LEVITICUS 6:1-7:27 | MARK 3:7-30 | PSALM 37:1-11 | PROVERBS 10:3-4
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“In this way the priest will make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any of these things he did that made him guilty.” And it is indeed a long way. For redemption and forgiveness, that is. A guilt-offering was required for virtually everything—every sin of commission and omission. On top of a sin-offering. And in addition to this, it was also decreed that restitution must be made in full, as well as one-fifth of the value ought be added to it. No ifs, ands, or buts. That’s just the way it was. No guilt-offering meant no forgiveness.
And the laws on the proper handling of each type of offering—sin, guilt, burnt, fellowship, freewill, peace, etc. were so very exact, that there was no room for misinterpretation. Furthermore, violating the law meant permanent physical and spiritual separation forever. 21 If anyone touches something unclean—whether human uncleanness or an unclean animal or any unclean, detestable thing—and then eats any of the meat of the fellowship offering belonging to the LORD, that person must be cut off from his people.’”
Turning next to the Book of Mark, we continue to see Jesus in the throes of his ministry: traveling the regions of Galilee, Decapolis, Judea, and Perea in ancient Palestine, Jesus heals the sick of body and mind, and leaves in his wake massive crowds who follow him about.
These were the believers—how could you not be a believer when you were made whole of an infirmity? How could you doubt that this was indeed some divine being who walked among them when he touched you and your once-shriveled limb is now whole, or that you were once blind and can now see, or even that your brother was once dead and he now lives! How could you not believe?!
And yet, for all the believers in the crowd there were also many unbelievers—the righteous men of the day who took great offense to Jesus’ views and assertions on how to conduct oneself, and therefore labeled him a blasphemer and one committing sacrilege when they saw that he advocated things like not observing the Sabbath.
Woe was unto them, to all these righteous elders of the Temple! They saw, they heard, and yet they did not believe. And there, on the other hand, even the evil spirits recognized Jesus for who he was. Jesus came unto his own and his own received him not. And yet, the greatest irony of all time was that these evil spirits recognized him instantly. It is written: 11 Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
Next, we turn to the Psalms, and find that David, the Psalmist offers up a beautiful psalm of praise and thanksgiving. In a mood of quiet confidence, he lays out his faith in God’s provision to keep him from the clutches of the evil one, and exhorts the reader to be strong in the face of adversity. So encouraging are his words, that this is a psalm worthy of reproduction in its entirety here:
1 Do not fret because of evil men
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For evil men will be cut off,
but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy great peace.
Finally, a verse offered from the Book of Proverbs that offers food for thought:
4 Lazy hands make for poverty,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.