February 19 “The telephone pole in your eye”

“You’re worried about that speak of sawdust in your brother’s eye and you have a giant telephone pole sticking out of yours! You might wanna get rid of that pole and things might clear up a bit!”

telephone pole

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 9 & 10
Psalm 25.1-7
Proverbs 9.13-18
Mark 1.23-45

Leviticus 9 & 10:

First that telephone pole sticking out of your eye

The tabernacle is ready, the priests’ have been consecrated, “And Moses said to Aaron, ‘Go to the altar, offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. Offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as the LORD commanded’ ” (9.7). The next verse says, “Aaron therefore went to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.”

As I mentioned yesterday, Aaron had to first deal with his own sin before God.

1 Peter 2.9 says about us, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” We, too, as God’s holy priesthood, must deal with our own sin before we can see clearly to help anyone else—including our husbands and our children. Matthew 7.5 says, “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Jesus knew how to draw a word picture. My paraphrase, “You’re worried about that speak of sawdust in your brother’s eye and you have a giant telephone pole sticking out of yours! You might wanna get rid of that pole and things might clear up a bit!”

Profane fire

In chapter 10 we have a startling event in the midst of the newly begun temple worship. Nadab and Abihu do something so grievous to God that they are struck dead. Verse 1 says, “… 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.”

God, who is perfectly holy and just, saw this as a serious enough offense that He dealt with it quickly and in a way that was to be an example to all the people and to the priesthood itself.

It appears that in their pride over their new office as priests they thought they no longer needed to wait on the instructions of the Lord before proceeding. There is reason to believe they were also drunk because of the command that was given immediately afterwards (Lev. 10.8-11). Proverbs 31.5 says that drunkenness causes men to forget the law and pervert justice.

Jesus said in John 4.24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” That word spirit has to do with our human spirit, that is, our heart attitude. We must worship God from the heart in sincerity. But we must also worship Him “in truth,” that is rightly.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11.29-30 talking about the Lord’s Supper, “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” Many are weak and sick and many sleep. Sleep in that context refers to death. So many have died prematurely because they failed to come to God through a right understanding of the Gospel and properly see themselves in light of God’s Word.

Nadab and Abihu didn’t die because of an innocent mistake, there was something wrong with their heart attitudes before God and God in His wisdom and judgment made an example of them. Neither is God looking to strike us dead because of an innocent mistake, but we need to be serious about understanding what is important to God and what it means to worship Him “in spirit and in truth.”

Psalm 25.1-7:

Show me Your ways

In fact, our prayer needs to be as David’s was, “Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day” (vv. 4-5).

Proverbs 9.13-18:

Invitation to a fool

Foolishness is illustrated here as a “hostess” inviting in her guests and those who accept her invitation are pictured as those who can’t see that their foolish choices lead to death.

Foolishness and sin are always inviting us to come to the party with promises of fun and pleasure. When we reach out to take it, we often realize too late that it not only leads to death, but it doesn’t even deliver what was promised.

Mark 1.23-45:

Our greatest need

Signs and miracles defined much of Jesus’ public ministry. They were signs pointing to the fact He was the Messiah.

Just like today, there was no shortage of people needing healing and deliverance. And the more people heard about the miracles, the more they came with their needs. But have you ever wondered why Jesus would tell people not to talk about their healing?

Verse 44 speaking to a leper he had just healed, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

Verse 45, “However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.”

The day before the same thing had happened. Verses 35-37, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, ‘Everyone is looking for You.’”

Verse 38, “But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”

Jesus could no long come openly into the city to proclaim the Gospel, because so many people were coming with a focus on physical needs. It’s not that God doesn’t care about our physical needs, but it shouldn’t take the focus off of the greatest need, the need for spiritual truth.

Closing thoughts

Let’s pray that each of us will seek to worship Him in spirit and in truth today and that we’ll look first for those telephone poles in our own eyes before we seek to take specks out of the eyes of others.

Your turn

Now it’s your turn. Many of you have been reading through the Bible with me for several years now. Some of you share your insights from time to time by email and they are always good and insightful. I want to encourage you to share them here so others can benefit from them.

And if you have questions, someone else probably does, too. So ask away! And maybe one of us will have an answer!


3 thoughts on “February 19 “The telephone pole in your eye”

  1. Donna I love the gracious way you have reflected the Gospel here. Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions