Leviticus 20:22-22:16; Mark 9:1-29;
Psalm 43:1-5; Proverbs 10:18
Today God uses the visual of vomit to describe what He intends to do to the Canaanites in the Promised Land. He says that the land is going to vomit them out because of the detestable way they live their lives. Here is God's declaration in Leviticus 20:23-24, "Do not live by the customs of the people whom I will expel before you. It is because they do these terrible things that I detest them so much."
After describing the Canaanites expulsion as vomiting, God ironically says that He will give the Israelites the land flowing with milk and honey. We will see in our future readings that God is not a respecter of persons. He will regurgitate the Israelites out of this land, too, when they begin to follow the pagan practices of these people. The milk and honey will curdle in the land and be expelled (this is symbolic, of course).
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."That means that you and I are obliged to live lives that reflect our relationship with God. We are to be priests who are willing to be living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2). Scripture indicates that God desires mercy more than physical sacrifices of animals. In other words, once Christ died for all, our priesthood is based on giving God our sacrifice of worship, attitudes, behaviors, and forsaking sins. We are to die to self, in order to live for Him. Our lives are to be living pictures of Christ's grace and obedience.
Leviticus is a book about holiness. To be set apart is the theme God is presenting. How does your life reflect that you are part of God's royal priesthood? Have you noticed that God talks about idolatry and prostitution a lot? He is zealous to be your one and only lover. Are you a faithful priest? Would you consider yourself "set apart" for God?
Yesterday Jesus spent a lot of time sighing. It was tiresome to him that no one understood or had faith. Today we see Jesus giving Peter, James, and John an opportunity to increase their faith by seeing something miraculous. Jesus describes it as, "...some of you will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power." Mark 9:1 Six days later, Peter, James, and John experience the Transfiguration of Christ on the mountain. God declares to them that Jesus is His son that He loves. Listen to him! Jesus tells them not to tell anyone about this until he has risen from the dead. Peter and the others discuss what he might have meant by "rising from the dead." Who can blame them? The Old Testament was not crystal clear on this. Jesus was clarifying concepts they would not have fully understood.
You and I are in the same boat as Peter and the disciples with regard to the end times. It is somewhat murky as to how it will all unfold. But we can count on Malachi's prophecy to be true. Elijah will proceed the second coming of Christ.
Jesus also reveals, when healing a deaf and mute boy who was being tormented by an evil spirit, that certain casting out of spirits required a level of faith that includes prayer and fasting. The disciples were not quite mature enough for this.
Do you have faith to believe Christ without seeing results immediately? Do you have to have a miracle in your life to trust Christ? What about an immediate answer to prayer? Does your faith falter if you don't get your way with God?
Here is a formula for prayer when you are depressed... Vs. 5 "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."
Admit your depression, give it to God, and then put your hope in His promises. It can help.
Do you hide your hatred? God calls this lying. I think the message here is that we must be honest with our emotions in order to deal with them. If you hate, you should admit that. Then you can begin to confess and work on the issues. Honesty is the best policy.
What did you notice today? Please share.