Today our passages are Leviticus 20:22–22:16; Mark 9:1-29; Psalm 43:1-5; and Proverbs 10:18. 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 20:22-22:16 (Contemporary English Version)
22Obey my laws and teachings. Or else the land I am giving you will become sick of you and throw you out. 23The nations I am chasing out did these disgusting things, and I hated them for it, so don't follow their example. 24I am the LORD your God, and I have promised you their land that is rich with milk and honey. I have chosen you to be different from other people. 25That's why you must make a difference between animals and birds that I have said are clean and unclean ] --this will keep you from becoming disgusting to me. 26I am the LORD, the holy God. You have been chosen to be my people, and so you must be holy too. 27If you claim to receive messages from the dead, you will be put to death by stoning, just as you deserve.
Instructions for Priests1The LORD gave Moses these instructions for Aaron's sons, the priests:
Touching a dead body will make you unclean. So don't go near a dead relative, 2except your mother, father, son, daughter, brother, 3or an unmarried sister, who has no husband to take care of her. 4Don't make yourself unclean by attending the funeral of someone related to you by marriage. ] 5Don't shave any part of your head or trim your beard or cut yourself to show that you are mourning. 6I am the LORD your God, and I have chosen you alone to offer sacrifices of food to me on the altar. That's why you must keep yourselves holy. 7Don't marry a divorced woman or a woman who has served as a temple prostitute. You are holy,8because I am holy. And so, you must be treated with proper respect, since you offer food sacrifices to me, the God of holiness. 9If any of you priests has a daughter who disgraces you by serving as a temple prostitute, she must be burned to death.
10If you are the high priest, you must not mess up your hair or tear your clothes in order to mourn for the dead. 11Don't make yourself unclean by going near a dead body, not even that of your own father or mother. 12If you leave the sacred place to attend a funeral, both you and the sacred place become unclean, because you are the high priest.
13If you are the high priest, you must marry only a virgin 14from your own tribe. Don't marry a divorced woman or any other woman who has already had sex, including a temple prostitute. 15In this way, your descendants will be qualified to serve me. Remember--I am the LORD, and I have chosen you.
16The LORD told Moses 17-18to say to Aaron:
No descendant of yours can ever serve as my priest if he is blind or lame, if his face is disfigured, if one leg is shorter than the other, 19if either a foot or a hand is crippled, 20if he is a hunchback or a dwarf, if an eye or his skin is diseased, or if his testicles have been damaged. 21These men may not serve as my priests and burn sacrifices to me. 22They may eat the food offerings presented to me, 23but they may not enter the sacred place or serve me at the altar. Remember--I am the LORD, the one who makes a priest holy.
24Moses told all of this to Aaron, his sons, and the people of Israel.
The Offerings Are Holy1The LORD told Moses 2to say to Aaron and his sons:
I am the LORD God, and I demand that you honor my holy name by showing proper respect for the offerings brought to me by the people of Israel. 3If any of you are unclean when you accept an offering for me, I will no longer let you serve as a priest. 4None of you may take part in the sacred meals while you have a skin disease or an infected penis, or after you have been near a dead body or have had a flow of semen, 5or if you have touched an unclean creature of any sort, including an unclean person. 6-7Once you are unclean, you must take a bath, but you still cannot eat any of the sacred food until evening. 8I command you not to eat anything that is killed by a wild animal or dies a natural death. This would make you unclean. 9Obey me, or you will die on duty for disgracing the place of worship. Remember--I am the LORD, the one who makes a priest holy.
10Only you priests and your families may eat the food offerings; these are too sacred for any of your servants. 11However, any slave that you own, including those born into your household, may eat this food. 12If your daughter marries someone who isn't a priest, she can no longer have any of this food. 13But if she returns to your home, either widowed or divorced, and has no children, she may join in the meal. Only members of a priestly family can eat this food, 14and anyone else who accidentally does so, must pay for the food plus a fine of twenty percent.
15I warn you not to treat lightly the offerings that are brought by the people of Israel. 16Don't let them become guilty of eating this sacred food. Remember--I am the LORD, the one who makes these offerings holy.
Mark 9:1-29 (Contemporary English Version)
Mark 91I can assure you that some of the people standing here will not die before they see God's kingdom come with power.
The True Glory of Jesus
(Matthew 17.1-13; Luke 9.28-36)2Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him. They went up on a high mountain, where they could be alone. There in front of the disciples, Jesus was completely changed. 3And his clothes became much whiter than any bleach on earth could make them. 4Then Moses and Elijah were there talking with Jesus.
5Peter said to Jesus, "Teacher, it is good for us to be here! Let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 6But Peter and the others were terribly frightened, and he did not know what he was talking about.
7The shadow of a cloud passed over and covered them. From the cloud a voice said, "This is my Son, and I love him. Listen to what he says!" 8At once the disciples looked around, but they saw only Jesus.
9As Jesus and his disciples were coming down the mountain, he told them not to say a word about what they had seen, until the Son of Man had been raised from death. 10So they kept it to themselves. But they wondered what he meant by the words "raised from death."
11The disciples asked Jesus, "Don't the teachers of the Law of Moses say that Elijah must come before the Messiah does?"
Elijah certainly will come ] to get everything ready. But don't the Scriptures also say that the Son of Man must suffer terribly and be rejected? 13I can assure you that Elijah has already come. And people treated him just as they wanted to, as the Scriptures say they would.
Jesus Heals a Boy
(Matthew 17.14-20; Luke 9.37-43a)14When Jesus and his three disciples came back down, they saw a large crowd around the other disciples. The teachers of the Law of Moses were arguing with them.
15The crowd was really surprised to see Jesus, and everyone hurried over to greet him.
16Jesus asked, "What are you arguing about?"
17Someone from the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought my son to you. A demon keeps him from talking. 18Whenever the demon attacks my son, it throws him to the ground and makes him foam at the mouth and grit his teeth in pain. Then he becomes stiff. I asked your disciples to force out the demon, but they couldn't do it."
19Jesus said, "You people don't have any faith! How much longer must I be with you? Why do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
20They brought the boy, and as soon as the demon saw Jesus, it made the boy shake all over. He fell down and began rolling on the ground and foaming at the mouth.
21Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
The man answered, "Ever since he was a child. 22The demon has often tried to kill him by throwing him into a fire or into water. Please have pity and help us if you can!"
23Jesus replied, "Why do you say `if you can'? Anything is possible for someone who has faith!"
24Right away the boy's father shouted, "I do have faith! Please help me to have even more."
25When Jesus saw that a crowd was gathering fast, he spoke sternly to the evil spirit that had kept the boy from speaking or hearing. He said, "I order you to come out of the boy! Don't ever bother him again."
26The spirit screamed and made the boy shake all over. Then it went out of him. The boy looked dead, and almost everyone said he was. 27But Jesus took hold of his hand and helped him stand up.
28After Jesus and the disciples had gone back home and were alone, they asked him, "Why couldn't we force out that demon?"
29Jesus answered, "Only prayer can force out that kind of demon."
- Mark 9:12 Elijah certainly will come: See the note at 6.15.
Psalm 43:1-5 (Contemporary English Version)
A Prayer in Times of Trouble1Show that I am right, God!
Defend me against everyone
who doesn't know you;
rescue me from each
of those deceitful liars.
2I run to you
Why have you turned me away?
Why must enemies mistreat me
and make me sad?
3Send your light and your truth
to guide me.
Let them lead me to your house
on your sacred mountain.
4Then I will worship
at your altar
make me joyful.
You are my God,
and I will praise you.
Yes, I will praise you
as I play my harp.
5Why am I discouraged?
Why am I restless?
I trust you!
And I will praise you again
because you help me,
and you are my God.
Proverbs 10:18 (Contemporary English Version)
Thought for the Day
Roman Emperor from 161 to 180, Marcus Aurelius wrote, “He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.”