Leviticus 9:7-10:20, Mark 4:26-5:20, Psalms 37:30-40, Proverbs 10:6-7
Today is the 20th day of February welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian it is great to be here with you today. I am probably physically back in the rolling hills of Tennessee, probably quite worn out but coming to you from Jerusalem now to avoid the international travel and make 100% sure that I’m here around the global campfire today. What a pilgrimage we had in the land of the Bible. It will always…it always has…it will always stick with me for weeks and weeks and weeks and it has always been enriching in my life and I trust that has been the case with everybody including everyone who got to travel along day by day step-by-step virtually through the different places that we were able to visit. So, it’s been fantastic and it’s time to be home and I’m ready for that as well. But what I am most ready for right now is to take the next step forward and dive into the Scriptures. Today we are working our way in and through the book of Leviticus. Today chapter 9 verse 7 through 10 verse 20.
Okay. So, there is a story in the Gospel of Mark that we read today that is really poignant and it’s really poignant right now because we were…we were just there. Like just days ago, we here in the land were at this spot talking about this very story. And this story…similar stories show up in other Gospels, but this is a story where Jesus goes to the other side of the lake. So, He was going into the land of the Gerasenes. He’s going into a part of the territory that is…that is Gentile. So, that’s why there would be pigs present. And there’s a Decapolis city there named Hippos Sussita, one of the great cities of the time. One of the 10 great cities that were mentioned in today’s reading. It’s all on that side of the lake. It’s the eastern side. This is taking place on the northeastern side of the lake. And this story always arrests my attention every time we read this story. I’ve always stopped just because of how the dialogue goes. I think of Jesus kind of coming through a storm and finally docking on the shore of the other side of the Sea of Galilee. And He climbs out of a boat and according to the gospel of Mark, “a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet Him. This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained with the chain whenever he was put into chains and shackles as he often was, he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him day and night he wandered among the burial caves in the hills howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.” Like, let’s just think about this for a second. Can you imagine climbing out of a boat, not a cruise ship or anything like that, just a boat, climbing out, getting on the shore, looking maybe to your left and this guy is a running at you? I mean it’s a pretty riveting scene. Imagine how you react to that if you see this guy running at you? You might get back into the boat. You might run in the other direction. But that’s not Jesus…that’s not what He did. And when the man gets to Jesus he throws himself down on the ground and starts shrieking. And it's…it’s his shriek that actually convicts me because he’s bowed down before Jesus and he screams according to the gospel of Mark. “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, son of the most-high God?” That catches me because I felt like that before…not like this demon possessed man who’s running and cutting himself and all…and howling and all this. But like so often we think that the faith journey is really there for our personal desires and comforts when actually a lot of the times those desires and comforts, although they may make our life more easy or whatever our traps for us. And, so, we kind of associate God’s blessing with good things happening to us that are pleasurable, and that God as our Father would press in and dismantle things that will become a trap for us and that will put us in bondage. And, so, when that disruption comes, we can find ourselves in the same position. Why are you interfering with me? In the case of this man certainly the evil spirits didn’t want to be interfered with but Jesus was there to set this person free and so He was going to interfere. He will interfere to set His people free. As we know that the story goes, the demons are cast into a herd of pigs who rush into the water and drown and the man returns to his right mind in the presence of Jesus. And it’s, you know, something like this happening would have spread pretty quickly, especially with the pigs. Like they probably had herders and they saw this all happen and they ran to tell the nearby villagers and then word would have spread to Hippos, people would’ve come down off the mountain to come see what is happening. And that is what happens. Actually, I read from the gospel of Mark. “People rushed out to see what had happened and a crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who’d been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there, fully clothed and perfectly sane and they were all afraid.” And because of that, even though they have seen with their own eyes this person that they could not…they could not contain, this person who is clearly in trouble is actually being made whole before their eyes. He’s having like a rational conversation. He’s got his clothes back on. And they fear. And then they plead with Jesus to go away and leave them alone. That part of the story is convicting to me too. I have done these things in my life. And although I have never prayed a prayer Jesus, would you just go away for me and leave me alone. It’s by our actions. It’s by our motivations. It’s by our interior life. When we find that we are in a season where we have to endure we feel like maybe the Lord is pressing in and into some things with in us, and it’s painful and uncomfortable. Even if we know rationally that this is about our freedom it’s too long of a journey and it’s too painful and we don’t like it and we don’t want it, and it’s too disruptive and it’s making us feel anxious and it’s making us feel any number of ways that are not comfortable. We can very easily dismiss it, dismiss it. Go away from me. Why are you interfering with me? Or it can lead us into a place of fear which…which really is a choice. If the Lord is leading us He is inviting us to take steps of faith and we can step forward afraid and mistrusting that He has good in mind for us, that freedom is really what He wants. We can become afraid of what we see God doing around us or in us and just cave. And in the same way, maybe not with words but with deeds, plead Jesus did leave us alone without even realizing what we’re doing. This place is called Cursey. And…I mean…we’ve talked about this in the last few days, just kind of talking about the different places that we’ve been. But being there and spending a few minutes just kind of immersing in the place and just imagining the story play out and considering the places in our lives where we may find ourselves in the same kind of position. It’s really enlightening and eye-opening when we think back over our lives. And, so, let’s give that some thought today.
Jesus we love You and we trust You and the truth is, no matter what we put our trust in, no matter how much power we think we have, no matter what we do we are still utterly dependent upon You. Ultimately, You are our source of life. We are completely dependent upon You. And so often when You are leading and directing, and we pray that You would lead us into all truth and we pray that You would comfort and revive us, that he would give us eyes to see and ears to hear, but when You do, and it doesn’t look like what we were expecting we find ourselves in these weird positions where it’s almost as if we’re asking You to go away. Why are You interfering with us. So, we ask Holy Spirit that You would show us what that looks like in our lives, that we might go to the next level of trust with You, that we might put our trust for our very lives in You and walk with You and obey You because You are leading us into the truth, You are leading us on the narrow path that leads to life. Help us to recognize the ways that we resist this we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com, that is home base, it’s the website, it’s where you find out what is going on around here.
I guess we basically do know what’s going on around here - traveling back to the rolling hills of Tennessee for me, traveling back for lots of people. Lots of people have probably arrived back. What I can guarantee is jet lag abounds. And, so, that’s what we’ll be moving through for these next few days just trying to reassemble ourselves all in one place. And indeed, thank you as a community for your prayers over all of that re-immersion into regular ordinary life, that the journey that we have been on will change what ordinary life looks like, even as we just get rested and adjusted. Thank you for your prayers profoundly.
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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: