Spiritual Rants: February 25 “Doggy Bag, Please?” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Leviticus 16:29-18:30 Mark 7:24-8:10 Psalm 41:1-13 Proverbs 10:15-16

Old Testament: Leviticus 16:29-18:30

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Intro:

The Hebrews established the holiday of Yom Kippur.

God gave a punishment for eating blood swore.

The Jews were not to have sex with close kin.

They could be jettisoned from the land for such a sin.

Leviticus 16:29-18:30

Leviticus 16:29-34  An Annual Event

The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, was to be held as an annual event every year on the seventh month and tenth day.  It was a national holiday.  No one was to work, the same as on the Sabbath.

Leviticus 17:1–16 The Blood

Verse 14 sums up this passage.  The life is in the blood.  Have you seen any mammal without blood?  It’s most likely dead.  That is the meaning.  Blood is sacred to God.  The most sacred blood is the blood of Christ which is why we commemorate it.  His death is also the most meaningful death.  He died for us but He didn’t have to.  Don’t add anything to Christ’s death.  We can show appreciation but we can’t add to it.  To think we can is the height of arrogance.

Leviticus 18:1-30 The Seventh Commandment Elaborated

The Israelites were moving between two peoples.  They had been in Egypt, full of immoral, pagan practices and they were moving toward Canaan, full of immoral, pagan practices.  We have to remember that the Israelites would have been exposed to all kinds of sinful practices while in Egypt.  Yahweh had to develop their character into what we understand today as morality.   They did not have much of an early childhood.  There are many things in this chapter that we have come to accept as normative.  We even consider some things in this chapter as gross.  The reason is that we grew up with the Ten Commandments.  We have been moving away from some of these standards and have started questioning them but they are still God’s standards.  As J. Vernon McGee likes to point out, God owns the world and he can make up the rules.

Some think that God was cruel to the Cananites because He told the Israelites to knock them out of the land.  That is because they do not recognize God as the owner who makes the rules.  He can do with the people what He wants if they don’t follow His rules.  The Canaanites were violating God’s rules as expressed in this chapter and were, therefore, subject to God’s judgment (v. 28).

Summary:

The holiday of Yom Kippur is established aka the Day of Atonement.  Hebrews are not allowed to eat the blood of an animal because life is in the blood.

The Hebrews were not to mess around with close relatives.  The land’s former inhabitants, the Canaanites were grossly immoral and, therefore, were expelled out of the land.

New Testament:   Mark 7:24-8:10

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Intro:

Jesus went on to give to the Gentiles the Good News.

It would now not only be the Jews that He would choose.

A couple of Gentiles He healed and now were Him heeding.

A crowd of fifteen to twenty-thousand He was then feeding.

Mark 7:24-8:10

Mark 7:1-13  Doggy Bag, Please?

Jesus left the Galilee region into Gentile territory.  In view of his recent teachings, this would make sense as well as setting up the announcement of the gospel for the Gentiles in chap. 13: 10 and 14:9.

Jesus went to Tyre, a Mediterranean seaport.  He was trying to get away to teach his disciples and prepare them for their impending ministry.  But people found Him out and came to Him for healing.

Mark’s purpose was to bring the gospel to the Gentiles.  He emphasizes the faith of the woman to show that the Gentiles will be receiving the Gospel.  Matthew does the same but emphasizes the slight to the Jewish religious leaders.  Jesus states his purpose to go “first” (a word that doesn’t appear in Matthew) to the “children” (“Israel” is specifically stated in Matthew).  The woman objects that even the dogs ate the crumbs that fall off the family table.  She was a Gentile who had a great need.  Her daughter was demon-possessed.  Jesus commends her for her faith and honors her request.

Mark 7:31-37  Can You Hear Me Now?

Jesus proceeded to the region of Decapolis.  There a deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to Him.  Jesus put His fingers into his ears and spit, then touched his tongue.  This was a fulfillment of Isaiah 35:6 that the mute would hear.  It was a sign of the coming kingdom.  Jesus used an Aramaic term, “Ephphatha,” perhaps indicating the man was a Gentile.  “Ephphatha” meant “be opened.”   Defective speech is usually a result of defective hearing.  This is also true spiritually.

Mark 8:1-10  Something Fishy Here

Jesus had already fed 5,000 men (BKC estimates 15,000 -20,000 including women and children).  Now he was about to feed 4,000 men.  Again, He asked the disciples for an inventory of their resources to feed the crowd.  This time they have seven loaves and a few small fish (v. 5, 7).  The word for “basket” here is different than the one used in chap. 6.  They were much larger and could be used to carry a man.  Thus, there very well could have been much more left over food than previously.  The seven baskets in chap. 8 would have held much more than the twelve baskets in 6: 43.  Not a problem for the “Bread Of Life” (John 6: 48).

Summary:

Jesus begins to bring the gospel to the Gentiles and casts out a demon from the daughter of a Gentile woman.  He proceeds to heal a deaf Gentile man.  Jesus again performs a miracle of feeding the crowd.  This time there was four thousand men which would be possible 15-20k including women and children.

Psalm 41:1-13   A Thanksgiving Psalm by David

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Psalm 41:1-13  Bad Lunchmates

Psalm 41 is a thanksgiving psalm unless it’s a lament.  Remember Psalm 40 was a lament and a thanksgiving.  That’s where the categorization of the psalms gets a little subjective.  Of course, the categories are helpful but you can decide yourself if you think this psalm is more of a statement of praise or a cry for help.  Actually, it has elements of a lament in vv. 4-9 and elements of a trust or thanksgiving psalm in vv. 1-3 and 10-13.  It leads nicely into Psalm 42 as we’ll see.

Proverbs 19:17 says, “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.”  Verse 1 says kind of the same thing.  Verses 2 and 3 continue with a promise to protect the generous person and even restore him from deadly illness.

I wonder if all of David’s enemies eventually wore him down.  Reading Psalms you’d think he was sick a lot but the historical accounts don’t indicate it.  Maybe it was when he was sick that he had time to write.  He once again asks for healing in verse 4.  He mentions enemies again in verses 5-9.  God is a jealous God (cf. Exod. 20:5; Deut. 5:9).  He wants us all to Himself so He will arrange circumstances so that even our close friends or relatives do not get between us and Him.  David’s close friend betrayed him.  This could have been Doeg (cf. 1 Sam. 21:7 and the inscription to Ps. 52).  Doeg was basically a dirty dog but was in King Saul’s inner circle.  He probably had had lunch with David at various times.  Be careful, dirty dogs do hang out in churches and you end up having lunch with them.

It’s very possible that the dirty dog in verse 9 was his friend Ahithophel, who betrayed him and then offed himself in similar fashion to Judas (2 Sam. 16:20-17:3, 23, see BKC).  David probably had several friends who had stabbed him in the back.  God has some friends like that, too.  Hopefully, you or I never were faithless to a friend.

Remember Judas?  He “shared bread” with Jesus (cf. John 13:21-26).  I’ve had some friends like that (see Lights Are On, Someone’s Home, Part 2 for a great quote).

David mentions recompense again (v. 10, see yesterday’s Waiting For Godot, Part 2).  It’s OK to vent when people do you in unjustly (vv. 10-11, cf. 1 Pet. 2:19-21).  When we are in God’s will, we can expect God will exonerate us (v. 11).  We should always have the attitude of Joseph who was betrayed by his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good  . . . ” (Gen. 50:20).

A person cannot be a good Christian and not be honest (v. 12).  It is only an honest person who can be a good disciple.  Only an honest person will keep God’s commandments (cf. 1 John 2: 3-4, John 3:21).  David always mentions holding to his integrity.  That is why, I believe, he was the “apple of God’s eye” (cf. Ps. 17:8).  As a result, David was usually in God’s presence (v. 12, cf. Ps. 16:11, John 14:21).

David ends in praise, again, to Yahweh, the God of Israel who alone exists forever (v. 13).

Notice how often David ends by praising God after lamenting and making petitions.  Do your prayers end this same way?

Proverbs 10:15-16   Poverty Is A Bear

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Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 10:19, ” . . . money is the answer to everything.”  I can say, “Amen” to that!   Oh, no.  Wait.  Solomon was being sarcastic.  It sure seems like it sometimes that if we just had a little more moola that everything would be just great.   On the other hand, it does seem that not having enough money and waiting on God always brings us closer to God.  Harrumph!  

Solomon is also being sarcastic in v. 15, I think, when he says, “a rich man’s wealth is his fortress.”  Wealth is not the answer to everything.  Jesus said, ” . . . even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).   Starting a church, I thought, “If we only had more money and support.”  And it would’ve been better if we had money and support but maybe even better we didn’t get off the ground if people don’t want to be taught the Bible.  

Wealthy people can fall back on their wealth, poor people really don’t have anything.  Being poor is a bear (v. 15b).  However, if the the poor live for God, they still can have a full life (v. 16a, cf. John 10:10).

Wealthy or poor, the wicked end up being punished (v. 16b).

Scripture:  Leviticus 18:6   NASB    “Raisin’ Cain”

“‘None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness; I am the LORD.'”  Leviticus 18:6

One of the youth from our church thought he could stump me with a question I couldn’t answer.  He wasn’t a Christian.  I thought I had probably heard all of the basic questions that could be asked so I went out on a limb and issued him a challenge.  I asked him if he’d accept Christ if I could answer his question.  Sometimes people will ask a question that genuinely haunts them but often they are stalling and trying to keep their distance from God.

The young man looked startled but he pretty much had to take my dare.  He said, “Sure.”  But he really thought I wouldn’t be able to answer his question.  He set up his query, “We’re not supposed to have sex with close relations, right?  That would be incest, right?”  “That’s right,” I affirmed.  He continued, “And Adam and Eve were the first people on earth and they had kids, but they were the only ones on earth . . .”  I knew what was coming but I played along.  “That’s right.”  (Drum roll?)  “So if Adam and Eve were the first ones on earth and they had kids and there wasn’t anyone else on earth, then their kids had to marry each other to grow the population and that’d be incest, right?”

It was the old Cain and Abel, who would they marry and not be guilty of incest question.  Aha.  The answer was actually pretty easy.  The key to the answer was that Adam and Eve were created perfect.  They had no defects at all.  So neither did Cain and Abel, hardly.  But as the population grew, because of sin entering the world, impurities and mutations entered the race.  The kids became more and more impure to the point that God had to add regulations to procreation.  No longer could anyone mate with close relatives.  Therefore, the prohibition in Leviticus 18:6.  Now we call such relations “incestuous” and those kinds of contacts are forbidden in Scripture.

Now you know . . . the rest of the story.  Well, except one thing.  The young fella I was talking to was really taken aback that I could give him an answer.  I’m sure he was told, ask a Christian this question and he’ll be stumped.  So I asked him to fulfill his deal.  Would he accept Christ now?  No, he didn’t.

Have you accepted Christ as the solution to your sin problem?  Are you trusting Him for your eternal salvation?

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

Fun Application:  Make a list of the top three questions that you think a person might ask you to stump you and use to keep distance from God.  See if you can find answers to them (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15).  Here’s a start:  1)  What about those who haven’t heard of the name of Christ but Scripture says they can only be saved by His name? (cf. blog What About The Heathen?)  2)  There’s so many religions in the world, how do I choose one? (for some help see, Keep The Faith)    3)  Can’t I get to Heaven by doing enough good works?  (or for some help see, Getting Off Square One).

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:   Doggy Bag, Please?

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