Spiritual Rants: February 27 “Don’t Get Spewed!” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Leviticus 20:22-22:16 Mark 9:1-29 Psalm 43:1-5 Proverbs 10:18

Old Testament: Leviticus 20:22-22:16

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Intro:  

God’s people were to be holy like He is.

Not like the pagans, they were to show that they were His.

Priests were to be models as they offered their sacrifices in trade.

All of the offerings were to be of the highest grade.

Old Testament: Leviticus 20:22-22:16

Leviticus 20: 22-27  Don’t Get Spewed!

The Canaanites eventually got spewed from the land.  They were the descendants of Ham who uncovered Noah’s nakedness.  God says that we reap what we sow.  They sowed perversion and got spewed.  Jesus told us not to be lukewarm or we would get “spewed” (Rev. 3: 16 KJV).  The Israelites were promised the land but God promised if they kept his “ordinances” they would not get “spewed.”  God did want His people to be like the demon-worshipping pagans that were in Palestine.   It was  a land of “milk and honey” which meant it was rich, farming land (v. 24).  He reiterates a few of his ordinances: making distinction between clean and unclean animals and birds, not to visit mediums or spiritists who were in cahoots with the devil.  Stoning was the penalty for consulting spiritists.

Many have a problem with capital punishment these days.  That is because they are more compassionate than God is.  Unfortunately, they are not as holy as God is.  Some would say that capital punishment is not a deterrent.  However, it is a deterrent against anyone committing the same crime  twice!  How many times have you heard of a crime committed by someone who had been locked away or someone who has escaped?  If you or someone in your family was a victim of a crime normally punished with capital punishment, perhaps only you should be the one to be able to vote on the punishment.

The bottom line was that the Israelites were supposed to be holy like God was holy (v. 26).  A high bar but this is what God expected for His people.

Leviticus 21:11-24   More Prescriptions For Priests

Priests were not to touch any dead bodies with the exception of the closest of relatives.  They were not to mark themselves to look like the surrounding pagan nations.  They were not to act in any regards like priests of other nations, especially by allowing their daughter to be prostitutes.  The pagans did that.  The daughter would have to be burned with fire.  God does not fool around.  The priests could only marry virgins and she had to be of his people, the Levites.  This was to safeguard the lineage of the priests and especially the high priest.

No one with a defect like blindness, lameness, or disfigurement was to be a priest.  They were to be normal for the most part prefiguring the perfection of the Great High Priest, Christ.

Leviticus 22:1-16  Riot Act Read to Rectors

This chapter contains the reiteration of rules regarding restoration.  They are reminded to be reverent with the holy offerings.  The example of Nadab and Abihu should have been always in the back of their minds.

The priests represent the future ministry of Christ.  Christ was not only the offering, He was the offerer.  All the offerings were supposed to be first class.  The priests and their families were to be first class.  The Israelites, however, did bring poor quality offerings eventually (Mal. 1:12 -14, “But you are profaning it, in that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is defiled, and as for its fruit, its food is to be despised.’  “You also say, ‘My, how tiresome it is!’ And you disdainfully sniff at it,” says the LORD of hosts, “and you bring what was taken by robbery and [what is] lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?” says the LORD.  “But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King,” says the LORD of hosts, “and My name is feared among the nations.”).

No one was to eat the food of the Levites and priests except their family.  If a “stranger” ate by mistake there was a 20% penalty added to the cost of the food.  A daughter who marries outside the tribe could not eat the priest’s food unless she was widow or divorced, she could come back home (just like prodigal sons!).

Summary:  

God reminds His people again that they are to be like Him, that is, holy.  They were not to be like the surrounding pagan nations.

Priests were to model holiness.  They could not have physical defects.  All offerings were to be of the best quality.

New Testament:   Mark 9:1-29

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Intro:

Peter wanted to build booths after Jesus was morphed.

In His presence even Moses and Elijah were dwarfed.

The disciples failed to cast out of a man a demon.

Jesus had to finish the job in order for him to be a freeman.

New Testament: Mark 9:1-29

Mark 9:1-13  Preview Of Coming Attractions

Jesus told the disciples that some of them would see the kingdom before they died.  Some of them did.  Specifically, Peter, James and John.  Jesus brought them up on a high mountain.  He was transformed or transfigured right in front of them.  His clothes became whiter than any dry cleaner could make them because the light of His glory issued from within Him.  Elijah and Moses showed up for the proceedings.  Could you imagine Lincoln and Washington showing up for the Fourth of July party?  This was a lot more spectacular than that.   Peter went a little nutty, like a chicken running around with its head cut off.  He didn’t know what to do but knew it was special.  He wanted to build booths for everyone thinking the kingdom had come (cf. Feast of Tabernacles/Booths, Zech. 14:16).  A voice came from Yahweh Himself, “This is my Beloved Son, listen to Him!”  God was pointing out that His Son was greater than Elijah or Moses.  All of a sudden, everything was back to normal again.

Coming back down the mountain, Jesus told them not to broadcast anything until He had risen from the dead.  They were, characteristically, confused.  They thought Elijah would have to come back before the kingdom had come in.  Jesus indicated that John the Baptist had been Elijah but was violated and rejected.  He also warned them, again, that He, too, was going to have to suffer and be mistreated.

Mark 9:14-29  Hit The Road, Jack

The disciples had a case they got stuck on.  They couldn’t cast a demon out of young boy who was foaming at the mouth was being slammed to the ground.  Jesus was disappointed in the disciples and asked that the boy be brought to him.  The father explained it had been happening since the boy’s childhood, often throwing him into fire or water and trying to kill him.   The man asked Jesus for help if He could do it.  Jesus told the father that all things were possible for anyone who believes.  The father prayed a wonderful prayer, “I do believe, help my unbelief” (v. 24).  In front of a gathering crowd, Jesus “rebuked” the spirit.  He told it to take off and not come back.  The spirit left the boy limp and lifeless.  Most thought he was dead but he wasn’t.  Jesus took the boy by the hand and helped him up.  The “boys” asked why they couldn’t pull that off.  He said they’d have to pray to oust that kind of a demon.

Summary:

Jesus is transfigured in the presence of Peter, James, and John.  Peter thought the kingdom had come but it was just a glimpse into the future.

The disciples couldn’t rid of a boy of a demon.  Jesus had to finish the job.

Psalm 43:1-5   A Lament Psalm by The Sons Of Korah

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Psalm 43:1-5  Not Lyin’

Psalm 43 is most likely a continuation of Psalm 42.  So it’s still a lament.

The psalmist asks God to vindicate him, that is, show that he is right.  At my advanced age, I have realized that it is best to just not bother with people who want to argue.  I memorized this when I was young but am just realizing the wisdom of Paul here, “Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels” (2 Tim. 2:23  RSV).  As my wife says, “Just walk away!”   She’s usually right.

On the other hand . . . , I can see that sometimes someone just wants to be shown to be right.  “He will make your righteous rewards shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun” (Ps. 37:6 NIV11).  You can pray and God just might grant it.  If you are standing up for God, He will make sure that He is glorified.

But it’s always good to be delivered from “deceitful and unjust” men (v. 1b), especially when you are attacked in church standing up for God’s standards.  Just remember to leave vengeance to God (cf. Rom. 12:19) and not boast if you’re proven right (cf. Prov. 24:17-18, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them”).

The psalmist feels like he’s been rejected (v. 2a).  Sometimes with God being invisible and audibly silent it’s easy to get confused.  That is what Scripture is for.  We can trust it (cf. 2 Pet. 1:19).  Our emotions can fool us, especially when we’re sick or taking hormones or meds.  That’s when we have to just trust the Word.  I call it “Flying On Instruments.”

Phil Keaggy wrote a cool little contemporary song which is only available on vinyl, called “Send Out Your Light And Truth.”  I love it.  It’s based on verse 3.  It’s on his album Ph’lip Side but only on the vinyl version.  Bummer.

The author wants to approach God’s “holy hill” (v. 3b) to the sanctuary and worship Yahweh.  That is his “joy” (v. 4b).  If he was in exile, that would be a pronounced dream.  Do you enjoy going to church that much?  If not, you should find another church or get your priorities straight.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was martyred during World War 2 as a German, wrote a book called Life Together.  In it, he says that we can’t always be in a church.  He would know, being incarcerated for his faith.  He says if we can be in church, we should appreciate it.

No lyin’, the psalmist says he’d praise God on a lyre (v. 4c).  But I don’t want to harp on that.

The author’s back with his “self-talk” like in the last psalm.  He wonders why he’s in despair.  He’s wondering because he knows better.  But let me remind you again, sometimes it takes time for our emotions to catch up with what we know (v. 5c).  He knows he will again find his hope in God who will save him (v. 5d, “countenance” in the NASB is used in the sense of “support,” aka, salvation).

Proverbs 10:18  Not Jokin’

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Anger might be the most sublimated emotion in Christendom.  I hardly hear a sermon on it.  Makes me mad.

A lot of Christians are angry since they are trying to look like Christians in the flesh.  That’s why the buffets are the most popular places after noon on Sundays.  People eat to stuff their anger along with their food.

The other thing we do is use jokes and sarcasm.  Not in this blog, though, of course.

Another way to handle anger and hatred (v. 18a) is to lie.  I’m not kidding.  I’ve known some people who lie and don’t even know it.  They lie to themselves.  I usually handle my anger by being brutally honest.  No joke.

Unbelievers and Christians who act like unbelievers disperse their anger through slander (v. 18b).  Not in church, though.  (Yes, that was “dripping in sarcasm,” as they say.)

A fellow pastor once told me that we should hang out where people celebrate us, not tolerate us.  That should be the local fellowship, right?  Not the Cheers bar.

Choose Life: Scripture:  Leviticus 20:27  NASB    “Ass-trology”

“‘Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their blood guiltiness is upon them.’”   Leviticus 20:27

There is a spiritual world out there.  It is filled with angels, demons (bad angels), the devil, God and the Holy Spirit.  It is invisible.

A medium is someone who relays messages from the unseen world.  They are the “go-betweens.”

The Bible says we have a “go-between.”  But He is a “go-between” between God and us.  “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” ( 1 Tim. 2:5 ).  But notice, He is not a medium, He is a mediator.

Why was the penalty so high for the crime of being a medium?  All that we have been reading in Leviticus is God’s rules for His special people.  They are to be different than the pagan countries around them.  They are enemies of God.  They worship demons.  They have mediums that guide their people into Satan’s will for them.   God wanted His people to worship Him.  What could be one of the worst crime against God in Jewish culture?  Consulting with the demonic?  Whoever would do that would be a high level traitor!

What would be the equivalent in our day?  Across from the place we sometimes buy donuts, there is a normal looking house on the road.  The thing that stands out is the sign that says “Psychic Readings” in bold 3 foot type.  Ick.  You might think that, too.  It’s creepy.

But how many Christians consult astrology?  It is also forbidden in Scripture.  It seems so innocuous.  But is it?  I know sometimes from personal experience that astrology can be amazingly accurate.  How can that be?  Sometimes, it can be amazingly accurate.  But the requirement for one of God’s prophets is 100% accuracy (cf. Deut. 13:1-5; 18:20-22, Jer. 28:9).

What is God’s way of guiding us?   Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”  It’s a bit harder to do but it will bring you closer to the Lord and you’ll become a better Christian.

How are you getting your guidance?  Trust the Lord and the Scripture for leading in life.

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

Fun Application:  If you are trying to find out God’s will for your life, one way is to do what is called in business “A Ben Franklin close.”  I learned it selling insurance.  Write the reasons for doing what you are thinking of doing in one column.  Next to it, in another column write the reasons you shouldn’t do what you are think about.  Which column is most Biblical?

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 Get Spewed!

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