I can’t see the forest because of the trees
As I come to God each day and ask Him for something to write about and as I read His word expecting some new and exciting thing to jump off the page I am reminded how easily I miss what He is showing me because I have already decided where we are going before I asked. For the last few days I have been reading in Leviticus about the law and this morning I read Jesus speaking in Mark 4:
20And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘“Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” 24And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.25But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27And there were many lepersa in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30But passing through their midst, he went away
While reading through Leviticus I began to think through the sacrificial system this picture of gore and stench and miserable heat form the constant fire all coming from the place where sin is left. Honestly I have always considered this system as barbaric and harsh but today I see the beauty of true worship that brings the individual to God with vulnerability and humbleness, understanding who God is and experiencing the ugliness of sin and realizing the need for forgiveness. This is the process; each sin was given a specific animal so your guilt was not a secret; there was a substitute of birds for those who could not afford the animal required, so you walked through camp carrying your sin, showing your financial status knowing it all had to be repeated over and over. By the time Jesus came the law had faded in and out of practice for God’s people. It went through times of ritual and tradition and back to worship depending on the value placed on God by the people. I say all of this because the church is really no different the importance of worship comes and goes. When I read this passage in Mark the first thing I thought was how did they miss it? These men were faithful to following their traditions and religion but when Jesus showed them in scripture that Israel had been passed over several times because of the condition of their hearts they weren’t able to see it. They even missed the miracle of Him walking right past them because it was not His time to die. I do this myself, I try to make God fit into the picture I want and not let Him put me in His picture. When I read the law it is clear that only sacrifice is going to bring forgiveness and Israel missed the only true sacrifice because they practiced religion not worship. Today God is reminding me that He is in control of all things and He has created the picture from beginning to end. If I continue to try and make Him fit into what I want and what I am looking for I’m going to miss it. His word warns against following traditions and having an appearance of Godliness but denying the power, I am humbled by the wickedness of my own heart and the mercy of my faithful God.