OT: Lev. 22:17-23:44
Thinking about God's view of abnormality helped me to see His commands about sacrificial animals in a new light. I always thought that those were there b/c God wanted only the "best," the "firstfruits." And that's true. But as we discussed yesterday (I'm not using the "royal we" when I say things like this. I picture you actually 'discussing' these things with me, even if it's just in your head:)), abnormality and deformity have deeper, figurative meanings.
Leviticus 22:28 says, "Do not slaughter a cow or a sheep and its young on the same day." Twice earlier, the Israelites were told not to cook a goat in its mother's milk. I wonder if these two commands are also given because of abnormality. I have heard repeatedly, and I know my parents would attest, that it is "abnormal" for children to die before their parents. Parents are supposed to outlive their children. Maybe this is true even in the animal world, which is why God gives the commands. And same with cooking the goat in its mother's milk. That just seems "abnormal." That was all kind of a small point, but since this was the third Scripture on animal parents and children, I thought I would address it. Besides, as you can probably tell, I'm really on a kick with the whole "abnormal" concept. I like it! It helps!
The festival of Booths is so interesting to me (23: 39-43). First of all, I can't for the life of me picture the "booths." The best my brain can give me is a lemonade stand made out of twigs and palm leaves. That or a refrigerator box with "windows" cut out:). Needless to say, neither of those sound incredibly accurate. I also have vague memories of a story we'll read later where the Israelites completely "rediscover" the Law after living apart from it. They are so eager to follow it, and they realize that it is time for the Festival of Booths. So they all go to work, making their Booths. It is so uplifting and...well, cute! It is "cute" to me b/c the Israelites there seem just about as in the dark as I am about the significance of everything; they are just trying to "follow the Law." It's a nice deviation from their typical history.
NT: Mark 9:30-10:12
I'm not picking on the disciples, I promise! I am just very interested in communication. Literal versus figurative language continues to be a big obstacle for them (and to their defense, Jesus is a pretty cryptic guy sometimes). But it is just darkly comical to me that when He talks about his impending demise, they can't, for the life of them, get it. I understand, though. That seems a little too big to wrap one's mind around.
I always love the verses about the last being first and vice versa. And the little child verses. Those verses are so intriguing to me. And I think Jesus' statement, "whoever is not against us is for us" is always interesting, especially since He says the reverse in Matthew. I've heard a lot of explanations, which I've now forgotten, but it still vaguely makes sense to me. They are clearly spoken in two separate contexts. (For anyone who needs further clarification, Coach Sal left a comment on the Matthew version that probably makes more sense than my vague "separate contexts" idea.)
Mark also differs from Matthew in Jesus' statements about divorce. Matthew says, "But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery" (Matt. 5.32). Mark leaves out the "marital unfaithfulness" clause and is much more "equal opportunity": "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery" (10: 11-12). Jesus could have said both these things at different times, but I've also heard that Matthew is more patriarchal and "Law-oriented" as a writer. He was, for example, the one who took great pains to orient Jesus to the OT scriptures, both through his many quotes of prophecies and his listing of the genealogy. It is interesting to see their different personalities show up, if that is indeed what is happening here with the marriage instructions.
Psalm 44: 1-8
I love it when David gives such full credit for his victories to God. He really seems to understand that profound truth that we are nothing and can do nothing without God. I only wish I trusted myself as little as David seemed to. Sometimes, I have far too much confidence in my own abilities.
Proverbs 10: 19
"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." Whew! I can vouch for the truth of those words. I so wish I was better at holding my tongue. Thank God He has helped me improve as I've grown, but still...there's a lot of room to grow:).