February 25

Leviticus 16:29-18:30

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) was the only holy day of Israel in which the people fasted rather than feasted. They were to contemplate their sins and mourn over them (Leviticus 16:29). They were also commanded not to work on this holy day, but to recognize it as a Sabbath. What an epic day it was!

Leviticus 16:34 (NKJV) “This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.” And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.”

While the children of Israel were in the wilderness they had a staple diet of Manna, therefore the eating of the meat of animals was not as common. When they DID slaughter an animal for food, the commandment at this point is to bring a portion to the LORD, it was to take place at the Tabernacle and would be a Peace Offering, also known as a Fellowship Offering, where the Lord had a portion, the Priests had a portion, and the person/family offering the sacrifice had a portion.

God also prohibited the offerings of sacrifices anywhere other than the Tabernacle. This was intended to keep all sacrifices pure and in accordance with the Levitical laws, otherwise altars would be built everywhere there were high places and those altars might be used to offer sacrifices to pagan gods (which tragically did eventually happen in Israel).

The diet of Jews (even today in the orthodox community) was to be kosher, they were not allowed to eat/drink the blood. The reasoning is found in:

Leviticus 17:11 (NKJV) “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”

Animals that died “naturally” may have died from disease, so the Lord therefore declared them unclean; in Leviticus 22:8 God prohibited its consumption.

In Leviticus 18 the LORD addresses the perverse practices of the Canaanites and commands His people NOT to do what they did – just as God commands Christians not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2). May we never forget that right and wrong are not determined by the world’s laws or cultural relativism – what’s right and wrong is determined by God, our Designer, Maker, and Maintainer who alone knows what is good for us individually and as a society.

God prohibits all forms of incest and sets boundaries in sexual intimacy. If this area of our lives is not surrendered to the Lord, than the depravity of man will lead to a society of corruption. For that reason we see the digression that took place in Canaan. In Leviticus 18:21 we have the prohibition of sacrificing our children to Molech (the abortion of their days).

Got Questions, “In addition to sexual rituals, Moloch worship included child sacrifice, or “passing children through the fire.” It is believed that idols of Moloch were giant metal statues of a man with a bull’s head. Each image had a hole in the abdomen and possibly outstretched forearms that made a kind of ramp to the hole. A fire was lit in or around the statue. Babies were placed in the statue’s arms or in the hole. When a couple sacrificed their firstborn, they believed that Moloch would ensure financial prosperity for the family and future children.” (click HERE for the full article)

After abortion the issue of homosexuality is addressed.

Leviticus 18:22 (NKJV) “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” 

This is not simply an Old Testament prohibition, it is a command repeated in the New Testament and is binding for all today (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 1:26-32). I pray that Christians and especially young people would not buy the lie propagated by the culture that such behavior is acceptable to God. I also pray for anyone reading this who might be struggling in this area. I pray you would know that God loves you, and is able to help you overcome. If you’re considering the Christian life, please know that we ALL are called to deny ourselves, and take up our cross in order to follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). (And just in case you’re interested, here’s a YouTube link that may be helpful for you from someone who’s been there and was able to overcome)

Sexual immorality. Incest. Abortion. Homosexuality. What’s next? Beastiality (Leviticus 18:23). If we don’t allow God to set our standards, determining what’s right and wrong, then everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes…and that’s exactly what happened in Canaan (Leviticus 18:23). For that reason God was forced to judge this land.

Leviticus 18:24–25 (NKJV) “Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. 25 For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.”

Mark 7:24-8:10

This Syro-Phoenician woman teaches us how to pray.

We see that Jesus tested her by not immediately answering. Would she continue to pray? At first it seemed as if Jesus was ignoring her, then it seemed as if Jesus was insulting her, but neither were the case. Jesus was drawing out her faith. This woman didn’t give up, she kept praying with the realization that all we need are the crumbs from our Father’s table! She was given a child-of-the-King’s portion in response to her faith.

May her story inspire us as we pray, especially for our children or those oppressed or possessed by demons. Believe and receive.

When Jesus healed the deaf-mute in such a unique way (fingers in his ears, spittle on his tongue) not only is it a demonstration that God is not bound by “patterns,” it was another case of Christ drawing out one’s faith. The man was healed and the synopsis was evident, “…He has done all things well.” (Mark 7:37) Amen!

Although Jesus was/is the Son of God sent from heaven – He is perfectly “down to earth” and practical in His love. The people needed food and He met that need for survival. In the process He demonstrates His infinite love and glory – feeding 4,000 men plus women and children (Matthew 15:38). I can’t even begin to imagine how good that food was that day, from the loving hands of the greatest chef in all eternity.

Psalm 41:1-13

David was once again, going through hard times. Isn’t it amazing how many of these Psalms were songs in the “night” (Job 35:10)? I’ve noticed that when we go through spiritual, emotional, and physical suffering, these are opportunities to sing by faith, in order to deepen our walks and strengthen our witness (here we are…studying David’s writings 3,000 years later).

The enemy was trying to take David down, tempting him to lose heart, and to forsake his faith. One of the hardest hits to handle is when a family member or friend betrays us. This happened with David when his son Absalom turned against him along with his good friend Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15-18). This was also a prophecy of how Judas would betray Jesus (John 13:18).

David gave himself to prayer; that God would grant him that victory over the enemy…and He did. God will do the same for us.

Proverbs 10:15-16

Proverbs 10:15 (NKJV) The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the destruction of the poor is their poverty.

Charles Bridges, The wealth of the rich man fences him in and protects him from many invading evils. But this leads him to rest on human protection as his comfort and security in life. All thoughts about God are blotted out, and man becomes a god to himself. The poor have no such defense. They live in a city that has no walls and are exposed to every attack (14:20; 19:7; 22:7; John 7:48–49).”

Both the rich and poor need the Lord, but the rich often refuse to seek God because they’re satisfied with what they’ve found in the world. 

It’s not a blanket statement, but generally speaking, the poor are usually more open to the gospel. Which is why James wrote in: 

James 2:5 (NKJV) “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”

The rich need to become poor in spirit, and the poor must become rich in faith.

Proverbs 10:16 (NKJV) “The labor of the righteous leads to life, the wages of the wicked to sin.

We can look at this passage materially, or, spiritually. Materially speaking, “The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin.” – Proverbs 10:16 (NLT) 

We work, earn, and spend our money on things that are good for us and others; while the wages of the wicked, are frequently spent on sin.

There is a material application, but I have a hunch, this is what Paul the Apostle was alluding to when he penned:

Romans 6:23 (NKJV) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So someone says, “Wait a minute Manny, our labor or works don’t earn us a sliver of salvation!” True; but when he says the labor of the righteous leads to life, consider a couple of things:

#1 I can’t help but think of John 6:28-29, “Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’”

And not just that, they say it takes money to make money.

And in the same mentality:

#2 It takes life, in order to labor for more life – you can be a soul-winner. (Proverbs 11:30)

1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

Our “labor” in the Lord is simple solid faith in Jesus Christ. At best, all we can “earn” is death (Isaiah 64:6), but when we trust Jesus, we receive the unearned (unmerited favor) gift of salvation. Have you wisely chosen to believe and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior? You can do that right now.

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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