commandments

Day 117

I have this project that I want to work on that is completely unrelated to this project but I’m hesitant/afraid to start it because I know I’m going to suck at it for a while. I tell the kids I work with that “sucking at something is the first step to getting really really good at something,” which is roughly a quote from Adventure Time but I can’t seem to actually follow through on that myself.

I met some interesting folk today. If they were angels, they were cleverly disguised, but to stretch the metaphor, it seems most of them are. I noticed an older man observing me while I was working with some of my kids (clients) today. We were at a “natural foods” grocery store and the man struck up a conversation with me asking essentially what I was doing working with these four native kids. I didn’t go into the whole “behavioral health” aspect of my job, since he didn’t seem like he had the right idea about their lives/circumstances, so I just told him it was part of like a summer program.

We talked for a short while, his very old wife remaining quiet, and at one point he asked me about church, if I or my program were affiliated with any particular church. I told him there’s one I’ve gone to a couple times (not true, but will be true as of Sunday morning) but that I work for a private company. He seemed really nice overall and said as much about me. I forget his exact words but he seemed to think highly of me, either for how I presented myself or my line of work or both.

He seemed to think I was a sharp kid when I was able to answer “the casinos” to the question “How do the Indians scalp the white man these days?” He wasn’t joking, either. He was just sort of making a statement.

It was an interesting conversation.

But it turns out that he and his roughly-twenty-years-his-senior wife are followers of a man named William H. Branham, of whom I have never heard. Apparently he was a minister called to be some sort of prophet by God. The elderly woman I spoke to claimed that he put his hand over a blind girl’s face and she was able to open a pair of brand new blue eyes. They stressed that it was not Branham’s power, but God’s power that did this.

Sometimes, I don’t know what to believe.


Leviticus 27

See, when I get cocky about being able to “understand” the Bible, I get stuff like this. Maybe it was appropriate that this man I spoke to today said something about human interpretation of the Bible always being flawed. Maybe that was the hidden message of the conversation. Or maybe I’m human and misinterpreted it.

Anyway, let’s see what Matthew Henry can clear up about this chapter, because all this talk of “valuation” doesn’t seem to have any context and so I don’t know what anyone’s talking about.

Matthew Henry didn’t help, but this site did. Over here at Bible.org, they offer this helpful definition:

Simply viewed, offering a vow is practicing a kind of “credit card” act of worship. It is a promise to worship God with a certain offering in the future, motivated by gratitude for God’s grace in the life of the offerer. The reason for the delay in making the offering was that the offerer was not able, at that moment to make the offering. The vow was made, promising to offer something to God if God would intervene on behalf of the individual, making the offering possible. In many instances, the vow was made in a time of great danger or need. The Rabbis believed that the gifts which were vowed in Leviticus 27 were to be used for the maintenance of the Temple.

Apparently the long and short of it is that you could vow stuff to God and if you ever wanted it back (???) then you could pay money and get it back. I guess.

Anyway, this is the last section of commandments from God to Moses on Mount Sinai. Hoo-rah.

Tomorrow begins Numbers, people. Get ready.

Have a good night, and peace be upon you.

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Day 116

Views are dwindling from their already dwindled state. This is what happens when I don’t update for a week.

Also, I re-read yesterday’s post to laugh again at some of my own jokes (23:skiddoo! What a killer!) and realized that I censored several words but did not censor the word “fuck.”

notsmartOh well. Onward and upward…


Leviticus 26

After 50 chapters of Genesis and 40 of Exodus, Leviticus feels so darn short. I’m glad I caught up, though. I really don’t want to miss the first day of NUMBERS. Why is it called Numbers? Who knows? Probably lots of people. But soon I will be one of those people!

*ahem*

So this chapter is kind of cool. God speaks and tells Moses that by following God and keeping His commandments, that all will be well. The Israelites will have good harvests, peace in their lands, and they will triumph over all their enemies. The people will be fruitful and multiply, they will have new harvests to clear out the old and they will walk upright as a free people.

But if they do not…

If they do not follow the commandments and do not keep the statutes, well then, the earth and the heavens will turn against them, disease shall consume them and sorrow will fill their hearts. The number seven seems to be a recurring theme here.

“I will punish you seven times more…” (Lev 26:18)

“I will bring on you seven times more plagues…” (Lev 26:21)

“I… will chastise you seven times for your sins.” (Lev 26:28)

But seriously, it gets worse. There will be pestilence, plagues, wild beasts, cannibalism, destruction, desolation! The Israelites will be cowards in their hearts and flee before imagined foes!

But!

But there is still hope. Looking back, I forgot that one of the definitions of the word “remember” is

  • bear (someone) in mind by making them a gift or making provision for them.

So when God “remembers” His covenant, it is less that He has forgotten it and it has come back to His mind, but more that He is once again willing to bestow all of His blessings upon the people, for they are once again willing to honor and be faithful to their God.

This requires confession, submission, humility… God asks many things of us, but they are never beyond our reach.

The thing I noticed about this chapter, and I didn’t need Matthew Henry to spell it out for me, thank you very much, is that much of what God threatens to do to the people is also what happens in the heart of an individual that turns away from God.

One who walks with God lives in harmony with the land, and has the courage to stand up to any foe. This man or woman who lives this way is confident yet humble, accepting the world as it is and submitting to the will of God.

But those who turn from God find that God turns from them: to those filled with anger, all things are frustrating; to those filled with sadness, all things are reminders of sorrow. It seems as though the world works against them. They toil and struggle but all in vain. And by continuing to walk this path, their anger, sorrow, and fear will grow stronger; they will tear apart their own families and they will flee from imagined threats. They will be ruled by the cruel and will have neither the courage nor strength to stand tall.

But the old road is never closed, and God’s arms are always open to those who wish to walk with Him.

Amen.