Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wandering in the Wilderness - a week in Leviticus and Numbers

Well, it's the wilderness to me. Not to the more biblically literate, certainly not to its Author to whom I mean no disrespect or irreverance. But even a stumble through the wilderness has a few reference points and moments of beauty.

BURNING DAUGHTERS IN THE FIRE - in Leviticus 19, it is detestable to offer sons and daughters in the sacrificial fire of false gods. (Can anyone say saline abortion? No wonder the pagans danced and sang outside the abortion clinics back in the day, brothers Tim and Tom.) It is not irony but holiness that instructs the priests to "burn in the fire" any daughter of theirs who is found to be a prostitute. (Lev. 21).

PUNISHMENT & RESTITUTION - looks like the foundations of western civil justice to me. In Leviticus 6, the one found guilt of fraud or theft is to restore what he has taken, plus 20% (restitution) and also must pay an additional penalty (punitive damages). And, intent matters - but the lack of it doesn't get you off the hook completely. But by all means, take down the 10 Commandments from our courtrooms, what do they have to do with anything.....

"MURDER IN HEBRON" - how's this for the first paragraph from a murder mystery based on Deuteronomy 21, the guidelines for dealing with unsolved murders.

Yehudah the cobbler would never drive a nail again. The men standing around his body hadn't called Esau ben Levi and his Ammonite servant Ishmael to tell them that. The unblinking stare of his right eye told them that, as did the tent peg sticking out of his left. One of the men said, "hurry up Esau, bring down the heifer so we can kill it and declare our innocence of this man's blood."

But Esau, the go-to Levite in solving cases of dispute and assault, wondered why the man was in such a hurry. Ishmael touched the body, feeling its warmth. "Dead about two hours, Esau." Ishmael was a handy assistant. A pagan, he could touch a score of murder victims without needing to sit on his tuchus for ritual purification......

Esau grunted. "Go ask his son for a list of unhappy customers. And while you're at it - give him this shekel, I still owe him for fixing my sandals."

MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU..... this blessing of Aaron in Numbers 6 brings back sweet memories of saying this over Joe and Imani at bedtime. I had dinner with Joe last night - he does seem at peace with God and his life, as does Imani, and Tim. Thank you Lord for answered bedtime blessings. I like blessing people - it is so encouraging, and as we are called to imitate Jesus and believe in His conferred power, we can in faith believe that according to His will He will bless what, and whom, we bless. So if you are reading this - I bless you today with love in your family and joy in your God.

RELEASE YOUR SLAVES, GIVE BACK YOUR PROPERTY - all them God fearin', whole counsel of God slave owners of the antebellum South probably didn't tell their "property" about the Jubilee provisions of God's law: after 50 years, the slaves go free, them and their families (Lev. 25). Oh, and any property you acquired from someone? You have to give it back. That will I am sure be truly Good News to the Indians!

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