Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 2- Once Upon A Time...

March 2, 2011

Scripture Readings:
Leviticus 25:47-27:13; Mark 10:32-52;
Psalm 45:1-17; Proverbs 10:22

Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale of all. 
 ~Hans Christian Andersen

Leviticus 25:47-27:13

When the kids were little we spent many hours readings children's books and fairy tales.  My daughter particularly loved fairy tales.  When you think about what we all love in a good story you realize that conflict is an important element.  Let me give you an example.  What if I summarized a story I had written and it went something like this...  "Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl who lived in a wonderful town where nothing ever went wrong.  The End."  How did you like that little story?  Boring, huh?

Today in our reading God gives us a glimpse into the future story of the Israelites.  This is a prophetic portion of Scripture.  We see that there is going to be plenty of conflict in God's story with His chosen people.  There will be no boring tale here.  The story is marked by "ifs" and "thens."  If you do this...then I'll do that. 

God reiterates the Ten Commandments and begins to weave the story of the trouble that Israel will have in obeying these commandments.  Here are some of the ifs and thens:
  • If you obey my statutes, then you will receive rain in due season and your crops will multiply.  You will eat your fill in a peaceful land.  It will not be overrun by wild beasts or enemies. You will defeat your enemies and I will multiply your population. I will also dwell with you and walk among you.  Vs. 3-13
  • If you disobey my commandments  and despise my statutes, will have terror, consumption of your crops by enemies, burning fevers and disease, sorrow of heart and crop failure. This is the first pronounced judgment.- Vs. 16-17
  • Next, no rain and no crops Vs. 18-20 second judgment
  • Overrun by wild beasts that kill your children and cattle Vs. 21-22 third judgment
  • Enemies will breach your community and illness will strike the Israelites.  This ends in their captivity in Babylon. Vs. 23-26  fourth judgment
  • You will eat the flesh of your sons and daughters -Vs. 27-29  (This does happen. Keep reading.)
  • Your cities will be destroyed and taken over by enemies and the Jews will be scattered. Vs. 30-33 fifth judgment.  This has occurred several times for the Jewish people (Samaria, Babylon, Rome)
  • God says the land will rest while you are in captivity (Babylon) since you would not let it rest as I commanded. Vs. 34-35
  • Anti-Semitism will prevail Vs. 36-39
  • Now we start a new "if."  If the Israelites will confess their sins, be humbled and accept the punishments I have given them, then..I will remember my covenant with Jacob (Israel) and Abraham and I will remember the land.  (Please note:  God always ties the Jews back to the land He promised them.  This continues until the end of time on earth.) The final verses indicate a reconciliation of the Israelites with God and the land.
These passages indicate that God understands the importance of conflict in a good story.  This is His story and it is filled with ups and downs, successes and failures, punishments and rewards, loss and recovery.  When God started His "Once upon a time..." He wasn't some hack telling a boring story.  His story is filled with conflict, suffering, redemption, good, evil, and finally, a happy ending.

How has God used conflict in your life?  Can you list how God has been involved in your failures and successes?  What do you learn about God's mind and personality through this?

Mark 10:32-52

I have heard that soldiers in battle will often get a bad feeling before a certain assignment or battle.  They can sense that something bad is going to happen.  That is how this passage of the book of Mark begins.  The disciples and followers of Jesus are heading to Jerusalem and are filled with dread.  Jesus, once again, pulls aside the disciples and gives them a run down of what is going to happen to him.  Never ones to miss an opportunity, James and John pull Jesus aside to request being on his right and left hands in the coming Kingdom. These would have been the top places of honor!  The other disciples are pissed.  Jockeying for position is nothing new to this group. 

Jesus takes this opportunity to reemphasize a lesson he has been trying to teach be a leader in God's Kingdom, you must be a servant.  To emulate Christ, you must be baptized with suffering.  Do you realize that the suffering you experience in this life, if faced with humility and faith, develop you as a spiritual leader?  Are you always jockeying for a power position here on earth? In God's future Kingdom, those who have endured suffering, while relying on God, will be the leaders.  Those who have served others will be in the power positions.

How do you think our modern church is perhaps not understanding the lesson Christ is giving in this passage?

Psalm 45:1-17

Here is a love song to God.  As our King and husband, can you sing this song to God with honesty?

Proverbs 10:22

There is no sorrow attached to the type of wealth that comes from God's blessings.  This is a beautiful and truthful statement.

What did you see today?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton


  1. I was struck by God's generosity and blessing when he said they would still be eating last year's harvest when the new harvest was being brought in, and then God's patience with us when we rebel, reap the consequences, rebel some more, suffer more consequences, and then finally repent and he has been waiting there all along, remembering his promises to people hundreds of years ago and saving us for no reason other than he loves us and chooses to save us. Amazing amazing love.

  2. Quite amazing. Good insights, Linda!