He Is Their Stronghold In Time of Trouble

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LEVITICUS 9:7-10:20 | MARK 4:26-5:20 | PSALM 37:30-40 | PROVERBS 10:6-7

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The first to present their sin-offerings for atonement are the priests themselves.  Aaron does the needful as per the instructions received.  Atonement was a weighty matter, not to be taken lightly, and after what seems like a long time, everything seemed to be in order to carry out the rituals as prescribed. 

But there is lurking a spirit of fear, and dare I say it, oppressiveness.  Even Aaron who appears to follow all instructions to the last detail slips now and again, and there is speculation about whether he ought to have done this or that another way in order to please God.  This is only the beginning, of course, and perhaps things will get better… or not.

Turning to Mark, we see the continued account of Jesus’ teaching, preaching, and healing ministry.  He speaks in parables to the crowds about the Kingdom of Heaven, and while he very often invokes the displeasure and eventually the wrath of the elders of the Temple, surely there must have been many among the crowds who did stop to listen and possibly even believe in what he was saying.  Surely, those who had been beneficiaries of his miraculous touch would have certainly become believers, and surely without doubt, that demon-possessed man who was made whole would have become a believer. 

Oh, how I would have liked to meet that man!  What stories he must have had to tell!  So grateful is he for this deliverance from the legion of demons that he was possessed with that he wants to follow Jesus.  But Jesus says to him:  Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

David’s Psalm for the day is another one of affirmation in God’s protection and provision.  It helps to have this repeated regularly because we seem to have short memories about God’s goodness and long ones about our misfortunes.  David says:

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;
 he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

And finally, Solomon distinguishes between the wicked and the righteous.  Just in case there was any doubt about which is which, here’s a litmus test:

6 Blessings crown the head of the righteous,
but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.

7 The memory of the righteous will be a blessing,
   but the name of the wicked will rot.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.  Amen.

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