Old Testament: Leviticus 11:1-12:8
God commanded Israel as to what they could eat but not how much.
He also told them what animals and insects they were not allowed to touch.
Women were considered unclean after childbirth longer for a girl than a stud.
It could be because with girls there is associated more blood.
Leviticus 11: 1- 23 Don’t Eat Icky Stuff
OK, here’s the deal. You can’t eat animals that have cloven hoofs and/or don’t chew the cud. If they chew the cud and don’t have cloven hoofs, you CAN eat them. If you’re a Jew. Of course, all of this is passé for Christians. We are told that we can eat whatever we want.
However . . . about ten years ago I was not feeling very well. In fact, I felt very, very not well. It turned out I was on the verge of death. I had two arteries blocked 90% and one, they said, was blocked 99%! I ended up having six heart bypasses. When they were done with me, my heart looked like the highway system outside Yankee stadium in the Bronx, you know where they curl around each other and people drive off into the Zoo? Anyway, I started reasoning backwards about that time and it has served me well. God put us in the world. We need to eat. God put stuff in the world for us to eat. We ought to eat the stuff God put in the world and get as close as we can to the way it is in the world. So I started using supplements that are essentially food that I believed God put in the world for our nourishment, health and nutrition.
I wouldn’t say I would never take a drug but I try to shy away if I can find something natural that will accomplish the same purpose. I have been doing that the past (almost) ten years and I have been passing my heart treadmill tests with flying colors. The nurses say, “We don’t know what you’re doing but keep on doing it.”
That said to say this. God gave dietary rules to the Israelites and the Israelites were very healthy. It turns out that nutrition has a lot to do with health. If you eat right, you probably won’t get heart disease or cancer or a lot of other things. I think I’ve mentioned a book, None Of These Diseases, that discusses the dietary laws of the Old Testament and how eating in a lot of the OT ways can keep you healthy. It’s written by an M.D, S. I. . McMillen. I’m not saying I never eat pork or lobster or shrimp but I do it rarely.
Leviticus has the negative rules on eating. These animals were unclean and could not be eaten (vv. 4-6): camels, rock badgers, rabbits and pigs. Pigs do not chew their cuds. Deuteronomy’s rules are more from the positive side. In Deuteronomy 14:4-5, the clean animals are listed: the ox, sheep, goat, deer, gazelle, roe deer, wild goat, ibex, antelope, and mountain sheep.
It’s possible that chewing the cud represents meditation. The word for meditation in Hebrew (Ps. 1: 2) is similar to the verb for chewing the cud. In meditation on the Word, we churn it over and over in our mind. Chewing the cud involves chewing the same food over and over. In fact, my understanding is that a cow swallows its food and then regurgitates it and chews some more. Uh.
Cloven hooves would be like speaking in a forked tongue in western movies. Not good. We should walk in straight lines and speak straight as Christians (Eph. 5: 15, “walk carefully,” “circumspectly” KJV). . . metaphorically speaking.
Only fish with both fins and scales could be eaten. So no snails, lobsters or shrimp.
Twenty species of bird were forbidden. Ravens, eagles, buzzards and vultures were out. There goes my dinner tonight! (Doves, pigeons, quail and sparrows were alright according to the Bible Knowledge Commentary. They aren’t named in Scripture but are outside the criteria of unclean animals. Four kinds of locusts (v. 22) were OK. Good thing for John the Baptist since that’s what he ate along with honey
Leviticus 11: 24 – 40 Don’t Touch Icky Stuff
Can’t touch a dead bear, cat, dog. Anything that walks on paws and is . . . uh, dead. Can’t touch. Must wash and then wait till evening to worship. Also, dead insects, a no-no. I get that. Sheesch, I get not touching live insects! These are also unclean: animals that “scurry about your feet or crawl upon the ground” (Living Bible): the mole, the rat, the great lizard, the gecko, the mouse, the lizard, the snail, the chameleon. The gecko? Not the gecko? That cute gecko thing on TV!!
Any dead thing they touched would make them unclean until they were cleansed. The exception is if the dead thing falls into a spring or cistern. The spring would remain clean but if anyone pulls the dead thing out, they’d become defiled until they were cleansed. This reminds us that Christ is a “fountain” that cleans us (Ps. 36:9, “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light” cf. John 4: 14; 7: 37).
Many of the unclean animals carried parasites or disease. God was protecting them. He was also setting them apart from other peoples. God is set apart and His people should be set apart. Peter quotes v. 45 in the first chapter of his epistle (v. 16), “you shall be holy for I am holy.” That kind of sums things up.
Leviticus 12: 1 – 8 Mama Can’t Dance But Daddy Don’t Rock “n” Roll
When a woman gave birth, she was unclean for seven days. If she gives birth to a boy, he was to be circumcised on the eight day. Good thing it’s early when a kid doesn’t know how . . . much . . . that . . . hurts! Then the woman was unclean for another thirty-three days, a total of forty days. If she has a girl, she was to remain unclean for twice as long as for a boy. That’s a total of either forty for boy babies or eighty days for girl babies. Wow. You could go around the world in that time! Why longer for a girl child? Perhaps due to the later discharges associated with being a girl or there may have been more post-natal blood associated with a female birth. No one knows . . .
After the days of her purification, she was to bring a lamb for a burnt offering and a pigeon or turtledove for a sin offering. If the mom could not afford a lamb, she could bring two turtledoves or two pigeons (Mary and Joseph were poor, cf. Lk. 2: 22 -24). One was used for the burnt offering and the other for sin offering. Then she will be clean.
There is no sin in having a baby, however, in childbirth a mother is bringing a new, sinful life into the world. Thus the need for burnt offering and a sin offering. Women are saved through the process of bringing a new, sinful life into the world (2Tim. 2: 15, women are saved through childbirth). It means that they are not polluted even though they are bringing a sinful life into the world. It does not mean that childbirth gets them into heaven. Only faith in Christ can do that.
Just so the women don’t feel singled out, it should be pointed out that men are the ones that pass down sin from generation from generation. If Jesus was born sinless by Mary and God was the Father, that means a normal sinful man is left out of the equation. If Jesus had no sin, it means that sin is passed down through men. The women, like Mary, do not pass down the sin. Or Jesus would have had sin. But He didn’t (2Cor. 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”).
God gives Israel rules on what they can eat and not eat. He also gave them rules as to which living things they should stay away from.
God gave rules to women regarding childbirth. They were to make sacrificial offerings after giving birth, different for boy babies and girl babies.
New Testament: Mark 5:21-5:43
A ruler asked Jesus his daughter to heal.
He was stopped on the way by a woman who bled but didn’t squeal.
To the ruler’s house He continued to tread.
Jesus healed the man’s daughter though everyone thought she was dead.
Mark 5: 21 – 43 Looking Through A Jairus-scope
One of the synagogue big-wigs named Jairus had a dying daughter. He had observed Jesus’ power and asked that his daughter be healed. Jesus left to go to Jairus’ house and see the daughter. A large crowd was following Him. It must have seemed like a long walk for Jairus.
Meanwhile, a woman who had been leaking blood for twelve years and had “endured much” from many doctors (v. 26, tell me about it!), touched His cloak (vv. 25, 27). “Immediately,” the drip stopped and “immediately” Jesus could tell He had had a power drain. He asked who touched Him. The disciples said, “Are you kidding? There’s an entire crowd pushing and shoving around You!” The lady fell down before Him and ‘fessed up. Jesus told her not to worry that her faith made her well and she could go take off. Jairus was a witness to this woman’s healing and perhaps a boost to his faith when he got word from shortly thereafter from a messenger from his homestead. Because . . .
Meanwhile, back at the Jairus’ ranch, some messengers were sent out to Jairus (v. 35). They told him not to bother Jesus anymore that his daughter had died already. Jesus told Jairus to “stop fearing (the gist of the original Greek) and keep on believing.” He took Peter, James and John with him to Jairus’ home where they found lots of carrying on and wailing and weeping (v. 38). Jesus told them to chill. The child was just sleeping. The crowd thought Jesus was funny (v. 40). So He went into the child’s room, took her by the hand and told her to get up (v. 41). “Immediately” (v. 42a, everything moves along for Mark!), the girl got up and walked. She was twelve years old (v. 42b). He told people to shut up about it and to give the kid something to eat (v. 43).
In Psalms 27: 14, we are told to “wait” on the Lord. Jairus had to wait to see Jesus’ miracle. We need to take the advice Jesus gave Jairus, “stop fearing, keep believing.” Can you see things like Jairus did? Through a Jairus-scope?
A synagogue ruler asked Jesus to heal his daughter. While he was walking to the man’s house, a woman with a circulatory ailment was trailing Jesus. She figured if she could just touch His robe she’d be healed. She was right. Jesus arrived at the ruler’s house and healed his daughter whom everyone thought had died. The woman had been bleeding for twelve years, the lifetime of the young girl, but both were healed by Jesus. We can also conjecture that both trusted Him for salvation.
Psalm 38:1-22 A Lament/Pentitential Psalm by David
Psalm 38:1-22 Heartsick
Psalm 38 is another lament psalm from David. I don’t mind having so many lament psalms, do you? Life is hard. Laments are encouraging. They start out whiney but almost always end with encouragement and an exhortation to trust the Lord. This one doesn’t. David is very ill and is begging God for healing. We don’t know what occasioned this psalm, when he was this sick. It is also a penitential psalm, meaning he was confessing his sin.
David begins his prayer by asking that God dismiss his sin (v. 1, 3). Disease is not always caused by our sin but it is part of being fallen human beings. The blind man in John 9 was not afflicted due to his or even his parents’ sins (cf. John 9:1-3). Sometimes disease just happens.
David is in a bad way. He feels like God has shot him with arrows (v. 2). His bones ache (v. 3). He has festering wounds (v. 5). He can’t stand up straight (6). His groin burns (v. 7). Whatever part of his body has not been described is numb (v. 8). It seems, in this case, that David’s sin has caused all this (vv. 2, 4a, 5b, 10, 18). David’s illness is Jobian.
David’s relatives don’t even want to have anything to do with him (v. 11). But David stills craves a good relationship with the Lord (v. 9). Someone is out to off him (v. 12, 16, 19-20).
David does what he should do. He throws himself before the mercy of God’s court (15, 17, 21-22). He relies completely on God and just keeps his mouth shut (vv. 13-14).
When you are in pain and want to cry out to God, this is a good psalm to pray. It’s always good to confess sin when we are sick just in case that is the cause (cf. James 5:14-16).
Proverbs 10:8-9 Babblative
Did you know that babblative is actually a word? I wouldn’t have either except it was on my “word of the day” calendar. Someone who is babblative is someone who babbles a lot. Back in the 1500’s, they actually used to use that word. I doubt they had more babblers than we do today. Someone who just babbles is generally a “fool.” Don’t forget a “fool” in Scripture and in Proverbs is an unbeliever (v. 8b). Unbelievers babble because they don’t have anything usually to say about life. Think about it. Ultimately, what do they have to say?
But to be fair, who is really preaching the Word these days? I just had lunch with a fella who had gone to church for probably over five decades. He said to me, “No one is teaching.” I agreed. But then, who wants to hear anything these days? One of the main characteristics of the end times is that people want to hear what they want to hear.
They will want their ears “tickled.” “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2Tim. 4:3 NASB). Can you believe it actually says “tickled”? I guess that’s what babblative preachers do.
“The wise of heart” will want good preaching (v. 8a). They will be secure because they are honest and honest to God (v. 9, cf. John 3:21). Perverts and babblative people will be exposed for what they are (v. 9b).
Choose Life: Scripture: Leviticus 11:44 NASB “Refuge From Creepy Crawlers”
“For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth.” Leviticus 11:44
Did you ever do something or look at something or go out without someone and then afterwards feel really creepy? Like you’re dirty? Like creepy crawlers are playing rugby on your shoulders? Not good. God wants us to be clean. He doesn’t want us to feel that way. In fact, He says we should be holy as He is holy (cf.v. 45; 1Pt. 1: 16; Lev. 19: 2).
God was telling the Israelites to stay away from creepy crawly insects. Do insects give you the creeps? Do snakes give you the creeps? Just think what our sin does to God. It gives Him the creeps. But here He is telling the people to stay away specifically from “all small animals that scurry along the ground . . . [and] . . . all animals that slither along on their bellies, as well as those with four legs and those with many feet (vv. 41 -42, NLT). Yuck.
Next time you want to do something sinful, think about how God feels about it. If you do sin, remember that we always have an advocate with God, Jesus Christ, the Righteous (cf. 1Jn. 2: 1). And we can always confess our sin to God and be forgiven (cf. 1Jn. 1: 9). In fact, we can “pour out our hearts before Him, because God is a refuge for us” (cf. Ps. 62: 8). (See also recent blog, Dumb Ashes.)
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30: 19)!
Fun Application: This might be hard to do in February. Find an animal or insect or something that creeps you out. Then consider how God feels about our sin. Since it’s the middle of winter, you could just google a creepy crawler and look at it. You could start with a centipede, well, unless you think they’re particularly cool. If you do, then find something else.
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: Don’t Eat Icky Stuff