1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
1 The LORD said to Moses: 2 “If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor, 3 or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit— 4 when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, 5 or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering. 6 And as a penalty they must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, their guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. 7 In this way the priest will make atonement for them before the LORD, and they will be forgiven for any of the things they did that made them guilty.”
The Burnt Offering
8 The LORD said to Moses: 9 “Give Aaron and his sons this command: ‘These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar. 10 The priest shall then put on his linen clothes, with linen undergarments next to his body, and shall remove the ashes of the burnt offering that the fire has consumed on the altar and place them beside the altar. 11 Then he is to take off these clothes and put on others, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean. 12 The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. 13 The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.
Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy
40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
Reflections: Psalm 46 is a classic psalm that is worthy to put to memory or at least parts of it. Verses 1 through 3 are great, as well as verses 10 through 11. A great verse to meditate is “Be still and know that I am God.” If you are the anxious type, this is an awesome verse to calm your thoughts and realize God is in charge. As we realize that nothing happens outside of God’s realm of influence it helps to put things into perspective.
In Leviticus we see two new offerings, the guilt offering and burnt offering. They are lesser offenses than the sin offering but still require the sacrifices given to the priest. Notice the provision for those of lesser means to bring pigeons and/or birds if they couldn’t afford the rams. Also notice when someone stole something they had to return what they had stolen from the owner plus 20% and also bring a guilt offering of a ram to the priest. So we see they are righting what was wrong from the person they stole from and also realize that their offense was an offense to God and the priest needed to atone for their sins before God. So it brings home the point that as we sin against our neighbor we also sin against God.
Finally we see in Mark, which is the rapid fire Gospel, Jesus getting up early in the morning to pray. As he prayed he realized that he needed to move on to Galilee from Jerusalem. It was in prayer in consultation with God that Jesus’ agenda was determined. The disciples came in and said, “Everyone is looking for you!” But Jesus realized before he met the demands of the crowd, He needed to have communion with His Father. So that when the man with leprosy came up and begged Jesus to heal him, he was indignant. Probably because of course he was willing, and the man assumed he wouldn’t be. This probably is reflective of all the laws of Leviticus regard things that we unholy touching things that were holy. Lepers were regarded as unclean, and so the leper assumed Jesus would want no part of him, and of course he was wrong!
When do we shy away from Jesus thinking we are unclean before him? Maybe this is when we need him the most! If we assume he would not want us to approach maybe that would make him more indignant than our sin.
Can mortals be righteous before God? Can human beings be pure before their Maker? Job 4:17
Jesus Christ gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:14
Gracious Savior, refresh and purify our hearts and minds to lead us to service in your name. Remind us gently that humility, not hubris is the path to serving you. In Jesus' name, Amen.