Today’s Bible reading: Leviticus 9:7-10:20; Mark 4:26-5:20; Psalm 37:30-40; Proverbs 10:6-7
In Leviticus 9 today we see Aaron offer the sacrifices required of him as the high priest. Before Aaron could effectively lead other people he had to first acknowledge and deal with his own sin. Anyone who wishes to be an effective leader must realize their own limitations. They must realize that they are no different from the people they lead. Humility is required because the role of a leader is actually a servant, willing to put other’s needs ahead of their own.
In Leviticus 10 two of Aaron’s sons disobey God. I don’t understand exactly what they did wrong, but obviously it was serious if God killed them. The interesting thing here is that these men were the son’s of the high priest. They should have known better. But this goes to show that each person is responsible for himself before God. None of us inherit righteousness or get a free pass just because of who we are related to. The only connection that gets us anywhere is Jesus. If someone is in Christ that person is then a child of God with full access to the Father and heaven.
Jesus tells another parable about seeds today in Mark 4. He had previously told the parable about seed being dispersed onto four different types of soil. After telling that parable Jesus explained that the seed represented the word of God (i.e. the Bible). We can conclude that the seed in today’s parable, therefore, also represents the word of God.
In today’s parable we see that God’s word works within us even though we don’t know exactly how it happens. Notice that the farmer only plants the seed. Some other force makes it grow. The only thing God calls upon us to do, as believers, is to share the truth about Him with others. We plant seeds. God is the one who makes them grow. Of course, as we read in the previous parable, the person who hears the word must also be receptive to it. But the point is that there is nothing “the farmer” can do to make the seed grow. Only the quality of the soil along with God’s power can make His word come to life in another person.
There are people in my life who I have been praying for and sharing the Bible with for years and I see no visible results. But I am doing all I can do. I can’t make anything grow. I can only plant seeds. I hope that God tills the soil and germinates the seed.
In Mark 4:35-41 we read a story about Jesus calming a storm. I found it interesting that the disciples obediently followed Jesus into the boat and out into the lake yet they encountered a storm. God doesn’t just send storms into our lives when we need to be corrected. Even when we are being obedient we may encounter a storm as a test of our faith. God never promised His followers a cushy, easy life. God’s goal is to grow us. And we only grow through trials. When life is easy we stagnate.
Despite the storm Jesus is calmly asleep in the back of the boat. This tells us a couple of things. First that even though He was God He was also human. He needed sleep. Even though He was God He still had to experience all the limitations that we do. Second, He was in complete control. He knew the storm was coming. He knew that everything would be OK. The storm did not bother Him. Likewise whenever we face storms in our life we can turn to Jesus because He is a rock. He can offer us His help because He isn’t going to be intimidated.
The disciples, on the other hand, are a different story. They are terrified and wake Jesus. Notice that the rocking boat didn’t wake Him. The wind didn’t wake Him. The waves crashing over the boat didn’t wake Him. But the voice of the disciples, crying out to Him, woke Him. Jesus will always answer when one of His own calls Him. He will never leave us alone.
Keep in mind that many of the disciples were fishermen. They had been out on this lake many, many times. Yet they were afraid. It must have been a terrible storm for such experienced sailors to be so afraid. Yet Jesus calms the waves and the wind with just His voice. I remember reading this story to my nephew (who was about 4 at the time) and he said of Jesus “Oh, he is magic?”. No, He’s not magic. He is God.
After rebuking the storm Jesus rebukes His disciples. They should have had more faith. After all, Jesus said (Mark 4:35) “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake”. Jesus’s plan was to get to the other side. But the disciples lost sight of the goal and panicked. Isn’t that the same with us? God promises to take us somewhere but when the slightest difficulty arises along the way we get scared. There is never any reason to fear if Jesus is your Savior. He isn’t going to let life drown you. He has plans for you. Great plans. Any difficulty that comes along on the road to those plans is simply a test to build your character along the way. Don’t turn from what God has for you because of a little trouble. It may not seem “little” to you. But no problem is too big for Jesus.
Ironically, the disciples were “absolutely terrified” after Jesus calmed the storm. It seems they were more afraid of Jesus than they were of the storm.
In this one passage the disciples (and we) witness the full humanity of Jesus (sleeping) and the full deity of Jesus (controlling weather).
According to Psalm 37:30 those who study God’s word and walk with Him are able to offer great advice to others. The key is making God’s will our own will (Psalm 37:30-31). Verses 35 & 36 pick up on what I wrote about over the past two days. I see people who are not children of God flourishing and succeeding in this world. But the truth is they won’t last long. Even if they die with the most toys they don’t get to keep any of them. Their life, just like mine, is simply a breath. A drop in the ocean. The hope is not in what this world has to offer. The hope is in the One who created this world.
Proverbs 10:6 reminds us that God showers His children with blessings, both in this life and the next.
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