February 20: Danger in the Sphere of Influence
Leviticus 7:1–8:36; John 7:45–52; Song of Solomon 6:1–5
Leadership is like a bright spotlight; when the heat intensifies, it’s difficult to conceal the areas where we fail. But that’s where true character is revealed.
The Pharisees didn’t fare well with the pressure of authority. We can see why Jesus had such compassion for the masses by observing the Pharisees’ behavior in John 7. After Jesus claimed to be the source of life and ratcheted up the conflict, the Pharisees became angry. Sensing that their authority was slipping, they judged Jesus before they had a chance to give Him a hearing. They intimidated Nicodemus, harshly rebuked the captains, and cursed the people: “this crowd who does not know the law is accursed!” (John 7:49).
Those who hold positions of authority have great influence—a reason why bad authority can be so detrimental: “Not many should become teachers, my brother, because you know that we will receive a greater judgment” (Jas 3:1). But influence isn’t relegated to leaders, supervisors, or pastors. Anyone who has a measure of influence over others should carefully consider how they use that trust.
When we have earthly teachers who let us down, we can turn to God, our heavenly teacher. For those who were under the heavy hand of the Pharisees, Jesus’ words must have been as refreshing and soothing as the water He spoke of: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let him drink, the one who believes in me” (John 7:37–38).
How are you using your authority to lead others to Christ? How can you seek out forgiveness from those you may have harmed?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Likewise this is the law of the trespass offering, it is most holy. In the place where they kill the burn offering, shall they kill the trespass offering, and the blood thereof shall he sprinkle round about upon the altar. All the fat thereof also shall he offer, the rump, and the fat that covered the inwards. After, he shall take away the two kidneys, with the fat that is on them and upon the flanks, and the caul on the liver with the kidneys. Then the Priest shall burn them upon the altar, for an offering made by fire unto the Lord: this is a trespass offering. All the males among the Priests shall eat thereof, it shall be eatn in the holy place for it is most holy. As the sin offering is, so is the trespass offering one law serveth for both: that wherewith the Priest shall make atonement, shall be his. Also the Priest that offereth any man’s burnt offering which he hath offered. And all the meat offering that is baked in the oven, and that is dressed in the pan, and in the frying pan, shall be the Priest’s that offereth it. And ever meat offering mingled with oil, and that is dry, shall pertain unto all the sons of Aaron, to all alike. Furthermore, this is the law of the peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the Lord. If he offer it to give thanks, then he shall offer for his thanks offering, unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and fine flour fried with the cakes mingled with oil. He shall offer also his offering with cakes of leavened bread, for his peace offerings, to give thanks. And of all the sacrifice he shall offer one cake for an heave offering unto the Lord, and it shall be the Priest’s that sprinkled the blood of the peace offerings. Also the flesh of the peace offerings, for thanksgiving, shall be eaten the same day that it is offered: he shall leave nothing thereof until the morning. But if the sacrifice of his offeirng be a vow, or a free offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offereth his sacrifice: and so in the morning the residue thereof shall be eaten. But as much of the offered flesh as remaineth unto the third day, shall be burnt with fire. For if any of the flesh of his peace offerings be eaten in the third day, he shall not be accepted that offereth it, neiher shall it be reckoned unto him, but shall be an abomination: therefore the person that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity: The flesh also that toucheth any unclean thing, shall not be eaten, but burnt with fire: but of this flesh all that be clean shall eat thereof. But if any eat of the flesh of the peace offerings that pertaineth to the Lord, having his uncleannes upon him, even the same person shall be cut off from his people. Moreover, when any toucheth any unclean thing, as the uncleanness of man, or of an unclean beast, or of any filthy abomination, and eat of the flesh of the peace offerings, which pertaineth unto the lord, even that person shall be cut off from his people. Again the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say, Ye shall eat no fat of beeves, nor of sheep, nor of goats. Yet the fat of the dead beast, and the fat of that, which is torn with beasts, shall be occupied to any use, but ye shall not eat of it. For whosoever eateth the fat of the beast, of the which ye shall offer an offering made be fire to the Lord, even the person that eateth, shall be cut off from his people. Neither shall ye eat any blood, either of fowl, or of beast in all your dwellings. Every person that eateth any blood, even the same person shall be cut off from his people. And the Lord talked with Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say, He that offereth his peace offerings unto the Lord, shall bring his gift unto the Lord of his peace offerings. his hands shall bring the offerings of the Lord made by fire: even the fat with the breast shall he bring, that the breast may be shaken to and fro before the Lord. Then the Priest shall burn the fat upon the Altar, and the beast shall be Aaron’s and his sons’. And the right shoulder shall ye give unto the Priest for an heave offering, of you peace offerings. The same that offereth the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat among the sons of Aaron, shall have the right shoulder for his part. For the breast shaken to and fro, and the shoulder lifted up, have I taken of the children of Israel, even of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the Priest and unto his sons by a statute forever from among the children of Israel. This is the anointing of Aaron, and the anointing of his sons, concerning the offerings of the Lord made by fire, in the day when he presented them to serve in the Priest’s office unto the Lord. The which portions the Lord commanded to give them in the day that he anointed them from among the children of Israel, by a statute forever in their generations. This is also the law of the burnt offering, of the meat offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecraitons, and of the peace offerings. Which the Lord commanded Moses in the mount Sinai, when he commanded the children of Israel to offer their gifts unto the Lord in the wilderness of Sinai. Afterward the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take Aaron and his sons with him ,and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offeirng, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread, And assemble all the company at the door of the Tabernacle of Congregation. So Moses did as the Lord had commanded him, and the company was assembled at the door of the Tabernacle of Congregation. The Moses said unto the company, This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded to do. And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water, And put upon him the coat, and girded him with a girdle, and clothed him with the robe, adn put the Ephod on him, which he girded withthe broidered girdle of the Ephod, and bound it unto him therewith. And he put the breastplate thereon, and put in the breastplate of the Urim and the Thummim. Also he put the miter upon his head, and put upon the miter on the forefront the golden plate, and the holy crown, as the Lord hath commanded Moses. (Now Moses had taken the anointing oil, and anointed the Tabernacle, and all that was therein, and sanctified them, And sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his instruments, and the laver, and his foot, to sanctify them.) And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him to sanctify him. After, Moses brought Aaron’s sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon thier heads, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Then he brought the bullock for the sin offering, and Aaron a nd his sons put their hands upon the head of hte bullock for the sin offeirng. And Moses slew him, and took the blood, which he put upon the horn of the Altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the rest of the blood at the foot of the altar: so he sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it. Then he took all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul of the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat, which Moses burned upon the altar. But the bullock and his hide, and his flesh, and his dung, he burnt with fire without the host as the Lord had commanded Moses. Also he brought the ram for the burnt offering, and Aaron and his sons put their hands upon the head of the ram. So Moses killed it, and sprinkeld the blood upon the altar round about, And Moses cut the ram in pieces, and burnt the head witht he pieces, and the fat, And washed the inwards and the legs in water: so Moses burnt the ram every whit upon the Altar: for it was a burnt offeirng for a sweet savor, which was made by fire unto the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses. After, he brought the other ram, the ram of consecrations, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram, Which Moses slew, and took of the blood of it, and put it upon the lap of aron’s right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot. Then Moses brought Aaron’s sons, and put of the blood on the lap of their right ears, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet, and Moses sprinkled the rest of the blood upon the Altar round about. And he took the fat and the rump, and all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul of the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat, and the right shoulder. Also he took of the basket of the unleavened cake, and a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer, and put them on the fat, and upon the right shoulder. So he put all in Aaron’s hands, and in his sons’ hands, and shook it to and fro before the Lord. After, Moses took them out of their hands, and burnt them upon the altar for a burnt offering: for these were consecrations for a sweet savor, which were made by fire unto the Lord. Likewise Moses took the breast of the ram of consecrations, and shook it to and fro before the Lord: for it was Moses’ portion as the Lord had commanded Moses. Also Moses took the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the Altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, upon his garments, and upon his sons, and on his sons’ garments with him: so he sanctified Aaron, his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him. Afterward Moses said unto Aaron and his sons, Seethe the flesh at the door of the Tabernacle of Congregation, and there eat it with the bread that is in the basket of consecrations, as I commanded, saying, Aaron and his sons shall eat it. But that which remaineth of the flesh and of the bread, shall ye burn with fire. And ye shall not depart from the door of the Tabernacle of Congregation seven days, until the days of your consecrations be at an end: for seven days, said the Lord, shall he consecrate you, As he hath done this day: so the Lord hath commanded to do, to make an atonement for you. Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the Tabernacle of Congregation, day and night, seven days, and shall keep the watch of the Lord, that ye die not: for so I am commanded. So Aaron and his sons did all things which the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses. Leviticus 7:1–8:36
- Then came the officers to the high Priests and Pharisees, and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? Th eofficers answered, never man spake like this man. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Doth any of the rulers, or of the Pharisees believe in him? But this people, which know not the Law, are cursed, Nicodemus said unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, and was one of them.) Doth our Law judge a man before it hear him, and know what he hath done? They answered, and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no Prophet. John 7:45–52
- My well-beloved is gone down into his garden to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my well-beloved’s, and my well-beloved is mine, who feedeth among the lilies, Thou art beautiful, my love, as Tizrah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners. Turn away thine eyes from me: for they overcome me: thine hair is like a flock of goats, which look down from Gilead. Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep, which go up from the washing, which every one bring out twins, and none is barren among them. Song of Solomon 6:1–5