Tag Archives: my junk

Leviticus 13:1-28

Scripture: from verse 13

If [the priest] sees that the tzara‘at (leprosy) has covered his entire body, he is to pronounce the person with the sores clean — it has all turned white, and he is clean.

Observation:  Leprosy (which appears to be an umbrella term for all malignant skin disease, not just what we know as leprosy today) was a curse from God, a sign of His wrath.  Logically, someone who has had leprosy in the past, while no longer contagious, is still someone to be rejected as having earned God’s wrath.  But this is the Father of Light we’re talking about, and human logic doesn’t measure up.

While the leprosy is expanding and contagious, the person is unclean and can’t be a part of the community.  But if the disease goes into remission, and the sores turn into scars, then he’s allowed back in.  He’s clean.  He may still look terrible, but God has declared him clean again.

Holiness isn’t about outward appearances.  My journey is not your journey.  We are all sinners and we all need to be healed.  So just because one set of sins is more visible or even more hurtful than another doesn’t mean God isn’t at work.  It just means He has his own plan.

We’ve all earned God’s wrath.  None of us are especially pretty inside.  But He’s made us clean, and He’s declared us family.

Application:  Don’t judge others by the sins that are showing.  We’ve all got some.  Don’t judge others by their past mistakes, either, because we’ve all got those too.  The fact that some have larger consequences on Earth doesn’t mean they look any different in Heaven.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for making me clean.  Help me to understand that the others around me are just as clean in you, despite their past mistakes or current habits.  Help me encourage and love others instead of snarking at them.  Amen.

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Leviticus 9:1-11

Scripture: verse 6

This is what Adonai has ordered you to do, so that the glory of Adonai will appear to you.

Observation:  The classic human religious tradeoff is that humans have to do x, y, and z, and their god will be happy with them and make them rich.  This verse is God’s version.

For one thing, we are commanded to be holy.  Not good enough, not doing enough good things to outweigh our bad things.  Holy.  We can’t be holy, so (thankfully) God has arranged for a Substitute to take all the not-holy.  But our lack of holiness requires blood and death.

We can’t make up for the not-holy.  It has to be taken away.

And once we are made holy, we aren’t necessarily promised health and wealth and happiness.  God does provide those things, but He is selective about what He gives us.  If a time of sickness or poverty will be better in the long run, that’s what He provides.  He’s a wise father, not an indulgent babysitter.

But.  We are promised the presence of His glory.  Once we are made holy, we get to see our God face to face.  We get to ask Him questions and get answers.  We get to tell Him things and have Him comfort us.  We get to see His glory.

Nobody else promises that.

Application:  According to the authors of Happy Money, people who buy experiences are happier for longer than people who buy things.  So we have a choice.  We can spend our time and energy pursuing things like wealth.  Or we can experience the glory of Almighty God.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for being my Substitute, for taking my not-holy on yourself.  Thank you for being my ticket into God’s presence.  Help me to rest in His glory instead of being anxious over my own concerns.  Amen.

Leviticus 5:1-13

Scripture: verse 1

If a person who is a witness, sworn to testify, sins by refusing to tell what he has seen or heard about the matter, he must bear the consequences.

Observation: The “consequences” appear to be having to confess and bring a sin offering, though there may be other penalties elsewhere if his lack of witness led to someone being wrongly condemned.

But the point is, God insists on openness. God isn’t willing to let things hide in darkness. Not in our communities, and not in our minds and hearts either. Things that hide will only fester. By bringing things into the open He allows healing and cleansing to begin.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not understand it (John 1). Bringing our junk out for inspection is scary. But it’s rarely as bad as we think it was, and once it’s in the light it’s God’s problem and we don’t have to stress and worry about it any more. Once the truth is out, we are free.

Application: Let the truth come out. The consequences of hiding are far worse than the result of openness.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your light. Thank you for revealing truth and washing away my junk and healing me. Help me to be honest and open, so that your truth can prevail. Amen.

Leviticus 1:10-17

Scripture: from verse 13

He is to wash the entrails and lower parts of the legs with water

Observation: Speaking of burnt offerings here: the offering (sheep in this section, bird in the next few verses) was to be slaughtered, the blood drained onto the sides of the alter, and then it was to be cleaned before being burned.  The yucky parts of the sheep got washed with water, and the bird’s crop was to be removed.

Now, obviously you would do this to animals you were going to eat, but it’s kinda weird to do this to a sacrifice when it’s just going to be burned to ash anyway.  It’s not like God will be sickened by a little dirt.

So possibly it’s for the benefit of the person bringing the offering, to continue to be involved in each step of the process.  He doesn’t leave it all to the priest, but continues to prepare the sacrifice himself.  Just like Yeshua is our sacrifice, but we continue to work with Him to enter into God’s grace.

(Or, possibly, it was for more practical reasons – could there be anything that would make people sick if it got into the smoke?  I doubt it, but it’s possible.)

Application: Don’t assume your job is done once you’ve accepted His sacrifice.  There’s still a lot of cleaning to be done.

Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for cleaning me.  Thank you for sacrificing yourself for me even when I’m covered in mud and worse.  Help me to stay under your waterfall of forgiveness.  Amen.

Ephesians 5:26-30

Scripture: verses 29 and 30

Why, no one ever hated his own flesh!  On the contrary, he feeds it well and takes care of it, just as the Messiah does the Messianic Community, because we are parts of His body.

Observation: The context here is that of marriage: husbands take care of their wives because the husband and wife are one flesh, so caring for her is like caring for himself.  And indeed, ignoring or mistreating one’s spouse is generally an excellent example of shooting yourself in the foot.  But what caught my eye is the assertion that no one ever hated his own body.

As a teenager, I used to shave my legs dry, when I consented to shave them at all.  No shaving cream, no soap, not even water.  And yes, I got terrible razor burn.  My memories of shaving are mostly of embarrassment – embarrassment over having leg hair, embarrassment over not having shaved, embarrassment over having to ask to have the bathroom to myself, embarrassment over the time it took.  So I snuck upstairs when people were doing other things and shaved as quickly as I could, usually with somebody else’s razor because I hadn’t admitted I needed one.  (I probably owe my sisters an apology for that one, come to think of it!)

And I’m not sure what exactly was going on in my head, but clearly something was.  Somehow I’d gotten the idea that taking care of myself was wasteful.  So I didn’t.  Not in scary dangerous ways – I never struggled with eating disorders or anything of that sort – but in little ways.

But Messiah takes care of His body.  He takes care of me.  And He wants me to take care of myself.  He made me, and I am not a waste.

Application:  You aren’t a waste either.  Your body, your emotions, your ideas – God made them and God loves them.  It’s okay to use your resources to care for yourself.

Prayer:  Messiah, thank you for caring for me.  Thank you for making me the way I am and for loving me enough to die for me.  Help me to move with confidence in your love.  Amen.

Ephesians 5:11-15

Scripture: verse 11

Have nothing to do with the deeds produced by darkness, but instead expose them…

Observation:  So what, exactly, are the deeds produced by darkness?  In context, the passage before has been talking about things like immorality and greed, so those are certainly included.

But the contrast between light and darkness is an important one.  The passage has said that we are light (in the Lord, at least), that the fruits of light are righteousness and truth, and that things exposed to the light are revealed clearly.  Darkness, being the opposite, is not of the Lord, produces evil and lies, and tries to hide things and deceive people about what’s going on.

Darkness hides – and we are to expose the things that would stay hidden.  Darkness is sterile – and we are to avoid deeds that lead to meaninglessness.  Darkness deceives – and we are to insist on the truth.

Application:  As Lizzie Bennet says, keeping secrets isn’t really that helpful.  Insist on the truth.  Don’t get involved in things that try to hide, or try to make you hide.

Prayer:  Father of Light, help me see the truth.  Help me to choose to stand in your light, without hiding or disguising my flaws, because I know that you have taken care of them.  Help me to see clearly and to love others enough to see them clearly.  Amen.

Ephesians 4:30-32

Scripture: verse 30

Don’t cause grief to God’s Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), for He has stamped you as His property until the day of final redemption.

Observation:  We tend to thing of our relationship with God as something we have to do well at: if we please God, He will keep us.  We have to spend all of our time watching ourselves and looking over our shoulders, afraid of screwing up.

But that’s not the case.  God has claimed us as His.  With the exception of refusing His offer, nothing we can do cancels His claim.  He’s already made that decision.

And in making that decision, He gave us the power to make Him sad.  My mom has repeatedly pointed out how incredible that is – that the Maker of the Universe would make Himself vulnerable to us.  But He did.  Because He loves us.

Our job isn’t to work to please Him.  It’s to smile up at Him, so that our DaddyGod smiles back.

Application: Smile, I guess.  Praise God for who He is, and thank Him for what He does.  And love others, because He loves them too.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, help me to see your love as a real thing in my life, so that I remember to smile up at you instead of worrying all the time.  Amen.

Ephesians 1:1-5

Scripture: verse 4

He chose us in love before the creation of the universe to be holy and without defect in His presence.

Observation:  The creation of the universe was an awfully long time ago.  Of course, God is outside time, so I suppose that doesn’t seem like a big deal to Him.  But it’s a big deal to us.  To know that we were always chosen.  That He knew He wanted us to be with Him as soon as He thought of us.  To know that there has never been doubt or change in His plans for us.  To know that He was planning to bless me, knowing every mistake I would make, before I made any of them.  I can’t scare Him away.  He loves me.

I’ve been reading a lot of Pride and Prejudice fanfiction lately (don’t judge!), as well as writing some of my own.  And this is the crux of the plot in every iteration of that story, as it is in so many others – that the woman believes that her mistakes, her pride, her words, her family, her junk, whatever form that takes, have offended the man so deeply that his love has died and he no longer cares about her.  (Sometimes it’s the other way around, of course, but with P&P at least it’s usually the woman.)  And the miracle is that that’s not true, that true love can take whatever beating life deals out.

God chooses to love us like that.  He looks at our junk – and there’s a lot of junk – and he decides that he loves us too much to let the junk matter.  So, just as Mr. Darcy chooses to cover Elizabeth’s lack of fortune with his own, God covers our junk with his perfection.  No questions asked.

Application: This is about confidence.  About boldly approaching the throne of grace (Hebrews 4).  About not hiding our flaws from God, because He’s already covered them.  About not worrying about bothering Him with our issues, because He’s already chosen to be involved.

Prayer:  Father, teach me to trust you with my heart.  Teach me to know you’ve already chosen me.  Help me to be confident in Your love and not fear exposure.  Amen.