This section begins with God communicating to the children of Israel that they were not to offer to God their “leftovers.” Their sacrifices were to be without blemish and without defect – we even read in:
Leviticus 22:20–21 (NKJV) “Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it shall not be acceptable on your behalf. 21 And whoever offers a sacrifice…it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.”
The children of Israel were commanded not to offer the bruised, or crushed, or torn, or cut (Leviticus 22:24). Imagine you had a lamb that was on it’s last leg, on the verge of dying, so when it’s time for a sin offering you figure, “Well that one’s almost gone anyway…” and you give it to God lackadaisically instead of sacrificially. We can easily be that way with God – instead of donating a new couch to the church, we donate the used couch. Instead of giving to God first, we give God the leftovers. Let’s give to God the “fat of the firstborn,” and the “best of the best.”
When the children of Israel fell far away from God, He rebuked the leaders for this very thing, something addressed in Malachi 1:6-14. We read some specifics in:
Malachi 1:8 (NKJV) “‘And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?’ Says the LORD of hosts.”
Malachi 1:13–14 (NKJV) “You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it,” Says the LORD of hosts. “And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?” Says the LORD. 14 “But cursed be the deceiver who has in his flock a male, and takes a vow, but sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished—for I am a great King,” says the LORD of hosts, ‘And My name is to be feared among the nations.’”
Leviticus 23 covers the 7 Holy Days of Israel (Feast Days)
Warren Wiersbe has a simple breakdown of the 7 Holy Days and their symbolism:
1. Passover – Christ, the Lamb, who died for us. John 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7
2. Unleavened Bread – The Christian life of fellowship, separation from sin, and feeding on Christ. 1 Cor. 5:6–8
3. Firstfruits – The Resurrection of Christ. 1 Cor. 15:20–23
4. Pentecost – The Coming of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1ff.
5. Trumpets – The Gathering together of God’s people. Isa. 27:12–13; Matt. 24:29–31; 1 Thess. 4:13–18
6. Day of Atonement – The future cleansing of God’s people. Zech. 13:1–2; Rom. 14:10
7. Tabernacles – The future joy of God’s people in His kingdom. Zech. 14:16–21
If you’d like an inexpensive but solid resource on this I would highly recommend Rose Publishing’s, “Feast of the Bible” laminated handout.
Here’s a link to the item on Amazon:
And here’s a chart that I’ve previously share with you that I’ve found to be very helpful:
Once again, Jesus predicts His death and resurrection; and once again the disciples don’t understand, due to preconceived ideas (Mark 9:30-32). The disciples were under the impression that Jesus was just about to set up His Kingdom on earth, and they had been disputing who would be the greatest (imagine that). Once again, Jesus teaches them:
Mark 9:35 (NKJV) “And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
The fallen world, our fallen nature, and fallen angels (demons) all equate greatness with promotion, with being the top gun, ruling over others. But the truth of heaven is inverted, that the one esteemed in God’s eyes, is the one willing to serve, and even willing to serve any and ALL.
In the church today some may consider the pastor as the “greatest,” but that’s not the way it is, that’s not how it works. God looks not at the position, but at the heart – “Is that person willing to serve any and all?” As a matter of fact, Jesus seemed to especially esteem children’s ministry which can take place at home or elsewhere – when you give just a cup of water or fishy crackers to a little one, you’ve blessed the heart of God.
In those days children were not esteemed, so Jesus issues a heavy warning to those who cause children to stumble – that it would be better for that person to tie a 1,000 pound stone around their necks and be cast into the sea, than to face the judgment of God for what they’ve done to that child. We are to value and cherish our children…let’s be extremely careful how we treat them – let’s not belittle them, disrespect them, or treat them in such a way that we’ve broken their spirit, or they’ll never want to be a Christian.
Jesus then connects this to hell and the Lake of Fire, even though this place is not limited to child molestors. This place is for those who choose any sin over salvation. In order to be granted the gift of heaven, we must be willing to acknowledge our sin, let go of it, and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. For that reason we are to deal drastically with sin. Jesus is not telling us to literally chop off our hand, or foot, or to literally pluck out our eye, but we are to treat sin as cancer and urgently perform spiritual surgery – get rid of it!
Mark 9:49 is difficult to interpret – about 15 possibilities have been proposed. The fire, contextually speaking, may refer to the fact that Jesus has just warned about the fires of hell which are never quenched. A healthy fear of hell can propel us to be those living sacrifices. Salt is a seasoning, a preservative, and creates thirst. As we live our lives obediently, we will have these effects on society. (see also Leviticus 2:13; Matthew 5:13)
The Pharisees come to Jesus with a question about divorce, they were testing Him. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” Jesus puts the question back in their lap, and they say divorce is ok, looking only to the surface of the Scriptures…but Jesus goes deeper. Jesus takes them back to the original marriage, the origin of marriage and reveals the fact that there was a concession in the Mosaic law because of the hardness of man’s heart, but the Master’s law is, “What God has joined together, let not man separate!” (the only exception being adultery and abandonment -see also 1 Corinthians 7:15)
I’ve always considered this (in one sense) the foundation of marriage, the foundational truth of marriage. The more you believe it was GOD who joined you together, the deeper and stronger your foundation will be. If your foundation is deep, you can build a skyscraper. The less you believe it was GOD who put you together when you said “I do,” the more shallow your foundation will be, and this will be reflected in your marriage and marriage commitment. God honors our vows and calls it “Holy Matrimony,” He makes us one, till death do us part.
Divorce for trivial reasons might be allowed by the law of the land, but it doesn’t line up with the heart of God for marriage – He made us one, and we are to remain one – this type of love, is true-love and blessed by God.
It’s a blessing to look back, to see what God has done in generations past, and then to look forward, pray and ask that God would do it for us as well; that He would once again move in our generation.
This contemplation of the sons of Korah is that type of Psalm, knowing that it wasn’t the people who gave Israel the land, it wasn’t their own arm, or their own sword, it was God’s favor, it was God’s right arm! So they pray:
Psalm 44:4–5 (NKJV) “You are my King, O God; Command victories for Jacob. 5 Through You we will push down our enemies; through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us.”
It doesn’t mean we do nothing, we do, but we fight from victory (not for victory).
Proverbs 10:19 (NKJV) “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”
Bishop Butler said this takes place when, “…conversation is, merely the exercise of the tongue; no other human faculty has any part in it.”
It’s when our mouth is running, but our brains aren’t thinking, and our hearts aren’t loving. My heart goes out to people, who have no concept of Ecclesiastes 3:7, “there is a time to keep silence.” You would think it’s easy to know when, we should stop talking, but some people never learn.
True story of a lady who approached D.L. Moody with the words, “My talent is to speak my mind.” John Wesley wisely responded by saying, “I’m sure God wouldn’t object if you buried that talent.”
Ecclesiastes 5:3b, “…a fool’s voice is known by his many words.”
It was said of an old sanctified Christian, “The older he grew, the less he spoke, and the more he said.”
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.