It was an accident, right? You didn’t mean to do it, right? You weren’t trying to do it on purpose, right? So it happened unintentionally but it did happen. So how will you respond? Will you apologize? Will you admit guilt? Will you make restitution? Will you ask for forgiveness? From the other person? From God? Just because it wasn’t on purpose doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. Just because you didn’t have the intent to do it doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. So how will you respond if or when you unintentionally do something that hurts or violates another person?
Today’s reading starts out in Leviticus 5.
‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “If one of you commits a sin by unintentionally defiling the Lord ’s sacred property, you must bring a guilt offering to the Lord . The offering must be your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value with silver, as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel. You must make restitution for the sacred property you have harmed by paying for the loss, plus an additional 20 percent. When you give the payment to the priest, he will purify you with the ram sacrificed as a guilt offering, making you right with the Lord , and you will be forgiven. “Suppose you sin by violating one of the Lord ’s commands. Even if you are unaware of what you have done, you are guilty and will be punished for your sin. For a guilt offering, you must bring to the priest your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value. Through this process the priest will purify you from your unintentional sin, making you right with the Lord , and you will be forgiven. This is a guilt offering, for you have been guilty of an offense against the Lord .”’—Leviticus 5:14-19
Today’s reading continues into Leviticus 6.
‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Suppose one of you sins against your associate and is unfaithful to the Lord . Suppose you cheat in a deal involving a security deposit, or you steal or commit fraud, or you find lost property and lie about it, or you lie while swearing to tell the truth, or you commit any other such sin. If you have sinned in any of these ways, you are guilty. You must give back whatever you stole, or the money you took by extortion, or the security deposit, or the lost property you found, or anything obtained by swearing falsely. You must make restitution by paying the full price plus an additional 20 percent to the person you have harmed. On the same day you must present a guilt offering. As a guilt offering to the Lord , you must bring to the priest your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value. Through this process, the priest will purify you before the Lord , making you right with him, and you will be forgiven for any of these sins you have committed.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give Aaron and his sons the following instructions regarding the burnt offering. The burnt offering must be left on top of the altar until the next morning, and the fire on the altar must be kept burning all night. In the morning, after the priest on duty has put on his official linen clothing and linen undergarments, he must clean out the ashes of the burnt offering and put them beside the altar. Then he must take off these garments, change back into his regular clothes, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean. Meanwhile, the fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must never go out. Each morning the priest will add fresh wood to the fire and arrange the burnt offering on it. He will then burn the fat of the peace offerings on it. Remember, the fire must be kept burning on the altar at all times. It must never go out.
“These are the instructions regarding the grain offering. Aaron’s sons must present this offering to the Lord in front of the altar. The priest on duty will take from the grain offering a handful of the choice flour moistened with olive oil, together with all the frankincense. He will burn this representative portion on the altar as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . Aaron and his sons may eat the rest of the flour, but it must be baked without yeast and eaten in a sacred place within the courtyard of the Tabernacle. Remember, it must never be prepared with yeast. I have given it to the priests as their share of the special gifts presented to me. Like the sin offering and the guilt offering, it is most holy. Any of Aaron’s male descendants may eat from the special gifts presented to the Lord . This is their permanent right from generation to generation. Anyone or anything that touches these offerings will become holy.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “On the day Aaron and his sons are anointed, they must present to the Lord the standard grain offering of two quarts of choice flour, half to be offered in the morning and half to be offered in the evening. It must be carefully mixed with olive oil and cooked on a griddle. Then slice this grain offering and present it as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . In each generation, the high priest who succeeds Aaron must prepare this same offering. It belongs to the Lord and must be burned up completely. This is a permanent law. All such grain offerings of a priest must be burned up entirely. None of it may be eaten.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give Aaron and his sons the following instructions regarding the sin offering. The animal given as an offering for sin is a most holy offering, and it must be slaughtered in the Lord ’s presence at the place where the burnt offerings are slaughtered. The priest who offers the sacrifice as a sin offering must eat his portion in a sacred place within the courtyard of the Tabernacle. Anyone or anything that touches the sacrificial meat will become holy. If any of the sacrificial blood spatters on a person’s clothing, the soiled garment must be washed in a sacred place. If a clay pot is used to boil the sacrificial meat, it must then be broken. If a bronze pot is used, it must be scoured and thoroughly rinsed with water. Any male from a priest’s family may eat from this offering; it is most holy. But the offering for sin may not be eaten if its blood was brought into the Tabernacle as an offering for purification in the Holy Place. It must be completely burned with fire.’—Leviticus 6
Today’s reading then brings us back into Job, starting with Job 38.
‘Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb, and as I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it in thick darkness? For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!’ “Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east? Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth, to bring an end to the night’s wickedness? As the light approaches, the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal; it is robed in brilliant colors. The light disturbs the wicked and stops the arm that is raised in violence. “Have you explored the springs from which the seas come? Have you explored their depths? Do you know where the gates of death are located? Have you seen the gates of utter gloom? Do you realize the extent of the earth? Tell me about it if you know! “Where does light come from, and where does darkness go? Can you take each to its home? Do you know how to get there? But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced! “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of hail? (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war.) Where is the path to the source of light? Where is the home of the east wind? “Who created a channel for the torrents of rain? Who laid out the path for the lightning? Who makes the rain fall on barren land, in a desert where no one lives? Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground and make the tender grass spring up? “Does the rain have a father? Who gives birth to the dew? Who is the mother of the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens? For the water turns to ice as hard as rock, and the surface of the water freezes. “Can you direct the movement of the stars— binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? Can you direct the constellations through the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth? “Can you shout to the clouds and make it rain? Can you make lightning appear and cause it to strike as you direct? Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind? Who is wise enough to count all the clouds? Who can tilt the water jars of heaven when the parched ground is dry and the soil has hardened into clods? “Can you stalk prey for a lioness and satisfy the young lions’ appetites as they lie in their dens or crouch in the thicket? Who provides food for the ravens when their young cry out to God and wander about in hunger?’—Job 38
Today’s reading then continues into Job 39.
‘“Do you know when the wild goats give birth? Have you watched as deer are born in the wild? Do you know how many months they carry their young? Are you aware of the time of their delivery? They crouch down to give birth to their young and deliver their offspring. Their young grow up in the open fields, then leave home and never return. “Who gives the wild donkey its freedom? Who untied its ropes? I have placed it in the wilderness; its home is the wasteland. It hates the noise of the city and has no driver to shout at it. The mountains are its pastureland, where it searches for every blade of grass. “Will the wild ox consent to being tamed? Will it spend the night in your stall? Can you hitch a wild ox to a plow? Will it plow a field for you? Given its strength, can you trust it? Can you leave and trust the ox to do your work? Can you rely on it to bring home your grain and deliver it to your threshing floor? “The ostrich flaps her wings grandly, but they are no match for the feathers of the stork. She lays her eggs on top of the earth, letting them be warmed in the dust. She doesn’t worry that a foot might crush them or a wild animal might destroy them. She is harsh toward her young, as if they were not her own. She doesn’t care if they die. For God has deprived her of wisdom. He has given her no understanding. But whenever she jumps up to run, she passes the swiftest horse with its rider. “Have you given the horse its strength or clothed its neck with a flowing mane? Did you give it the ability to leap like a locust? Its majestic snorting is terrifying! It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength when it charges out to battle. It laughs at fear and is unafraid. It does not run from the sword. The arrows rattle against it, and the spear and javelin flash. It paws the ground fiercely and rushes forward into battle when the ram’s horn blows. It snorts at the sound of the horn. It senses the battle in the distance. It quivers at the captain’s commands and the noise of battle. “Is it your wisdom that makes the hawk soar and spread its wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle rises to the heights to make its nest? It lives on the cliffs, making its home on a distant, rocky crag. From there it hunts its prey, keeping watch with piercing eyes. Its young gulp down blood. Where there’s a carcass, there you’ll find it.”’—Job 39
Today’s reading continues into Job 40.
‘Then the Lord said to Job, “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”
Then Job replied to the Lord , “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.”’—Job 40:1-5
Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament starting in Mark 8.
‘When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to argue with him. Testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. When he heard this, he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, I will not give this generation any such sign.” So he got back into the boat and left them, and he crossed to the other side of the lake.
But the disciples had forgotten to bring any food. They had only one loaf of bread with them in the boat. As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, “Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.” At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? ‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’#8:18 Jer 5:21. Don’t you remember anything at all? When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?” “Twelve,” they said. “And when I fed the 4,000 with seven loaves, how many large baskets of leftovers did you pick up?” “Seven,” they said. “Don’t you understand yet?” he asked them.
When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?” The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.” Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. Jesus sent him away, saying, “Don’t go back into the village on your way home.”’—Mark 8:11-26
Today’s reading then takes us to 1 Corinthians 15.
‘Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church. But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace. So it makes no difference whether I preach or they preach, for we all preach the same message you have already believed.’—1 Corinthians 15:1-11
As today’s reading comes to a close let us meditate on God’s Word and then read today’s psalm from Psalms 73.
‘Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty. These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” Look at these wicked people— enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain. If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people. So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning. Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.’—Psalms 73