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February 22, Day #53 – The Compounding Effects of Sin

God never forgets anything … except the forgiven sins of His children (Hebrews 8:12). Properly, we should say that He remembers everything, but He “forgets” by forgiving us of sin and then “remembering our sins no more.” How can He remember so much? Our minds do not work like His mind, and with all our fallibilities, it’s easy for us to forget things and difficult for us to remember things. We become so quickly distracted; God never does. Of course, He remembers so much because He is God, and His omniscience reveals to us that He is a God of infinitesimal details … He is concerned about minutiae. Today’s Exodus readings focus on what seems to be some of the most insignificant details regarding the Old Testament Jewish sacrifices. We might even become a bit bored as we read about all those details and minutiae, but they testify that our God especially cares about them. Thus, He cares about us, too. In Exodus 29-30 today, we read about the consecration of the priests for priestly service to God. Things had to be done in order – because God is a God of order. How would you like to have an out-of-order God? Here, we see a step-by-step process. Aaron and his sons were to be "anointed … ordained … consecrated" … over a period of “seven days” (verses 29-34). God said, “Do everything I have commanded you” (verse 35). No cutting corners; no shortcuts. Why did God want it done like this? Because “then," He says, "I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God,” and “they will know that I am the LORD their God” (verses 45-46). In chapter 30, we see the same thing with the altar of incense, the atonement money, the wash basin, the anointing oil, and the fragrant incense. Each of these elements serves God’s sacred purpose – in fact, the word "sacred" appears at least twelve times in these two chapters alone (cf., Exodus 29:6, 29, 31, 33, and 34; then in Exodus 30:25, 31-32, and 35), all referring to sacred headwear, places, food, anointing oil, and incense. God wants us to understand that His purposes are holy.

Thus far in Proverbs, we have read a lot about the perils of the adulterous woman, and we have pointed out that she is representative of almost anything that can distract us from purity, righteousness, and the sacred things of God. Here in Proverbs 5:15-21, God tells us to practice selectivity and exclusion in our spousal relationships. “Let them [these relationships] be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers” (verse 17). This flies directly in the face of contemporary man’s belief systems and social structures, but “our ways are in full view of” a God “Who examines our paths” (verse 21). Failure in this area produces a lifetime of misery, as we see in the latter half of Mark 6.

Mark 6:6-29 gives us the account of Jesus sending out His disciples “two by two” with “authority over evil spirits” (verse 6). Verse 12 tells us that “they went out and preached” and “drove out many demons and healed many sick people.” The next section informs us about how John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod, who mistakenly thought Jesus was John raised up from the dead. Here, we see a classic example of applied truth from our readings in Proverbs. Herod was an evil reprobate – a scoundrel - with a lust for power and a roving eye for women. Earlier, John had denounced Herod for his “unlawful marriage” to his brother’s wife, Herodias. When her daughter danced before Herod’s dinner guests, he became so intoxicated by her performance as to offer the girl “anything she wanted” (verse 22). We see that she didn’t know what she wanted (… have we heard anything like this before?). However, Herodias - equally a reprobate - did know what she wanted – revenge. She demanded John the Baptist’s head, which was immediately removed and served up on a platter - according to her wishes. This reveals to us the increasing nature and compounding effects of sin and how it also harms innocent people.

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