Old Testament: Leviticus 13:1-59
Lepers, what a state they were in.
Today we consider leprosy as being symbolic of sin.
Things that had been contaminated usually leave such a blot.
To us in the Church they are a lesson that we have been taught.
Leviticus 13:1-46 When People Are Flakey
The subject of this chapter is traditionally leprosy. It is possible, however, that the word used throughout the chapter, tsaraath, could refer to many types of skin disease including or not including leprosy. It could refer to many diseases that cause discoloration or flaking in humans caused by contact with mold or mildew.
Whatever the exact nature of the disease, it is clearly symbolic of sin in mankind. This does not mean that the person with the diseased skin had sinned and so was being punished by God. It simply means that the deterioration of the person due to the disease is symbolic of the destruction done to a person by sin. In actual leprosy, people lose feeling in their extremities and their noses, ears and hands become so diseased that they begin to fall off. It happens gradually and spreads rapidly just as sin also can spread rapidly through a person if not put in check.
Throughout the chapter is a description of the symptoms of the disease followed by an inspection by the priest, a verdict of whether the person is to be determined clean or unclean. If pronounced unclean by a priest, the person had to be isolated. If no diagnosis can be made initially, the person is quarantined for seven days. Another inspection follows with the result of either another week of quarantine or banishment outside the camp until he is healed. While outside the camp, the person with the skin disease must warn passersby that he is unclean by calling out, “Unclean!”
Leviticus 13: 47- 59 When Things Are Flakey
If a garment or piece of leather appears to be contaminated, it is to be brought to the Priest who will determine whether the item should be quarantined or destroyed by fire.
This chapter again shows God’s concern for the health of the Israelites. It also illustrates His holiness and that Christians should be set apart from the sinfulness of the world. Jesus washed the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper. This signified the cleansing that is necessary due to contamination with the world (John 13:10, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean . . .”). We would do well to take inventory at the end of the day of our sins and confess them (cf. 1John 1: 9).
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul indicates that the Old Testament illustrates portions of the New Testament (cf. 1Cor. 10: 6, “Now these things happened as examples for us . . .”). Chapter 13 illustrates the problem with sin in the church. Just as contagious skin diseases can spread quickly so God set up a procedure in the New Testament to deal with sin in the local church fellowship (see Mat. 18: 15-20). Sin can spread quickly through a church and negate its ministry. The end result of a discipline procedure could be that the person is put outside the church until the sin is resolved. This is not to humiliate or punish the person but to exhort them in their life with the Lord to restore the relationship.
God gave specific rules for dealing with those afflicted with leprosy. Leprosy is symbolic of sin. He also gave commands concerning material that had been contaminated.
New Testament: Mark 6:1-29
Jesus was not welcome in His hometown, I’m sure God was not pleased.
The twelve went out to preach, cast out demons, and heal the diseased.
John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod the King.
His head on a platter his executioner would bring.
Mark 6:1-6 Anybody Home?
Jesus came back to His hometown of Nazareth. They only knew Him as a carpenter. They had trouble believing He was actually God and on earth to bring in the kingdom. They knew his whole family, his mother, brothers and even sisters. His own brothers didn’t believe He was God (cf. John 7: 5) although at least a couple of them later changed their minds and wrote Jude and James. Jesus could not do many miracles there because their unbelief was so strong. He was inspired to say, “A prophet is not without honor except in His own hometown.” Ouch. Usually people were amazed at Jesus but this time Jesus was amazed at them.
Mark 6:7-13 The Dirty Dozen Dispatched
Jesus sent out his twelve disciples in pairs. He told them not to take any money or food but to live off the hospitality of those who loved God. If they didn’t receive the disciples or their message they were supposed to clean off their shoes on the people’s clean carpets. Well, not exactly, but almost. Their message was that everyone needed to change their minds about their sin and turn to God. They ended up casting out a lot of demons and healing a lot of people. They anointed the sick people with oil indicative that the Holy Spirit (remember oil in the Old Testament readings?) was working.
Mark 6:14-29 The Baptist Dispatched
The King heard about the Guys out preaching. He thought Jesus was maybe John the Baptist back from the dead. That must have scared him! Some people thought Jesus was maybe Elijah or maybe a new type of the old prophets. King Herod probably had a guilty conscience since he had John arrested and finally put to death despite believing John was a holy man.
His wife didn’t like John because JB had called out Herod for marrying his brother’s wife. Herod had a big party wherein his step-daughter danced. Herod was so exuberant (and air-headed!) that he said he would grant any wish that the bratty, little kid could want. You’d think she’d ask for an iPhone . . . but, noooo . . . . She put in a “life-line” call to her Mom and asked what she should ask for. Her mom said to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. The king didn’t want to do it but worse he didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of his dinner guests. So he had John the Baptist’s head brought in. Is there a place deep enough in Hell for these people? John’s disciples came and got his body. So much for committing your life to God and prospering! Although, John the Baptist is probably not fretting about it now.
Jesus was not respected in his hometown. He sent out his twelve disciples to tell people to turn away from their sins and turn to God. The validated their work by casting out demons and healing people. John the Baptist was murdered by King Herod.
Psalm 39:1-13 A Lament Psalm by David For A Funeral
Psalm 39:1-13 A Wedding And A Funeral
Psalm 39 is another lament psalm from David. This one has been used at many funerals.
David’s son, Solomon, wrote the epic ode to mid-life crisis, Ecclesiastes. He had a good teacher in his father, David. In Proverbs, Solomon portrays natural man without God as a “fool,” “wicked,” and “evil.” Man is a walking disaster without God. With God, man is a wonderful creation.
David begins by guarding what he says in a gathering including the unsaved (vv. 1-2). He does not want to misrepresent God before the congregation. Do you remember that movie with Robert Duvall, Get Low, where he throws a funeral for himself before he dies? The occasion here is as if David has done the same thing, thrown a funeral for himself before he dies.
There are things David wants to say (v. 3) like man has a limited time on earth (vv. 4-5). Our lives are probationary periods when we are born in sin but have our entire lives to trust God and surrender to him (v. 7). We may try to fill our lives with “stuff” but it won’t fill the hole that is meant to be filled with God. Augustine once said that, “You have formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You.” iPhones and X-boxes may satisfy for a while but electronics cannot substitute for a relationship with God (v. 6).
David is so humiliated by his sin that he just keeps his mouth shut (v. 9). He doesn’t want to dishonor the Lord further by making lame excuses for what he has done (v. 8b). He knows God is chastising him for dishonoring Him (v. 11). The book of Hebrews tells us that God disciplines His children or else He wouldn’t be treating them as a good Father (cf. Heb. 12:6-8).
David asks God to answer his prayer so that his fellowship with the Lord can be restored. Our sins make a separation between us and God, even as believers (cf. Isa. 59:2). The solution, as John points out is “agree with” God about our sin (cf. 1 John 1:9; forgiveness is through Christ, 1 John 2:1). The word for confess in 1 John 1:9 is literally “agree with.” When we do come clean with God, our fellowship is restored (cf. Ps. 66:18-19).
We are all just wandering sinners on this earth, sojourners (v. 12). We all sin. The solution is to own up and get right with God. Then we will be happy again. Our marriage with God will be restored.
And then we die (v. 13).
Proverbs 10:10 A Winker Is A Stinker
I don’t think I can wink very well. So I don’t do it much. I think I look like a spaz if I do. Maybe it’s because I am honest and don’t have much occasion to wink. In Proverbs, winking is a bad thing. It indicates someone is pulling a stunt (v. 10a).
Verse 10b repeats what we saw in verse 8b yesterday. Remember a “fool” is an unbeliever in Scripture. A babblative person (see Babblative from yesterday’s reading) will go to destruction, aka, H-E-double hockey sticks.
Scripture: Mark 6:8-9 NASB “There’s A Catch”
“He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belt— but to wear sandals; and He added, ‘Do not put on two tunics.'” Mark 6:8-9
When Jesus sent the twelve disciples out on their first mission he told them they couldn’t take food, a bag, money or a change of underwear. Well, a tunic was worn underneath an outer tunic so I’m taking it that the one they would leave behind was the “under” one. It was also used at night as a covering to keep warm. So without any money, food, or covering for nighttime, they were pretty defenseless. They were allowed to bring one staff as a walking stick but couldn’t bring a second one to use to defend themselves (cf. Mt. 10: 9 -10; Lk. 9: 3, presumably an extra staff or sandals). It was obvious they were coming in peace and were trusting God for provision.
Are you worrying about some sort of provision today? Perhaps you need a new computer, some clothes, tuition, or even food. Are you able to trust God for them all like the disciples did? You can but there’s a catch.
Here’s the catch. You have to be doing God’s will. The disciples were clearly in God’s will. Jesus had just told them to move out and spread the Word! Jesus said that if God was already taking care of flowers and birds, He would certainly take care of His own (cf. Mt. 6: 25 – 32). Then Jesus says in regards to food, drink, and clothing, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” In other words, make sure you’re doing what God wants you to do and He’ll make sure you’re taken care of. That’s a pretty good deal, don’t you think?
But the catch is that we have to be doing what God’s wants us to do to further his kingdom. The disciples were doing that. Are you trying to bring in God’s kingdom?
If you are, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30: 19)!
Fun Application: Take an inventory of you life. Write what you need in one column of a piece of paper and write what you are doing to support God’s work in a column next to it. How do you come out?
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: When People And Things Are Flakey