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February 28, Day #59 – Holy Ground, or Shaky Ground?



Today we come to the book of Leviticus, which is one of the least read books of the Bible. People usually say that Leviticus is boring – full of obscure laws, rules, and regulations that no longer seem to fit the times. Actually, Leviticus is a fascinating study that helps us understand the Jewish people, their worship, and their history. The plan of God is much greater than the limited amount of information revealed in the Scriptures, and Leviticus is part of God’s plan. He gave us this book out of a deep love for His people, and Leviticus helps to establish God’s love for them – especially His concern for their security – through the boundaries represented in the Levitical law. People who love their children do not allow their children to play on the freeway. So it is with God.


Exodus introduced us to the truth of God’s holiness, but now Leviticus will detail the meaning of holiness, and it will establish God’s command that we be holy (cf., Leviticus 11:44 – this is the key verse of the book). Before God, we stand ugly and repugnant because of our sins. To approach a holy God, we need the purity and beauty of regeneration that only His atonement can provide. Through the Levitical law, God set boundaries for His people to demonstrate His love for them and His concern for their security (i.e., for their safety) in preserving them as a living testimony before a heathen world. Leviticus presents five types of offerings which we will identify and discuss as we come to them. In chapter 1 (which corresponds to Psalm 40 and some of the characteristics of John’s gospel), we see the burnt offering which speaks of the purity of Christ as an offering of sweet-smelling savor (cf., Ephesians 5:2). We note that the burnt offering could be sacrificed from a “herd” (i.e., a bull), a “flock” (i.e., sheep or goats), or from birds (i.e., a young dove or pigeon). Keep in mind that these animals all picture certain attributes that are typical of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today, each of our readings contrasts several associated concepts (i.e., truth, holiness, light, and beauty) with their associated opposites (i.e., falsehood, sin, darkness, and ugliness). In Psalm 26:9-12, David continues to express his desire to lead a “blameless life” (verse 11), by calling upon God to preserve him “from sinners and bloodthirsty men” (verse 9). Their “hands” are the agents of “wicked schemes” – especially “bribes” offered with their “right hands” (verse 10). David would say that such people are aimless in their approach to life – they are not concerned about living blamelessly – otherwise they would not perpetrate wickedness and bribery. Under God’s care to help him live blamelessly, David asserts that his “feet can stand on level ground” (verse 12) as opposed to wicked men who walk on shaky ground.

In Mark 9:33-50, we see the disciples arguing about “who was the greatest” (verse 33). This argument was generated by the disciples’ inability to cast out the evil spirit from the boy we read about yesterday. To us, it may seem strange that the disciples should argue over who was the greatest, but again, we see that Christians – even disciples of Jesus – are human, and we all experience human desires, emotions, and faults. Being in the presence of Christ must have drawn their attention to His divine characteristics, and they must have sensed a need to compare themselves with each other. Their debate among themselves was probably a very human debate, but Jesus wanted to set them straight. For this, He drew their attention to another child. “Whoever welcomes one of these little children welcomes me” (verse 37). Jesus is teaching that the first shall be last (cf., Matthew 20:16). Jesus knew His disciples when they did not know themselves. He already knew they would all flee in fear at His trial before His death. He didn’t belittle them; He explained the reality of their thoughts and words. Being great is not always a comfortable thing; it is a sacrifice. Jesus warned them (and us) that we had better not “cause a little one to sin” (verses 42-50).


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