It’s now time for Aaron the appointed High Priest to offer sacrifices, both for himself and on behalf of the nation of Israel. The sin offering, the burnt offering, the grain offering, and the peace offering, were lifted up (as heave offerings) and waved before the LORD (as wave offerings). With the exception of the grain offering, they all included blood.
I’m reminded of the words of writer of Hebrews:
Hebrews 9:22 (NKJV) “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.”
After that, the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people…what an awesome sight it must have been!
Leviticus 9:24 (NKJV) “…and fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”
God was pleased – and the people witnessed His wonder.
Moses and Aaron did well in the initial stages of Tabernacle ministry, but it didn’t take long for carelessness to creep in, and God was forced to make an example of Nadab and Abihu. If you put it all together I believe it’s safe to say that Nadab and Abihu had been drinking – this dulled their senses and they were not able to distinguish between what was holy and what was unclean; they therefore offered profane fire before the LORD (Leviticus 10:1, 8-10). I thought it was interesting that the LORD spoke directly to Aaron on this one (Leviticus 10:8). We read the result of Nadab and Abihu’s carelessness:
Leviticus 10:2 (NKJV) “So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”
Some would liken this to the death of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11 and say that at the onset of these Covenants (Old and New) God had to establish His holiness. God doesn’t usually strike people dead when they sin in such ways, but He does at times, and we need to know how He sees any form of disobedience (which is die-cast rebellion). A few things to consider: the theme of Leviticus is holiness – – that what we’re studying is the Holy Bible – – and God’s overriding attribute is holiness (Isaiah 6:3).
May I never forget.
Leviticus 10:3 (NKJV) “And Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.’’ So Aaron held his peace.”
I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been for Aaron, but he was not allowed to outwardly grieve for the death of his sons, he was forced to see and agree with the severity of the sentence. It didn’t mean he did everything with perfection. Apparently he and his other sons didn’t have an appetite that day, and they burnt the offering rather than eat the offering (Leviticus 10:16-20) but God understood.
I’ve always related to this next parable personally. I feel as if I’ve experienced this truth first-hand as a pastor. Since day one, all we’ve done is teach the Word by faith (we’ve scattered the seed). Then, just as we read in the parable, we’ve slept by night (we’ve rested, trusted).
I look back to the first Bible Study where just a few people gathered in 2002, and I see how God has built His church – He’s reaped a bountiful harvest. I relate to the man in the parable so much when we read those words, “…he himself does not know how.” I wonder sometimes, how did this happen? It’s all God, His grace, His Word, His sovereignty – we simply speak and then sleep.
Jesus goes on to tell a parable about the amazing growth of the Kingdom of God, and how even the small mustard seed grows large, as an herb tree – to the point that the birds of the air rest in its branches, which is interesting, because earlier the birds were bad (Mark 3:4). It’s sad to see, but it’s true, there are tares with the wheat, there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, and there are birds in the branches. We need to be aware of this.
How awesome it must have been to have Jesus explain everything to the Apostles:
Mark 4:34b (NKJV) “…and when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.”
I believe the Lord still does this…He explains things to us, when we give Him time to speak to our hearts as we read His Word.
They should have believed Him when He told them they were going to the other side (Mark 3:35) so that when the sea started acting up, they could have calmly waked Him up, and said, “Lord, can You take care of this for us?” Instead they freaked out, without any faith, afraid they were going down. They had forgotten, or maybe never really realized who was with them, the One who is able to still any storm, able to defeat every enemy, the One who can always be trusted.
After the display of such power their fear morphed a bit:
Mark 4:41 (NKJV) “And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!’”
Answer – God!
Mark highlights one of two men who lives in a cemetery (imagine that), he could not be tamed by anyone, he would only cry out night and day as he cut himself with stones. If we put two and two together, it’s obvious to see that the enemy was trying to kill this man, and the only way he could speed up the process is if the man committed suicide – which explains his self-destructive behavior. It breaks our hearts to see so many today in the same place.
But Jesus crosses the sea to save him, He casts out the legion of demons who beg to enter the pigs – permission is granted, the pigs die, and the people of the city are completely blind to what just took place. God showed up to demonstrate His own love and power…but they just beg Him to leave. Sounds like a pretty good summary of societies’ indifference towards Jesus today, after all He’s done. The Lord honors their decision.
The man who’s been healed wants to stay with Jesus, but Christ commands him to do something different:
Mark 5:19–20 (NKJV) “However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.’ 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.”
The power of our testimony! Your friends and family really do need to hear what God has done for you! And not only that, Jesus would eventually go to those cities in the Decapolis, the man had gone as a forerunner before Him.
David continues to teach us that although the wicked (our enemies) seek to stop us and even slay us (Psalm 37:32) they themselves will be cut off. On the contrary, the LORD will save us, strengthen us, help us, and deliver us, as we simply trust in Him (Psalm 37:40).
We are to wait on the LORD and to keep His way (Psalm 37:34) to keep His Word; as a matter of fact, because God’s Word is in our hearts (Psalm 37:31) out of the mouth of the righteous will flow words of wisdom and justice (Psalm 37:30; Luke 6:45). It’s interesting to me that throughout the entire ordeal in which David struggled with King Saul, David never spoke an ill word about the king.
Not that we have a vendetta, but God promises through David that the righteous will see it when the wicked are cut off (Psalm 37:34). David himself had seen it with his own eyes (Psalm 37:35-36).
Perhaps the Psalm can be summarized in:
Psalm 37:37–38 (NKJV) “Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace. 38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.”
O Lord, please help me to be blameless, and to trust You to deliver me from my enemies.
More contrasts between the righteous and wicked.
The righteous are blessed with crowns on their head, while the words of the wicked stir up violence for themselves or others with their mouths.
Most people do not name their children Judas, or Benedict, they choose names like John, or Peter, for certain memories are rotten and good legacies last.
O Lord, please help us to be wise, and strive to always be in right relationship with You!
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.