Leviticus 24:1-25:46, Mark 10:13-31, Psalms 44:9-26, Proverbs 10:20-21
Today is the 1st day of March. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and it is great to be here with you today coming to you again from the holy city of Jerusalem. And yesterday we spent our first full day in and around Jerusalem. We left early and we go back, I guess, about as tired as possible, at least for me. I think is about how I felt about as tired as possible, but it’s a new day today and we’ll be heading to the low lands, the Sefula, and we’ll talk about all of these things in a bit because what we’ve come here primarily to do is to center ourselves in the rhythm of the Scriptures. So, even though we’re in the brand-new month we’re still in the week that we started a few days ago, back when was February. And we’ve been reading from the Modern English Version this week, which is what we will continue to do. And in the Old Testament we are we are reading of the formation of the children of Israel, the ordinances and laws, feasts and customs, rituals and sacrifices, and resources that needed to be created around all of this to shape the people and the culture around one thing, that God is holy. And if we’re going to walk with God if we’re going to be in God’s presence then, we too, need to be made holy. So, we’ll pick up with that story. Picking up, of course, where we left off yesterday. Leviticus chapter 24 verse one to 25 verse 46. And we’re reading from the Modern English Version this week.
Father once again, we thank You for Your word. And we thank You for the strength and the power and the counsel and the wisdom and the rebuke and the correction and the love that You have poured into this document that just touches us on so many levels. And we invite Your Holy Spirit to plant what we’ve read today in our lives and continue the transformative process in us that we know as sanctification. Come Holy Spirit. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Okay. So, an exhausting day yesterday. I think that's…I don’t think that’s an overstatement because it’s the first day in Jerusalem, and all the sudden, all that you think Jerusalem will be, it is, and more, and different, and it, you know, you think of it as just this holy city, but it’s actually a large metropolitan city with a lot of people and a lot of traffic. And then when you move in and around the holy sites, you have people from all over the world, every conceivable language and culture you can imagine, brothers and sisters, actually from all over the world, from every language and culture that you can imagine, all trying to do the same thing. And when you tired and you’re trying to see stuff and it’s like, man, you really realize just how much grace is required to be around one another. And, so, it’s challenging. It’s just different. And we had to lose an hour of sleep and get up extra early this morning so that we could go up onto the Temple Mount. That’s just the only real good way to go about it, is to try to get there first, be one of the first people to get up on top and then walk around and enjoy. It’s really quite beautiful up there and serene even though it a very, very different culture, very, very different world. And but we did. And, so, we got in line and went through the whole process and it seemed like lines were what we were involved in quite a few times today, a lot of standing in line to do things. And that started at the very, very top of the day, getting in line and then waiting, moving through security. I mean, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, all of these places are right in…well…they’re in the same place. So, and it's…you know…some of the most contentious real estate in the world. So, we went through the process, got up on top, and a know you can see the dome of the rock, and the architecture is beautiful. It’s really amazing, no doubt about it, but very, very different. And we spent some time up there, looking around, talking about it, taking pictures, enjoying the morning. What a beautiful day it was. The weather was really perfect. We were just kind of dragging a little bit. It’s has been long, long days. That’s kind of how it works, just to pack in as much as possible. And, so, once we finished up top, we came back down and got on the buses and headed to Bethlehem, which is, of course, a different city, but it’s very much connected in the sprawl of Jerusalem. It’s about 5, 6 miles away from Jerusalem, but it is kind of also in another world. You cross through the security checkpoints and a wall, a security wall that has been built and move into Arab culture and begin to interact there. And, so, we went and visited often Kandu, who owns a shop there, where some items, some things that people would be looking for can be bought. And Kandu’s ancestry, his grandfather was a part of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. And, so, hearing that story and seeing one of the jars that the Temple scroll, in fact, was found in pretty cool. And, so, we just spent a little time buying some stuff, hearing some stories, enjoying some things before moving to the church of the Nativity. And the church of the Nativity is the traditional site of the birthplace of Jesus. And it’s been thought to…at least venerated as the birthplace of Jesus for 1700 - 1800 years. So, a very, very long time people have been going to this place to just touch that that moment in history, where Emmanuelle was born, where God with us became a reality in the person of Jesus. And they’ve been doing some construction on that church, man, for several years. I was trying to think how many years, but it’s been a lot. And they’re progressing. Got the outside done. But they’re still working on the inside. So, we went inside and got in line because you have to do that. So we’re in line working our way to where we can kind of move down below and the grotto, into the cave where it was thought that Jesus was born. And, so, for the second time we’re standing in line and realizing that different people treat lines differently in different cultures. You know, we westerners, we think, you know, you have your place in line and somebody acknowledges everybody’s place in line and gives everybody some personal space and nobody cuts in front of each other, that would be disrespectful. And, but that’s not how it is in all cultures in the world. If you’re going to stand there and be polite, in other cultures would be like, well, you haven’t really made a decision to be in this line so I’m getting in this line. I know what I want to do. And that happens not only at a personal level but at a group level. And, so, you’re standing in line is one group, while another group had a comes in and just assimilates itself. So, the first thing you want to do is be like, hey buddy, you know, the line is back there. And then you realize, man, we’ve got language barriers, we’ve got traditional barriers, we’ve got cultural barriers, and yet we are all brothers and sisters after the same thing, which is not always the easiest thing to do when you’re tired out, but we managed. We all managed and we all got down those steps and into this traditional spot where Jesus is born and, you know, got to kneel down and touch that spot and have that touch point. And as I’ve experienced and as I’ve explained to every group that I’ve brought here since the first time I came here, when you go into these holiest of holy sites in the Christian faith, you’re encountering a mystery. And you’re encountering thousands of years of art and tradition trying to explain this mystery. And, so, it may be very, very different than what you’re used to in the worship experience. So, there’s plenty to deal with. There’s the crush of Jerusalem as I call it. I mean, there’s a tension that simply does exist because so many people believe so many things and want so many things to happen religiously. Other people are just trying to live their lives in a major metropolitan area that’s very congested, very tight, enclosed. And others are trying to find something that is relatable that their own worship expression, but finding it being very, very different. So, like, for example, the Church of the Nativity isn’t like, you know, like the Christmas cards that we send each other. It’s like, you know, Jesus wasn’t born in a Christmas card. He happened to be born in a cave where animals were kept. And it's…we kind of romanticize that, but you get you faced with the starkness of it when you’re visiting spots. And it’s not quite the postcard you thought it was. And then you have all the layers of history of conquest and desecration of holy sites and reconquering and retaking. And, so, most of these…most holy places…that you have…a church has been built over the top of them and the church was, at one time, a fortress of some sort to protect them. And, so, it all just feels like you can’t get the context and everything else is built up around it. So, we’ll go to the church Nativity expecting, you know, camels, wise men, you know, some angels, some shepherds, and sweet little baby Jesus glowing in a manger while Mary and Joseph are standing there glowing as well. And it’s not like that. It’s a little easier to chase that trail and find those places that you feel connected spiritually to in the Galilee. But Jesus began his life near Jerusalem and he ended his life in Jerusalem. And, so, Jerusalem is a part of that story. So, we know that, so you go, it’s like, not like you can just skip going to Bethlehem and finding the birthplace of Jesus and seeing that with your own eyes. Even though it’s different than what you were expecting. So, we did. We saw the birthplace of Jesus and then we came out and talked about it. Sang a Christmas Carol and moved forward, up the side of the hill, and got a little bit of a view of the shepherds fields. Again, like, the shepherds fields, where the shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks by night and then, you know, behold, the angels appear and then tell them to go down into Bethlehem. And, you know, those guys had like spray paint cans and marked the spot with a X and said this is where this happened. It’s just like shepherds, minding their own business, living among the sheep all among around the hills of Bethlehem. And shepherds still keep their flocks on those hills. So, we went to a place where we could see some of those hills, maybe get a bit of a higher vantage point to see kind of how spread out they were. I mean, there are places that are, you know, that you can go from a tourist perspective and just look, but there’s no one spot that’s better than another spot. There is no X that marks the spot. So, we were able to do that real briefly, take some pictures, and then move on, back to the Mount of Olives and the city that El Azariyeh. And, so, Bethany in biblical times, which is where Jesus spent a lot of time, spent some time in his last days. But also spent some time there. He had friends, Mary and Martha and Lazarus. And Lazarus tomb is in Bethany. And, so, we kind of, we finally got ourselves all there. And then there’s the crush of that culture, which is a totally different thing. Arab culture, Israeli culture, Middle Eastern culture is just very, very different. And, so, we finally got to this spot and all got in there and spent a little time just kind of considering and contemplating where we were, how to point our hearts. And it’s a little bit more difficult to find serenity in Jerusalem just because there’s the crush of it all. There’s the tension that just kind of lives constantly here. And, like I said, it’s just the hustle and bustle of a big city. So, we talked about it a little bit and then got in line and then went down. And, so, your climbing down into this tomb and you realize, once again, what we’ve been realizing all along. We have visited a lot of archaeological sites and we’ve seen that, you know, a city may be founded at one period of time and then something may happen or maybe nothing happens, but just the continual growth, things are built upon other things. And then other things are built on top of them and other things are built on top of them until what was original is way, way, way down underneath the earth. That’s really no different than any of, you know, our large, sprawling old cities in our different countries that we live in. So, getting down to ground level for the first century, you have to kind of climb down some stairs, get down, down to that level to get into Lazarus tomb. And then when you get down there you find that it’s kind of cramped because nobody plans grave sites to be, you know, things that you’re going to go in and visit. And, so, that’s kind of how it is. So, not a lot of people at a time. So that, you know, a few can go down while a few are coming up and so on and so forth. And, so, with a couple of buses of people it takes a little bit of time. And, so we took the time and got all the way done with that and then came back to Jerusalem, where most of us were breathing a sigh of relief to get off the bus and just have some dinner and stretch out and get some rest. But others of us, you know, were raring to go. And off into the old city, a busload of people went into the old city to walk around and just enjoy that night life and some of the Jerusalem markets and night. And, so, a good time was had there. And, so, today we’ll be heading out. It’s sort of a pacing thing, it’s kind of a breathing, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, because a day after day after day in the crush of it all is just overwhelming. As if all of this weren’t already overwhelming, that’s juts especially overwhelming. So, we’ll head out today into what is known as the Shefala, which is another region of the land, it’s called the low lands. And we will be visiting a number of places in the low lands today, which I’ll be able to talk about and share tomorrow.
And guys, thank you for following along. Posting every bit that we can. I wasn’t able to post as much as I would’ve liked yesterday just because of the just the go, go, go of it all and some these places aren’t…you know…you can’t just take the magic picture of them. They’re more, you’ve got to kind of experience it. But definitely posted…I’ve been posting some 360s. So, you can hold your phone and turn around and get a little bit of a more broad view than a static picture. I was able to do that from the Temple Mount and that’s pretty cool. So, you can continue to follow us on our social media at facebook.com/dailyaudiobible or Daily Audio Bible on Instagram. And thank you for your continued prayers for sure for our health for our stamina for all that goes into being on a pilgrimage because it brings up a lot inside of our hearts, even as we’re kind of fighting fatigue. All of that. Thank you for your prayers. There’s no question that we feel them. There’s no question that we feel like we are here but we are all in this together and were enjoying this together and moving through this together. So, thank you for your continued prayers.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, you can do that it dailyaudiobible.com. There is a link on the homepage. And O thank you, humbly and really, really profoundly for your partnership. If we didn’t do this together we wouldn’t be doing this at all. So, thank you. If using the Daily Audio Bible app, you can press the Give button in the upper right-hand corner or, if you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Hi. This is Rebecca from Nebraska. And I just want to call and thank Sherry from British Columbia Canada. She, Sherry, you called in with this amazing story of giving up socks for Lent. And I don’t know what it was but when you were talking and explaining it just really struck me with a lot of joy. I just burst out laughing, laughing so hard, me just picturing you at Payless buying some foot deodorizer because you’d given up socks. I mean no disrespect. I think the idea is brilliant. It just made me laugh so hard. So, I just want to thank you for sharing that. You give me a lot of joy and new ways to think about what we can sacrifice to our Lord because He did the same for us. So, thank you sister for sharing. God bless you.
Hi this is Rebecca from California and I’m calling in response to John’s message. John called himself the prodigal and I wanted to just tell you John that God renamed you. You are His son. And just remember, the first thing the enemy wants to do is steal your identity. He was the tell you that you’re not beloved, that you’re not worthy. And that is totally not true. God has redeemed you. What Jesus did has purchased and paid for all the sin that you would ever commit and that you need to forgive yourself from past wrongs because God doesn’t even remember them anymore. So, be encouraged that you are able to renew your mind by the washing of the word and you need to meditate on who God says you are. Don’t let your own thoughts or the devil convince you otherwise. You are righteous. You are a royal priesthood and you are beloved by the Almighty King of the universe because of what Christ did. None of us are worthy. Don’t compare or weight your sins as heavier than anyone else’s. No one is worthy, but because of Christ we all are redeemed. So be encourage my friend and just know God is with you. Do your part. Take the word and meditate on it daily. And start putting into action the things that you want to change because God gives us the ability to, but we must do our part and take the action. We can’t wait for the feelings. We have to do the things and the feelings will follow. So, worship him, pray, praise him and I will pray for you that you will have the strength to overcome whatever you’re thinking. I had to overcome addictions, I still struggle with, you know, things daily…
Hi this is Kim from Phoenix and I am calling…I just heard John the prodigal son. And man, I hear your pain I hear what you’re going through and I just got a tell you that God is enough. I went to church today and one thing really stood out for you John. And our pastor said you can’t out sin God’s grace. And, so, I’m just claiming that word for you. And know that I am praying for you and whatever you are going through God is enough. And you…I just…I just hear your heart and being…wanting God to be enough…and just know that He is. And a Blind Tony, I have not called in before but I just have to tell you, I appreciate every time I hear you call in. I stop in my tracks and I listen because you are so amazing and so blessed by God and I so love listening to you. And I just…I love with that you said, that even if you had cancer it doesn’t matter the outcome, God is still on His throne no matter what your outcome. God bless you all. I love you Daily Audio Bible family. Talk to you soon.
Hello Daily Audio Bible family. This is Erica. I recently turned 15 a few days ago and I have a prayer request __ . __ I have been having a spiritual __. And sometimes when I pray it feels empty and I don’t know what to say. Please pray for me in that position. Also, please pray for my schooling. Right now, I’m doing okay in some areas but also in some areas it’s like __. Please help. Please pray that I will be able get through this new year and just have a close __ with God. Thank you so much for your prayers. And have a great day. Also, Brian thank you so much for reading the Bible and helping me in that area. In Jesus name. Amen.
There’s a powerful feeling within me today
Telling me that I should just trust and obey
It speaks to my mind removing all doubt
God won’t forsake me I’m his own and he will bring me out
Born of the spirit and washed in his blood
Surging within like a powerful flood
God’s word is alive and it lives inside me
It tells me through Jesus I’m already three
It tells me I’m chosen an exception among men
And what I see is an allusion and a prodigal sin
Designed to cause fear confusion and doubt
And to distract me from that which I should be about
Praying, fasting, and believing with hope
Prayer is my lifeline powerful rope
The Spirit in word combining as one
God will complete what he’s clearly begun
God has assured me I know it in my heart
That the trials of the same they won’t tear me part
I will be victorious through Christ all prevail
Though dark clouds surround me and strong winds assail
Greater is he who is in me today
Telling me that I just need to trust and obey
firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d like to give a shout out to Michelle and Marvin and Seth. And also drew from the Bay Area. Know you are all in my prayers every day. Love you. And Pelham, hang in there brother. This too shall pass. And once again, Brian, thank you for this wonderful podcast for God’s Holy Spirit the flow. Keep it flowing y’all. All right. Bye.