Today our passages are Leviticus 14:1-57; Mark 6:30-56; Psalm 40:1-10; and Proverbs 10:11-12. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. If you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.
Leviticus 14:1-57 (The Message)
Leviticus 141-9 God spoke to Moses: "These are the instructions for the infected person at the time of his cleansing. First, bring him to the priest. The priest will take him outside the camp and make an examination; if the infected person has been healed of the serious skin disease, the priest will order two live, clean birds, some cedar wood, scarlet thread, and hyssop to be brought for the one to be cleansed. The priest will order him to kill one of the birds over fresh water in a clay pot. The priest will then take the live bird with the cedar wood, the scarlet thread, and the hyssop and dip them in the blood of the dead bird over fresh water and then sprinkle the person being cleansed from the serious skin disease seven times and pronounce him clean. Finally, he will release the live bird in the open field. The cleansed person, after washing his clothes, shaving off all his hair, and bathing with water, is clean. Afterwards he may again enter the camp, but he has to live outside his tent for seven days. On the seventh day, he must shave off all his hair—from his head, beard, eyebrows, all of it. He then must wash his clothes and bathe all over with water. He will be clean. 10-18 "The next day, the eighth day, he will bring two lambs without defect and a yearling ewe without defect, along with roughly six quarts of fine flour mixed with oil. The priest who pronounces him clean will place him and the materials for his offerings in the presence of God at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. The priest will take one of the lambs and present it and the pint of oil as a Compensation-Offering and lift them up as a Wave-Offering before God. He will slaughter the lamb in the place where the Absolution-Offering and the Whole-Burnt-Offering are slaughtered, in the Holy Place, because like the Absolution-Offering, the Compensation-Offering belongs to the priest; it is most holy. The priest will now take some of the blood of the Compensation-Offering and put it on the right earlobe of the man being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. Following that he will take some oil and pour it into the palm of his left hand and then with the finger of his right hand sprinkle oil seven times before God. The priest will put some of the remaining oil on the right earlobe of the one being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, placing it on top of the blood of the Compensation-Offering. He will put the rest of the oil on the head of the man being cleansed and make atonement for him before God.
19-20 "Finally the priest will sacrifice the Absolution-Offering and make atonement for the one to be cleansed from his uncleanness, slaughter the Whole-Burnt-Offering and offer it with the Grain-Offering on the Altar. He has made atonement for him. He is clean.
21-22 "If he is poor and cannot afford these offerings, he will bring one male lamb as a Compensation-Offering to be offered as a Wave-Offering to make atonement for him, and with it a couple of quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for a Grain-Offering, a pint of oil, and two doves or pigeons which he can afford, one for an Absolution-Offering and the other for a Whole-Burnt-Offering.
23-29 "On the eighth day he will bring them to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the presence of God. The priest will take the lamb for the Compensation-Offering together with the pint of oil and wave them before God as a Wave-Offering. He will slaughter the lamb for the Compensation-Offering, take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. The priest will pour some of the oil into the palm of his left hand, and with his right finger sprinkle some of the oil from his palm seven times before God. He will put some of the oil that is in his palm on the same places he put the blood of the Compensation-Offering, on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. The priest will take what is left of the oil in his palm and put it on the head of the one to be cleansed, making atonement for him before God.
30-31 "At the last, he will sacrifice the doves or pigeons which are within his means, one as an Absolution-Offering and the other as a Whole-Burnt-Offering along with the Grain-Offering. Following this procedure the priest will make atonement for the one to be cleansed before God."
32 These are the instructions to be followed for anyone who has a serious skin disease and cannot afford the regular offerings for his cleansing.
33-42 God spoke to Moses and Aaron: "When you enter the land of Canaan, which I'm giving to you as a possession, and I put a serious fungus in a house in the land of your possession, the householder is to go and tell the priest, 'I have some kind of fungus in my house.' The priest is to order the house vacated until he can come to examine the fungus, so that nothing in the house is declared unclean. When the priest comes and examines the house, if the fungus on the walls of the house has greenish or rusty swelling that appears to go deeper than the surface of the wall, the priest is to walk out the door and shut the house up for seven days. On the seventh day he is to come back and conduct another examination; if the fungus has spread in the walls of the house, he is to order that the stones affected by the fungus be torn out and thrown in a garbage dump outside the city. He is to make sure the entire inside of the house is scraped and the plaster that is removed be taken away to the garbage dump outside the city. Then he is to replace the stones and replaster the house.
43-47 "If the fungus breaks out again in the house after the stones have been torn out and the house has been scraped and plastered, the priest is to come and conduct an examination; if the fungus has spread, it is a malignant fungus. The house is unclean. The house has to be demolished—its stones, wood, and plaster are to be removed to the garbage dump outside the city. Anyone who enters the house while it is closed up is unclean until evening. Anyone who sleeps or eats in the house must wash his clothes.
48-53 "But if when the priest comes and conducts his examination, he finds that the fungus has not spread after the house has been replastered, the priest is to declare that the house is clean; the fungus is cured. He then is to purify the house by taking two birds, some cedar wood, scarlet thread, and hyssop. He will slaughter one bird over fresh water in a clay pot. Then he will take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet thread, and the living bird, dip them in the blood of the killed bird and the fresh water and sprinkle the house seven times, cleansing the house with the blood of the bird, the fresh water, the living bird, the cedar wood, the hyssop, and the scarlet thread. Last of all, he will let the living bird loose outside the city in the open field. He has made atonement for the house; the house is clean.
54-57 "These are the procedures to be followed for every kind of serious skin disease or itch, for mildew or fungus on clothing or in a house, and for a swelling or blister or shiny spot in order to determine when it is unclean and when it is clean. These are the procedures regarding infectious skin diseases and mildew and fungus."
Mark 6:30-56 (The Message)
Supper for Five Thousand
30-31The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, "Come off by yourselves; let's take a break and get a little rest." For there was constant coming and going. They didn't even have time to eat.
32-34So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke—like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them.
35-36When his disciples thought this had gone on long enough—it was now quite late in the day—they interrupted: "We are a long way out in the country, and it's very late. Pronounce a benediction and send these folks off so they can get some supper."
37Jesus said, "You do it. Fix supper for them."
They replied, "Are you serious? You want us to go spend a fortune on food for their supper?"
38But he was quite serious. "How many loaves of bread do you have? Take an inventory."
That didn't take long. "Five," they said, "plus two fish."
39-44Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred—they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass! He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples in turn gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish. They all ate their fill. The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. More than five thousand were at the supper.
Walking on the Sea
45-46As soon as the meal was finished, Jesus insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead across to Bethsaida while he dismissed the congregation. After sending them off, he climbed a mountain to pray.
47-49Late at night, the boat was far out at sea; Jesus was still by himself on land. He could see his men struggling with the oars, the wind having come up against them. At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea. He intended to go right by them. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and screamed, scared out of their wits.
50-52Jesus was quick to comfort them: "Courage! It's me. Don't be afraid." As soon as he climbed into the boat, the wind died down. They were stunned, shaking their heads, wondering what was going on. They didn't understand what he had done at the supper. None of this had yet penetrated their hearts.
53-56They beached the boat at Gennesaret and tied up at the landing. As soon as they got out of the boat, word got around fast. People ran this way and that, bringing their sick on stretchers to where they heard he was. Wherever he went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat—that's all. And whoever touched him became well.
Psalm 40:1-10 (The Message)
A David Psalm1-3 I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn't slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.
4-5 Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God,
turn your backs on the world's "sure thing,"
ignore what the world worships;
The world's a huge stockpile
of God-wonders and God-thoughts.
Nothing and no one
comes close to you!
I start talking about you, telling what I know,
and quickly run out of words.
Neither numbers nor words
account for you.
6 Doing something for you, bringing something to you—
that's not what you're after.
Being religious, acting pious—
that's not what you're asking for.
You've opened my ears
so I can listen.
7-8 So I answered, "I'm coming.
I read in your letter what you wrote about me,
And I'm coming to the party
you're throwing for me."
That's when God's Word entered my life,
became part of my very being.
9-10 I've preached you to the whole congregation,
I've kept back nothing, God—you know that.
I didn't keep the news of your ways
a secret, didn't keep it to myself.
I told it all, how dependable you are, how thorough.
I didn't hold back pieces of love and truth
For myself alone. I told it all,
let the congregation know the whole story.
Proverbs 10:11-12 (The Message)
11 The mouth of a good person is a deep, life-giving well,
but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.
12 Hatred starts fights,
but love pulls a quilt over the bickering.
Verse of the Day
“Isn't it obvious that conspirators lose out, while the thoughtful win love and trust?” - Proverbs 14:22
Today's passage is from the The Message.
Thought for the Day
American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, and editor, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote, “Herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor,- all men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked - who is good? not that men are ignorant, - what is Truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men.”