Monday, April 16, 2012

When God Speaks...

Psalm 50:1-6
A psalm of Asaph.
1 The Mighty One, God, the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
2 From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
3 Our God comes
and will not be silent;
a fire devours before him,
and around him a tempest rages.
4 He summons the heavens above,
and the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 “Gather to me this consecrated people,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
6 And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
for he is a God of justice.

Leviticus 11:1-28
Clean and Unclean Food

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: 3 You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud. 4 “‘There are some that only chew the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. 5 The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. 6 The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. 7 And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. 8 You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.9 “‘Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10 But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to regard as unclean. 11 And since you are to regard them as unclean, you must not eat their meat; you must regard their carcasses as unclean. 12 Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be regarded as unclean by you.13 “‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the red kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of raven, 16 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

Mark 3:20-35
Jesus Accused by His Family and by Teachers of the Law
20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” 23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.” 31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Reflections: Psalm 50 reflects on the fact that God sometimes seems silent. When some people see the injustices in the world, they wonder if God cares, of if God can do anything about it. But the psalmist affirms that when God does act, all of Creation will be in concert with it. Fire will precede His coming and the tempest will rage in response to His revelation. And within this action, is the gathering of His people to be set apart, or consecrated to Him. God’s holiness, His revelation sets us apart for His work to show the world His righteousness.

In Leviticus 11, we begin the listing of the kosher dietary restrictions of the covenant, which are still held by Orthodox and some Conservative Jews. Most of the things that Moses declares unclean for the consecrated people to eat are still things today that we would under most conditions not eat. One exception may be pork, which people are divided on whether it is good or bad for you. Because of the pig digestion’s system and it’s not chewing the cud, was considered unclean and still today by many Jews.

A popular diet called “The Maker’s Diet” attempted to bring in biblical principles into one’s diet and other areas of holistic health. You can access this link to read more about it and make your own assessment.

The point is God gives these laws not to be restrictive but for the good of the Israelites. The studies show and give evidence that those who follow God’s way of eating live longer. (I.e. the Maker’s Diet)

Finally, in our gospel lesson in Mark 3, we see that as Jesus does his miracles, the leaders demonize Jesus, for they had no other way to account for his miracles. Sometimes the way people try to account for the things they cannot understand is to say, “Well the devil must have been behind that.” In fact, Jesus was living out everything that was prophesized about him in the Old Testament, but the leaders were threatened by his power and authority because it challenged theirs. Thus they sought to discredit Jesus by any means possible to protect their identity.

As we move out in kingdom power and in response to the Great Commission and start doing the things Jesus called us to do, there will be others who will misinterpret our actions. Some may even try to “demonize” us. If it happened to Jesus and his followers who obeyed His Commission, we should expect the same kind of treatment.

The Lord grants peace within your borders. Psalm 147:14

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

Dear God, lover of peace, thank you for showing us paths to peace in our daily lives. Help us to show others by our words and our lives that living peaceably is sharing your love. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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