February 20

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“But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water” (Mark 4:37 NLT).

From: February 20, 2018

JESUS SOMETIMES LEADS US INTO A STORM
Jesus told the disciples that He wanted to take the boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. So, they pushed off and Jesus lay down to sleep in the back of the boat after a long day of ministry. Soon a fierce storm came up and threatened to sink the boat. Fearful, they awoke Jesus and He stilled the storm with a simple command. Then, asked them why they were afraid and why they lacked faith.
 
Four observations:
1) Jesus led them into the storm.
2) Jesus was with them, but was sleeping.
3) Jesus had the power to still the storm.
4) Jesus made a point to question why they chose fear over faith.
 
What can we learn from this story?

“Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord” Leviticus 10:1-2 NKJV).

From: February 20, 2017

After days of instruction and training, and seven days of consecration, two of the newly minted Aaronic priests decided to offer their own version of worship to the Lord before the people of God. This was the first worship service in the newly ordained Tabernacle. The Lord was so pleased that He allowed His glory to appear to all the people, and sent fire that consumed the offering that Aaron had placed on the altar. The people let out a great shout at this display and fell on their faces before the Lord. It was at this time of appropriate and authentic worship, that Nadab and Abihu drew attention to themselves, by ad-libbing their own fiery display. Not only was their activity ill-timed and distracting from God’s glory, it was against the training and instruction they had been given as priests. Their fire was “profane,” not taken from the altar as was prescribed, but lit from their own fire, and placed in their own censer. Their motive for this false worship was not revealed, but the Lord’s response is revealing. The same fire that went out from the Lord to consume the offering on the altar, now went out and “devoured” Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron.
 
The Lord would not allow His priests to vary from His worship order, especially at the inaugural service of the Tabernacle. If He allowed such self improvisation from the beginning, how far might the people stray after a time? Every detail of the worship service had been revealed to Moses, so that the people would be prepared for its future fulfillment in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Any variation, whether subtraction or addition, would garble the message that pointed to Jesus.
 
There seems to be a similarity between the deaths of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10 and that of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. In both cases, they are at the beginning of a new era. The sons of Aaron, offered “profane fire” at the first worship service of the Mosaic Covenant and the Lord struck them dead. And Ananias and Sapphira offered a false offering just as the Church age commenced following Pentecost, and they both fell dead for it. The Lord seemed to be setting a precedent, that those who would worship Him must worship in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24). False worship would not be accepted.

And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him” (Mark 5:6 ESV)

From: February 20, 2016

The demoniac who lived among the tombs of the Gerasenes must have been a startling welcome as he ran, screaming and crying, down the hill towards Jesus and his disciples as they came ashore. Having just experienced a life-threatening storm on the Galilee and witnessing Jesus command the wind and the waves to be still, I’m sure the disciples’ knees were still shaking as they climbed out of their boat. And then, to be greeted by the hair-raising screams of a wild man running straight at them must have been terrifying! Yet, Jesus responded just as He had to the storm. With the same sense of confident authority He commanded the “legion” of demons out of the man and into the pig herd on the hillside. And just as the wind and waves had obeyed, so did the unclean spirits. The tortured soul of the wild man was suddenly at peace.

“…By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified…” (Leviticus 10:3 NKJV)

From: February 20, 2015

When the Tabernacle was completed and its furnishings and priests were consecrated, Aaron and his sons made the first worship offerings. It began as a day of celebration with God’s glory appearing to all the people (Lev. 9:23), but it ended as a day of mourning. For two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, took it upon themselves to offer worship contrary to God’s instruction and God judged them for it. The fire of His glory went out from the Lord and devoured them and they died. This was a hard lesson for Aaron and the Levitical priests to learn. For those who are called to lead in worship are held to high account. When we answer the call of God and take His Name upon ourselves, we become His servants, His representatives, and we are to live lives of worship in the way He commands. As Jesus said, “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). Our worship must not draw attention to us, but to the Holy One, so that He is the One glorified before the people.

“So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them” (Mark 5:20 NLT)

From: February 20, 2014

Jesus and the Twelve crossed to the Eastern side of the Sea of Galilee to a Gentile region known as the the Gerasenes near the Decapolis (Ten Cities). They went through a terrible storm on the way across that so terrified the disciples that Jesus had to calm it. Then, as soon as they landed they were met by a demon-possessed man that lived in the tombs. After Jesus cast the demons out into a nearby herd of pigs, the locals were so afraid of Jesus that they begged Him to leave. The healed demoniac however, begged to go with Jesus. Instead, Jesus appointed him to go to the Decapolis and tell what God had done. When we read this story, it appears that Jesus crossed over to a Gentile land, in spite of a terrible storm, to heal and ordain one demoniac to be a disciple. Jesus is still calling us to cross over to the other side to call those that He wants to save.

“And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?'” (Mark 4:39 ESV)

From: February 20, 2013

The disciples were afraid of the storm outside the boat until they awoke Jesus. Then, they were afraid of the One inside the boat. We say that we believe and trust Jesus fully. Yet when life’s storms come, we discover the true measure of our faith. The disciples thought they knew the size of Jesus’ power, but it took a terrifying tempest to enlarge their understanding.