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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB February 23

  • Julie Ferwerda
    Are you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
  • 2009 Feb 22
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Leviticus

14:5-6 Then the priest shall order that one of the birds be killed over [running] water in a clay pot. He is then to take the live bird and dip it, together with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, into the blood of the bird that was killed over the [running] water. I noticed something really cool in this passage today. Let's plug in some values for a picture. First, I inserted "running" water because that was the literal translation. Running water is usually associated with "living water" (as opposed to stagnant water). Clay pot, a breakable, temporary vessel.

So we see the bird (maybe associated with Jesus as a "heavenly being," sacrificed over "living water in a temporary vessel." The cedar wood could stand for the cross (I researched and many think the cross was cedar), the scarlet (yarn is used here, linen in other places, and in literal translation, there is no other word besides "scarlet.") could either stand for our sin (like the scarlet yarn tied to the scapegoat), or the blood of Jesus' sacrifice to cover our sins. And the hyssop is always a symbol for cleansing, and was used in the Feasts of Tabernacles celebration (God dwells with us). It fits with one person's description I read of associating sin with leprosy as a external example of what sin does to our spiritual lives.

Also, even though hyssop was used mainly for leprosy, King David said, "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow (Ps. 51:7)." By his own words, he was admitting that he was as bad on the inside as a leper. So as we see, rich with meaning!

Mark

6:30-31 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, "Let's go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile." This is an important principle for ministry. After ministering to people in any major capacity, Jesus calls us away for a time of rest and refreshment, alone with Him. For me, I notice a big "let down" period after ministering, and it is wonderful to have the permission to rest awhile in Him-a few hours, a day, whatever the occasion requires.

6:34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. This was the primary reason for Jesus' ministry on earth. The Old Testament is full of prophecy of Israel being given a Shepherd who will come and take care of them. Check out Ezekiel 34:12 "As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness."

Psalm

40:6-8 You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand—you don't require burnt offerings or sin offerings. Then I said, "Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart." David understood grace, and it appears the second half of this is a Messianic prophecy.

Questions for reflection:

  • Does it surprise you that David understood grace, and that animal sacrifices weren't what saved him?

  • How do you think he knew this?

  • Did you notice that David hinted at the New Covenant in his Messianic prophecy? Later in the year, we will find out what special place David plays in the future kingdom...