Leviticus 7:28-9:6; Mark 3:31-4:25; Psalm 37:12-29; Proverbs 10:5
Wow. I have a million different little thoughts that don't connect to each other at all. So I'm going to do a smorgasbord of bits'n'pieces that caught my attention:
- Lev. 8:6-9: I was strongly reminded of the moment in The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy when one of Theodin's commanders is dressing him for battle, putting on his armor piece by piece, serving him as the king readied himself to fulfill his duty. Is it not the same here? Moses engages in a humble service of equipping a leader to do his responsibilities - he prepares and makes possible the work of the priesthood. And then he releases Aaron and his sons for their job, knowing his own place and responsibilities. A striking visual image.
- Lev. 8:18 (and also 7:30): God wants the person offering the sacrifice to be intimately involved, touching the animal as it is slaughtered. I wonder if this was to move the person toward an understanding of his/her own culpability? To prevent him/her from distancing him/herself from the reality of sin and the need for sacrifice?
- Mk. 3:34-35: Jesus defines family anew, and this new definition includes me, includes us! As I do God's will, I am Jesus' brother and sister and mother. Amazing.
- Mk. 4:3-9: My husband referenced this on Sunday as he was teaching about spiritual disciplines. I've always thought of this parable as a story about evangelism - those various soils are the kinds of people that I talk to about Jesus. Some will never really have the chance to hear because of Satan's efforts, some will have initial (but only initial) joy in the good news, some will be distracted and consumed by the worries of life, but some will produce good fruit. And that's true. But it is also true that these soils can describe my own life. Even as I follow Jesus, how am I preparing the soil of my heart to receive God's word? How much of what God wants to show me about himself and about myself is seed that falls along the path, that I don't accept because I'm too busy believing other lies? How much falls on rocky places, where I hear with initial joy, but don't live out those truths because of the demands of my world? How much seed lands among the thorns, which steal life and fruitfulness as I fret and worry and focus on the "other things"? (I'm reminded of Mt. 6:25-33.) How instead do I prepare my heart to be good soil, so that when I hear the word, I accept it and produce a crop?
- Ps. 37:25-26: This is so, so true. And such a sweet reminder to me. For some reason, I'm always a bit anxious about money during February. I don't know why, but each year as I read this psalm, I'm so grateful for the reassurance. I'm not old yet, but I can still attest to this truth: God does not forsake the righteous; my children will never be reduced to begging for bread; as I am generous and give freely, my children will be blessed. They may not be wealthy; I may not be wealthy. Wealth is not the only or even primary blessing here. As I am righteous, I am blessed with the knowledge of God's love for me, his attentiveness to me, his heart toward me. And as I see in the lives of our parents and in the life I now share with Eric, people are blessed by following Jesus and living generously. As my children hear the stories and see the evidence, they too grow in their certainty that God loves them, God is with them, God is for them. What greater blessing could I desire for my children?
- Pr. 10:5: What are the opportunities in my life right now? How do I "gather" them, rather than "sleeping" the harvest away? Those opportunities may be occupational, they may be relational, they may be centered more internally. What are the crops that God has placed before me?
- Sarah Marsh
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