Today’s Bible reading: Leviticus 7:28-9:6; Mark 3:31-4:25; Psalm 37:12-29; Proverbs 10:5
The details for the various offerings are concluded in Leviticus 7 today. All these sacrifices were repeated over and over because they could never provide any permanent solution to man’s sin problem. They were symbolic only and were meant to instill in the mind of the Jews a need for a permanent solution. That permanent solution would be coming at a future time. Today we know that the solution as Jesus.
Jesus fulfilled all of these sacrifices rendering them no longer necessary. Through the death of Jesus on the cross and His shed blood all people can now have peace and fellowship with God forever. They can now have their sins forgiven forever. And they can have access to God forever. Notice that I say they “can”. Although Jesus’s death does provide for these things it is up to each person to decide for herself or himself to lay claim to this great offer. As we read a few weeks ago, the choice is ours.
Its interesting to note that since the Jews don’t believe that Jesus is the savior God wrote about in the Old Testament they will at some point in the future start offering these sacrifices again. They are just waiting for their Temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. The Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans during the Jewish Revolt of 67 – 70 AD. Since then there hasn’t been a Temple and, in fact, there wasn’t even an Israel until 1948. Currently the location of the Temple is under the control of the Muslims. This is the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on which now sits the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque. But someday the Temple will be rebuilt. We know this because Ezekiel 38 indicates that in the “last days” there will be a man who rules the entire world (aka “Antichrist”) who will put an end to sacrifices being made in the Temple. For sacrifices to “end” they must be happening. For there to be a Temple it has to be rebuilt. We’ll read more about this when we get there later this year.
For now, suffice it to say that the Temple will be rebuild. In fact there is an entire organization dedicated to rebuilding the Temple. They have already built many of the items that will go into the Temple. They are just waiting for the Temple Mount to be available so they can start construction.
We place great emphasis on familial relationships. Therefore it may surprise us the Jesus did not in Mark 3. Jesus didn’t dislike His earthly family. But He knew that these relationships were temporal. We will not have these relationships in eternity. They were meant for earthly purposes only. In heaven, for example, you will recognize your spouse. But you won’t be married to that person.
Its interesting to note that Jesus had brothers (Mark 3:32). The Catholic church’s notion that Mary remained a virgin her entire life is clearly not accurate. This is just one of many areas where Catholicism has rejected the Bible and has made up its own story (I mentioned when reading Exodus that Catholicism also changed their version of the Ten Commandments) . For what purposes I am not sure. But like all man-made religions, Catholicism is not accurate and cannot lead anyone to God.
We already read the parable of the sower in Matthew. It is repeated here in Mark. Verse 12 seems to indicate that Jesus is intentionally keeping the meaning of His parables from being discerned by certain people. But Matthew’s Gospel gives more details than Mark. In Matthew we see that the “they” that Jesus refers to in Mark have closed their own eyes. This is why it is important to read all the Gospels as each writer wrote with a different audience in mind. We often find details in one Gospel that explain something that lacks details in another.
Psalm 37 began yesterday and continues today. Yesterday I mentioned how I often struggle with seeing non-believers achieve worldly success. It always helps me to read this Psalm, especially verse 16. “It is better to be godly with little than to be evil and rich” (NLT). Seeking God is the most fulfilling thing a person can do. I don’t make any claims to understand God totally. But as I read through the Bible every day this year I understand Him more and build a closer relationship with Him. And as I build a closer relationship with Him the envy and jealousy fades away. Admittedly it fades away slowly and at times even comes back. I’m a work-in-progress as we all are.
One reason why it is better to be godly with little is because God will direct the steps of the godly and will delight in every detail of their lives (Psalms 37:23). How cool is it that God “delights” in you? I think it is very cool that the God of the universe, who I would think has more important things to do than to be interested in the mundane aspects of my life, cares about me to that level of detail. But here is the coolest part: From God’s perspective there is nothing more important than you. Yes, there are wars going on. Yes, there is injustice going on. Yes, there is hate all over the planet. And those are not good things. But they are temporary. You are eternal. And if you are forming a relationship with Him while on earth (i.e. you are “godly”) He will direct your steps and delight in everything you do. There is nothing better.
Proverbs 10:5 gives an illustration of hard-work vs laziness to follow up on yesterday’s passages. Summer is the time of harvest. If someone is wise they will get to work harvesting at this time of year so they can earn money. But anyone who lets the field go to waste by not harvesting it is a disgrace. We need to be wise and take advantage of the opportunities before us. Don’t slack off and miss out.
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