Thursday, January 20, 2011

I'm so proud of myself for actually reading Leviticus.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my Core Group (me and two awesome ladies a lot cooler than me) is currenty slogging through Leviticus.

Leviticus is not an easy read. There are rules for building the temple. And rules for sacrifice. And a few thousand (it seems) rules about what's clean and unclean, whether it's clean or unclean to eat, whether it's a clean or unclean affliction, or clean or unclean time to have sex (I don't know how they enforced that one, or rather, I don't want to think about it).

And this is why people sometimes feel like the Old Testament is a buzzkill, because of "Thou shalt not" books like Leviticus. But reading it now, as an adult, I'm starting to see how a lot of those laws made sense.

Like how shellfish were unclean to eat. Think of how easy it is to get food poisoning off shellfish even with our current health standards and methods of cooking. They didn't have kitchen inspectors thousands of years ago.

Or making people with a festering wound go, you know, wash it. Or laying out the rule that, "No, you shall not lie with your brother's daughter." I mean, incest is obviously wrong to us now, but back then people didn't understand genetics and the consequences (like babies being born with flippers, or incredible banjo-playing abilities).

Or the rule about "Thou shalt not lie with animals," because, seriously OT people, was this really an issue? Don't tell me; I don't want to know.

But my point is, so many of the laws they had were to protect them, via things they didn't even comprehend (like health and sanitation). God didn't give them those laws to try to rule with an iron fist; he wanted them to obey those laws for their own safety.

And isn't that what we do with our kids? "Put that down; you don't know where it's been." "Don't eat that honey; it's dirty." We don't tell our kids not to play in the toilet water because we don't want them to have fun; we do it because we don't want them to get sick.

Now, as God's children, we've grown up a little and understand things better, so we are redeemed from the Law. We can eat unclean food because we now have the ability to make it clean. When a woman's on her period, she no longer has to go sit out in the wilderness by herself for a week. These were laws for a different culture and a different time.

I guess I'm saying we should appreciate that, as long our relationship with God stays close, he lets us grow in him. And I appreciate that he loves us enough to give us free will and is willing to take off the training wheels.

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