have any faith?”  So the disciples were afraid and about wet themselves.

Mark 5: 1 – 19   The Great Swine Dive (Mark’s account)

Jesus and the boys reached the other side of the Sea of Galilee, the country of the Gerasenes.  “Immediately,” (there’s that word again) a demon-possessed man came out to welcome them to town. He lived in the “tombs.”  Know anyone like that?  He had been shackled and chained but he always busted out.  He screamed all day long and gashed himself with stones.  He ran up to Jesus and bowed down before Him.  He asked, “what business do we have to do together?”  Jesus answered, “like none.”  And then He told the demon to come out the guy.  The demon asked Jesus not to torment him.  Jesus asked the demon’s name and the demon replied, “Legion ‘cuz there’s a bunch of us!”  He slobberingly begged Jesus not to throw him/them out of the country.  They begged to be sent into a herd of pigs nearby that were getting down with their slop.  Jesus said, “OK.”  So the demons entered the swine, rushed down the hill and jumped into the Sea.  You may have heard of it?  The Great Swine Dive?  They became . . .  wait for it . . .  “deviled ham.”  (It doesn’t get much better than this.  If you don’t like it, find another blog to explain the One Year Bible to you.)

There were like 2,000 pigs that drowned that day.  Unlike the pigs, the man was “cured.”   All the townspeople came to witness the guy.  He was sitting on a park bench (I made this up.  He was just sitting) with clothes on tweeting away on his phone.  The townspeople all wet themselves and asked Jesus to leave town.  They didn’t want to lose any more income from loss of their livelihood.    The guy wanted to get in the boat with Jesus but Jesus told him to tell his family what great things the Lord had done for him and about the Lord’s mercy.  Then they guy absconded, telling everyone he could what happened and they all said, “Awesome!”

Summary:

Jesus said the kingdom would grow like a seed or mustard.  The disciples’ faith was tested by a storm.  Jesus cast demons out of a man into some pigs who dove off a cliff.

Psalm 37:30-40  A Wisdom Psalm by David

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Psalm 37:30-40   Whoa:  The Cure For Woes, Part 3

We’re looking at the last part of Psalm 37 today.  I call it “Whoa: the Cure For The Woes” because David is warning believers against unbelievers who would want to do them harm.  Three times David exhorts believers to “wait” for the Lord (vv. 7, 9, 34).  To wait for the Lord is to let Him lead.  We follow.  If we don’t know what He wants us to do, we wait (cf. Rom. 14:23).  If we know the right thing to do, we must do it (cf. James 4:17).

David again contrasts believers, the righteous, with the wicked, unbelievers in verses 30-34.  The righteous are those who trust Yahweh (cf. Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38).  They will speak things that are true and just from God’s law (vv. 30-31).  David, thereby, Yahweh promises five times that believers will “inherit the land” (vv. 9, 11, 22, 29 and 34).  David is like a broken record.  OK, a broken record is an old-fashioned delivery system and sometimes malfunctions when part of the player would get stuck in a groove and . . .  never mind . . . .  Suffice to say, David was quite sure that believers who were faithful would be rewarded in the land of Israel in a future time aka The Millennium (see Addendum To The End).

David again points out that non-believers want to off believers (v. 32, remember people like Cain, Korah, Saul, Doeg, Judas, Ciaphas, pre-Paul Saul?).  The Lord will make sure that they will get theirs (v. 33).  They will be extinguished eventually (v. 34) and we won’t have to look at them anymore (v. 36).  They will make like a tree and leaf (v. 35).  They will be destroyed along with the horses that they rode in on (v. 38).

We will, on the other hand, have happy feet.  And happy kids, too (v. 37).

God will protect us and strengthen us (v. 39, cf. Is. 41:10).

We will be around in the end.  They won’t (again like at the end of the previous psalm, 36, Ps. 1:4-6 comes true, see Ranking).

It’s all because we “take refuge” in the Lord (v. 40, cf. Ps. 62:8) and we “wait” on Him.

So Whoa.  God will cure your woes.

Proverbs 10:6-7    Rep Vs. Rot

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Solomon sure learned from David.  Coincidentally, Solomon extols the same theme as his Dad in Psalm 37.  The wicked, aka unbelievers, are going have a painful eternity (vv. 6b, 7b).  The righteous, aka believers, are going to have a joyous eternity (vv. 6a).  Their heads will be blessed but I’m thinking the whole rest of them will be, too (note bene:  it’s a metaphor called synecdoche.  That’s not a town in New York, it means using the part to represent the whole).

You may not think it’s right for God to think of all believers as righteous and all unbelievers as unrighteous but then you’re not God.  For one, I’m thankful that He thinks that way.  Otherwise, no one would have a chance!

Are you thankful that God thinks of you as righteous?  You should.

The Apostle Paul said that he would, ” . . . be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”  It is our faith that makes us righteous.  It is by our faith that God sees us as righteous as Christ!

The wicked may badmouth you but they will be badmouthed (6b, 7b).

Believers will leave behind pleasant memories (v. 7a).

Choose Life: Scripture:  Mark 4:40   NASB    “Major Malfunction?”

“And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?'”   Mark 4:40

I love the picture in these verses.  Jesus tells the disciples that they’re going to cross the Sea of Galilee.  Squalls crop up spontaneously and can be quite fierce due to the surrounding valleys forming wind tunnels (cf. v. 37).  (See picture below from Accordance.)

SeaGalilee

The disciples went into a panic.  Jesus was asleep on a cushion (v. 38a).   The disciples said, “Hey, Jesus, we’re dying here!  Don’t you care about us?” (v. 38b).  Jesus woke up and told the wind to chill.  So it did.

Jesus said to the disciples, “What’s your major malfunction?” (v. 40).  He was rebuking them for not having faith after they had already seen that He could forgive sins, could heal any disease and could cast out demons.

The disciples went from being “afraid” (v. 40) to “very much afraid” (v. 41) after Jesus rebuked them.  Some of these men were experienced fishermen and they were afraid!   But the word for afraid the second time is a different word from the first one.  It means that they were in awe of Him because He was able to immediately calm the storm.  He was God.  They were starting to catch on.

Are you catching on?  Are you realizing that the One who saved you is Almighty God and Ruler of the Universe?  Well, He is.  And there’s nothing you can’t trust Him for in your life.

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

Fun Application:  Are you afraid of anything today?  Are there storms in your life?  Do you have more faith than the disciples?

Write down your problems on a piece of paper and then tear it up and throw it into the wind.  Or, for your neighbors’ sake, put it down the toilet.  Make sure it’s not real thick paper though or you’ll need faith for a plumber.

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:   Drop Dead, Fred!

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