February 23

Leviticus 14:1-57

Although there was no cure for leprosy, the law gave the procedures to be followed whenever a leper was cleansed/healed. It would be an extremely laborious process.

It required two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. Kill one bird in an earthen vessel, rinse in poured out water (or running water). The priest would then take the other items, including the living bird, and dip them in the blood. He was to sprinkle the blood  seven times (the number of completion) on him who was cleansed. The living bird would then be set free. The cleansed man would then wash his clothes, shave off all his hair (including beard and eyebrows), and wash in water. The former leper would then be allowed back into the camp, but not in his tent, quite yet. For after seven days he would do it all again. On the eighth day (number of new beginnings) he would offer a trespass offering, a sin offering, a burnt offering, and a grain offering. The blood of the trespass offering would be used to cleanse the ear, the hand, and the foot of the former leper (cleansing us from those sinful things they’d heard, done, and places they’d gone). After that, each of these areas of life would be anointed with holy oil. 

We all need to be forgiven by God (symbolized by the blood) – and – we al need to be filled with the power of God (symbolized by the oil).

As always, there was consideration and alteration of the laws for the poor (Leviticus 14:21).

For close to 1400 years this portion of the law would never be used. But it wasn’t in vain, for this law was issued with foresight, that one day the Messiah would come and heal the lepers.

After one instance of Jesus healing a leper, we read in His words to them in:

Matthew 8:4 (NKJV) “And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’”

It would be a testimony to them (the priests). How accountable they were! As the priests followed every intricate step of this lengthy process they would/should be in awe, for who can heal the lepers?

Similar responsibilities were given to the priests to detect mold in homes, which can be extremely hazardous. I can’t help but think of the many homes of families today who need the cleansing power of God, lest they also be destroyed. How’s your home today? I hope you know that Jesus can heal our hearts, as well as our homes (our families).

Mark 6:30-56

Ministry was so busy, that Jesus and His disciples didn’t even have time to eat (imagine that). So He leads His disciples to a deserted place, hoping to get some rest for them, but the people find ’em, and their needs were great. So rather than getting the R & R they hoped for, the Lord tends to them compassionately. We read in:

Mark 6:34, “And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.”

Isn’t it interesting that the first step in tending to the scattered sheep was/is the teaching of the Word? He first met their spiritual need, He then tended to their physical need. May we never underestimate our need for the truth of God’s word, it brings joy to the journey, peace to our path, love and life to our lives, it’s the compass as we travel, the plumb line when we build, the green pastures that sheep most desperately need.

The sun would soon be setting so the disciples suggest to Jesus that He send the people away, that they might go into the nearby towns to buy food. But Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” They didn’t have enough money to buy for everyone one, and definitely didn’t have enough food (they only had 5 loaves and 2 fish) but they gave what they had to Jesus (the key to victory). Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish and ended up feeding 5,000 men, plus women and children (Matthew 14:21) – and there were plenty of leftovers (Mark 6:43). Jesus didn’t do this to dazzle His disciples, He was hoping they would see who He was…but their hearts were hard (Mark 6:52).

The Gospel of John tells us (in John 6:15) that at this time the people wanted to make Jesus King, so He sends everyone away and goes to the mountain to pray. As He prays, He sees the guys straining at rowing, for the wind was against them, so He came to them walking on the sea on the fourth watch of the night (3AM). They were afraid, but Jesus stilled their hearts, as well as the storm, and they all marveled beyond measure.

Do I know – do you know that Jesus sees us straining at rowing, struggling to make progress? We may not like the struggle, it doesn’t feel good (it hurts) and we may not like the timing of when He comes to us (we perceive it to be late), but take heart…He WILL come to us walking all over the opposition (under His feet) and we will make it to the other side.

When they arrived on the other side, the people came to Him, “…and as many as touched Him were made well.” So simple and yet so rare. May we come to Him and stretch out our faith to touch Him.

Psalm 40:1-10

We seem to find ourselves in this place frequently. You would think after all these years (for some of us) we’d of “arrived” by now. But no, not on this side of time, we will struggle, we will feel as we’re in a pit and will need the Lord to pull us up and out. 

When He does (so frequently) we will have a new song of praise (Psalm 40:3) and we are reminded of his wonderful works/innumerable thoughts towards us (Yes, God always has you on His mind).

Psalm 40:5 (NKJV) “Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”

Psalm 40:6-8 is a prophecy of Jesus (Hebrews 10:5-9) how in this “scroll of the book, it is written of Him.” It’s all about Jesus (John 5:39). You can open the Bible anywhere and preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. In the Old Testament it’s Jesus predicted. In the Gospels it’s Jesus manifested. In the book of Acts it’s Jesus preached. In the Epistles it’s Jesus explained. And in the book of Revelation it’s Jesus Returned.

Psalm 40:10 is how Jesus has given us the final formal word from His Father (Hebrews 1:1-2). It’s also a good source of inspiration for all those who seek to speak His Word to the people He loves.

Proverbs 10:11-12

Proverbs 10:11 (NKJV) “The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.”

Words of God’s wisdom bring life and that more abundantly, but words from below – words that are merely human or demonic, stir up violence and can even be verbal abuse. Be careful what you say.

Proverbs 10:12 (NKJV) “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.”

What do we do when we’re wronged? It says a lot about us. If we fight fire with fire and stir it up, we only prove we’re haters. But if we turn the other cheek, and cover all those sins, it shows we’re lovers, it shows we’re saved.

The fruit of the Spirit is…love (Galatians 5:22)

(see also Proverbs 15:18; 17:9)

1 Peter 4:8, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’”

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.

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