Today our passages are Leviticus 22:17–23:44; Mark 9:30–10:12; Psalm 44:1-8; and Proverbs 10:19. The readings are the Contemporary English Version. 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 by using the link below.
Leviticus 22:17-23:44 (Contemporary English Version)
Acceptable Sacrifices17The LORD told Moses 18to tell Aaron and his sons and everyone else the rules for offering sacrifices. He said: The animals that are to be completely burned on the altar 19-20must have nothing wrong with them, or else I won't accept them. Bulls or rams or goats [a] are the animals to be used for these sacrifices. 21When you offer a sacrifice to ask my blessing, [b] there must be nothing wrong with the animal. This is true, whether the sacrifice is part of a promise or something you do voluntarily. 22Don't offer an animal that is blind or injured or that has an infection or a skin disease. 23If one of your cattle or lambs has a leg that is longer or shorter than the others, you may offer it voluntarily, but not as part of a promise. 24As long as you live in this land, don't offer an animal with injured testicles. 25And don't bring me animals you bought from a foreigner. I won't accept them, because they are no better than one that has something wrong with it. 26The LORD told Moses to say:
27Newborn cattle, sheep, or goats must remain with their mothers for seven days, but on the eighth day, you may send them up in smoke to me, and I will accept the offering. 28Don't sacrifice a newborn animal and its mother on the same day.
29When you offer a sacrifice to give thanks [c] to me, you must do it in a way that is acceptable. 30Eat all of the meat that same day and don't save any for the next day. I am the LORD your God! 31Obey my laws and teachings--I am the LORD. 32-33I demand respect from the people of Israel, so don't disgrace my holy name. Remember--I am the one who chose you to be priests and rescued all of you from Egypt, so that I would be your LORD.
Religious Festivals1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the community of Israel: I have chosen certain times for you to come together and worship me.
3You have six days when you can do your work, but the seventh day of each week is holy because it belongs to me. No matter where you live, you must rest on the Sabbath and come together for worship. This law will never change.
The LORD said:
Passover and the Festival of Thin Bread
(Numbers 28.16-25)4-5Passover is another time when you must come together to worship me, and it must be celebrated on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month [d] of each year. 6The Festival of Thin Bread begins on the fifteenth day of that same month; it lasts seven days, and during this time you must honor me by eating bread made without yeast. 7On the first day of this festival you must rest from your work and come together for worship. 8Each day of this festival you must offer sacrifices. Then on the final day you must once again rest from your work and come together for worship.
Offering the First Part of the Harvest9The LORD told Moses 10to say to the community of Israel: After you enter the land I am giving you, the first bundle of wheat from each crop must be given to me. So bring it to a priest 11on the day after the Sabbath. He will lift it up [e] in dedication to me, and I will accept you. 12You must also offer a sacrifice to please me. [f] So bring the priest a one-year-old lamb that has nothing wrong with it 13and four pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil. Then he will place these on the bronze altar and send them up in smoke with a smell that pleases me. Together with these, you must bring a quart of wine as a drink offering. 14I am your God, and I forbid you to eat any new grain or anything made from it until you have brought these offerings. This law will never change. The LORD said:
The Harvest Festival
(Numbers 28.26-31)15Seven weeks after you offer this bundle of grain, each family must bring another offering of new grain. 16Do this exactly fifty days later, which is the day following the seventh Sabbath. 17Bring two loaves of bread to be lifted up [g] in dedication to me. Each loaf is to be made with yeast and with four pounds of the finest flour from the first part of your harvest. 18At this same time, the entire community of Israel must bring seven lambs that are a year old, a young bull, and two rams. These animals must have nothing wrong with them, and they must be offered as a sacrifice to please me. [h] You must also offer the proper grain and wine sacrifices with each animal. [i] 19Offer a goat [j] as a sacrifice for sin, and two rams a year old as a sacrifice to ask my blessing. [k] 20The priest will lift up [l] the rams together with the bread in dedication to me. These offerings are holy and are my gift to the priest. 21This is a day of celebration and worship, a time of rest from your work. You and your descendants must obey this law. 22When you harvest your grain, always leave some of it standing around the edges of your fields and don't pick up what falls on the ground. Leave it for the poor and for those foreigners who live among you. I am the LORD your God!
The Festival of Trumpets
(Numbers 29.1-6)23The LORD told Moses 24-25to say to the people of Israel: The first day of the seventh month [m] must be a day of complete rest. Then at the sound of the trumpets, you will come together to worship and to offer sacrifices on the altar.
The Great Day of Forgiveness
(Numbers 29.7-11)26The LORD God said to Moses: 27The tenth day of the seventh month [n] is the Great Day of Forgiveness. [o] It is a solemn day of worship; everyone must go without eating to show sorrow for their sins, and sacrifices must be burned. 28No one is to work on that day--it is the Great Day of Forgiveness, when sacrifices will be offered to me, so that I will forgive your sins. 29I will destroy anyone who refuses to go without eating. 30-31None of my people are ever to do any work on that day--not now or in the future. And I will wipe out those who do! 32This is a time of complete rest just like the Sabbath, and everyone must go without eating from the evening of the ninth to the evening of the tenth.
The Festival of Shelters
(Numbers 29.12-40)33The LORD told Moses 34to say to the community of Israel: Beginning on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, [p] and continuing for seven days, everyone must celebrate the Festival of Shelters in honor of me. 35No one is to do any work on the first day of the festival--it is a time when everyone must come together for worship. 36For seven days, sacrifices must be offered on the altar. The eighth day is also to be a day of complete rest, as well as a time of offering sacrifices on the altar and of coming together for worship. 37I have chosen these festivals as times when my people must come together for worship and when animals, grain, and wine are to be offered on the proper days. 38These festivals must be celebrated in addition to the Sabbaths and the times when you offer special gifts or sacrifices to keep a promise or as a voluntary offering.
39Remember to begin the Festival of Shelters on the fifteenth day of the seventh month after you have harvested your crops. Celebrate this festival for seven days in honor of me and don't do any work on the first day or on the day following the festival. 40Pick the best fruit from your trees [q] and cut leafy branches to use during the time of this joyous celebration in my honor. 41I command you and all of your descendants to celebrate this festival during the seventh month of each year. 42For seven days every Israelite must live in a shelter, 43so future generations will know that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God. 44This is how Moses instructed the people of Israel to celebrate the LORD's festivals.
- Leviticus 22:19 goats: See the note at 1.1-3.
- Leviticus 22:21 sacrifice to ask my blessing: See the note at 3.1.
- Leviticus 22:29 sacrifice to give thanks: See 7.12.
- Leviticus 23:4 first month: Abib (also called Nisan), the first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April.
- Leviticus 23:11 lift it up: See the note at 7.29,30.
- Leviticus 23:12 sacrifice to please me: See the note at 1.1-3.
- Leviticus 23:17 lifted up: See the note at 7.29,30.
- Leviticus 23:18 sacrifice to please me: See the note at 1.1-3.
- Leviticus 23:18 proper grain. . . animal: See Numbers 15.1-16.
- Leviticus 23:19 goat: See the note at 1.1-3.
- Leviticus 23:19 sacrifice to ask my blessing: See the note at 3.1.
- Leviticus 23:20 lift up: See the note at 7.29,30.
- Leviticus 23:24 seventh month: See the note at 16.29.
- Leviticus 23:27 seventh month: See the note at 16.29.
- Leviticus 23:27 Great Day of Forgiveness: See the note at 16.34.
- Leviticus 23:34 seventh month: See the note at 16.29.
- Leviticus 23:40 best fruit from your trees: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Mark 9:30-10:12 (Contemporary English Version)
Jesus Again Speaks about His Death
(Matthew 17.22,23; Luke 9.43b-45)30Jesus left with his disciples and started through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know about it, 31because he was teaching the disciples that the Son of Man would be handed over to people who would kill him. But three days later he would rise to life. 32The disciples did not understand what Jesus meant, and they were afraid to ask.
Who Is the Greatest?
(Matthew 18.1-5; Luke 9.46-48)33Jesus and his disciples went to his home in Capernaum. After they were inside the house, Jesus asked them, "What were you arguing about along the way?" 34They had been arguing about which one of them was the greatest, and so they did not answer. 35After Jesus sat down and told the twelve disciples to gather around him, he said, "If you want the place of honor, you must become a slave and serve others!"
36Then Jesus had a child stand near him. He put his arm around the child and said, 37"When you welcome even a child because of me, you welcome me. And when you welcome me, you welcome the one who sent me."
For or against Jesus
(Luke 9.49,50)38John said, "Teacher, we saw a man using your name to force demons out of people. But he wasn't one of us, and we told him to stop." 39Jesus said to his disciples:
Don't stop him! No one who works miracles in my name will soon turn and say something bad about me. 40Anyone who isn't against us is for us. 41And anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name, just because you belong to me, will surely be rewarded.
Temptations To Sin
(Matthew 18.6-9; Luke 17.1,2)42It will be terrible for people who cause even one of my little followers to sin. Those people would be better off thrown into the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their necks. 43-44So if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off! You would be better off to go into life crippled than to have two hands and be thrown into the fires of hell that never go out. [a] 45-46If your foot causes you to sin, chop it off. You would be better off to go into life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. [b] 47If your eye causes you to sin, get rid of it. You would be better off to go into God's kingdom with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. 48The worms there never die, and the fire never stops burning. 49Everyone must be salted with fire. [c]
50Salt is good. But if it no longer tastes like salt, how can it be made salty again? Have salt among you and live at peace with each other. [d]
Teaching about Divorce
(Matthew 19.1-12; Luke 16.18)1After Jesus left, he went to Judea and then on to the other side of the Jordan River. Once again large crowds came to him, and as usual, he taught them. 2Some Pharisees wanted to test Jesus. So they came up to him and asked if it was right for a man to divorce his wife. 3Jesus asked them, "What does the Law of Moses say about that?"
4They answered, "Moses allows a man to write out divorce papers and send his wife away."
5Jesus replied, "Moses gave you this law because you are so heartless. 6But in the beginning God made a man and a woman. 7That's why a man leaves his father and mother and gets married. 8He becomes like one person with his wife. Then they are no longer two people, but one. 9And no one should separate a couple that God has joined together."
10When Jesus and his disciples were back in the house, they asked him about what he had said. 11He told them, "A man who divorces his wife and marries someone else is unfaithful to his wife. 12A woman who divorces her husband [e] and marries again is also unfaithful."
- Mark 9:43 never go out: Some manuscripts add, "The worms there never die, and the fire never stops burning."
- Mark 9:45 thrown into hell: Some manuscripts add, "The worms there never die, and the fire never stops burning."
- Mark 9:49 salted with fire: Some manuscripts add "and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt." The verse may mean that Christ's followers must suffer because of their faith.
- Mark 9:50 Have salt among you and live at peace with each other: This may mean that when Christ's followers have to suffer because of their faith, they must still try to live at peace with each other.
- Mark 10:12 A woman who divorces her husband: Roman law let a woman divorce her husband, but Jewish law did not let a woman do this.
Psalm 44:1-8 (Contemporary English Version)
(A special psalm for the people of Korah and for the music leader.)
A Prayer for Help1Our God, our ancestors told us what wonders you worked
and we listened carefully.
2You chased off the nations
by causing them trouble
with your powerful arm.
Then you let our ancestors
take over their land.
3Their strength and weapons
what won the land
and gave them victory!
You loved them and fought
with your powerful arm
and your shining glory.
4You are my God and King,
and you give victory [a] to the people of Jacob.
5By your great power,
we knocked our enemies down
and stomped on them.
6I don't depend on my arrows
or my sword to save me.
7But you saved us
from our hateful enemies,
and you put them to shame.
8We boast about you, our God,
and we are always grateful.
- Psalm 44:4 and. . . victory: One ancient translation; Hebrew " please give victory."
Proverbs 10:19 (Contemporary English Version)
Thought for the Day
One of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, Michel de Montaigne wrote, “Great abuses in the world are begotten, or, to speak more boldly, all the abuses of the world are begotten, by our being taught to be afraid of professing our ignorance, and that we are bound to accept all things we are not able to refute: we speak of all things by precepts and decisions. The style at Rome was that even that which a witness deposed to having seen with his own eyes, and what a judge determined with his most certain knowledge, was couched in this form of speaking: ‘it seems to me.’ They make me hate things that are likely, when they would impose them upon me as infallible.”