Friday, March 19, 2010

March 19

OT: Numbers 28:16-29:40

Remember all that "big picture" talk from yesterday? Well, today's reading calls for a different approach, and so I officially declare today to be "detail day."

And so you can all get an idea of just how I spend my time, I will show you the numbers I added up today involving animal sacrifices. These are all based on yesterday's and today's readings. Yesterday's reading laid out the sacrifices that had to be given each day, each week, and the first of each month. Today's reading detailed the sacrifices that had to be given during festivals throughout the year (and let me tell you, that seventh month was a doozy!). So without further ado, here is the grand total of animals that had to die during the course of one year:

1,063 lambs
102 bulls
31 rams
10 male goats

And that does not include all the animals that had to be sacrificed anytime anyone was unclean, which included any time anyone was born or died. It doesn't include what had to be sacrificed anytime anyone sinned, whether intentionally or unintentionally. And it doesn't include any voluntary offerings. No, this is just the baseline amount of offerings.

That. is. crazy. I am no animal expert, but I am 98.5% sure that it is impossible to sustain an animal population with those type of numbers. These rules, then, are simple not sustainable. I really don't believe that they are.

So...what the heck is going on here? What is God doing? He clearly does not need the animals for His own benefit, as he clarifies repeatedly through David and the Prophets. So what is the purpose of this carnage? I think it is two-fold. One, these Laws show that God expects a lot out of man. These animals represented a chunk of change, to say the least. The Israelites are going to have to give up a lot of their physical resources just to attempt (key word) to stay in right standing with God. And even though (thank the Lord) the rules are different today, Jesus still expects us to give up a lot. He expects that, given His perfect sacrifice, we will willingly lay down our lives to Him. He expects us to completely live for Him. And really, is that too much to ask? I don't think so. After all, glorifying God is the whole point of our lives. What's great is that, like I mentioned yesterday, this "living sacrifice" is not to secure our own salvation; that has already been done. No, this is supposed to be a willing, happy thing. Easy yoke, light burden, that type of thing:).

Secondly, I really am starting to believe more and more that the purpose of the Law was to teach people that they couldn't keep the Law. I get a lot of that understanding from Romans 7. I also see people like Abraham and David who seemed to attain righteousness apart from the Law. Abe didn't have the Law, and David...well, let's just say that David was not called "a man after God's own heart" because he kept the Law so well. I think his duping of Ahimelech and eating of the consecrated bread is a prime example of David's relationship with the Law (and Jesus even supported David's actions there!). So...however you got to God back then.... maybe it wasn't a direct result of the perfectly keeping the Law. I've said it before that the Law was like a door. It wasn't an end in itself; instead, it led people to true understanding.

I don't know. I don't know if I even agree with all that I just typed, and I definitely have some stuff to tell Moses when he gets to his "Choose Life" speech. But those are my ponderings for today.

NT: Luke 3:23-38

"[Jesus] was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph..."

And thus begins Jesus' "lineage." In grad school, I read a book called Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie. The whole first half of the book discusses this man's family history and lineage, right up until his birth...where it is revealed that he was accidentally switched, and so his parents aren't really his parents. And I was like, "Well, thanks for those 200 pages of nothing!" (Of course, since his lives were shaped by those parents whose lives were shaped by that history, it wasn't "nothing," but you get the point.) Sharing Joseph's lineage is kind of the same story.

And let's not skip over the fact that this genealogy is very, very different from the one in Matthew. There are a TON of differences, but what got me was that Luke has Jesus coming from David's son, Nathan, and Matthew has Jesus coming from Solomon. I've heard that perhaps one genealogy traces through Mary and one through Joseph, and I am inclined to believe that...except for the small detail that they both claim to be through Joseph.

So I don't know. And I kind of don't care. I mean, I would like to understand this, but my faith is not based on whether these two genealogies agree. However, if anyone has any insight, please share!

Psalm 62:1-12

After the oh-so-riveting instructions on sacrifices and NT genealogy, I could have kissed David for such a wonderful psalm! Let's take it from the top, shall we?

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken" (1-2). I love these words (and I love how verses 5-6 basically restate them). I love the idea of rest for my soul. I love that I can rest in God. And I love the reminder that God alone is my rock. My salvation and my fortress aren't found in the fact that I have an amazing husband (which I do), or wonderful, healthy children (which I do), or that I can pay my bills (which I can), or that I am physically healthy (which I am). In my blessed life, it is so easy for me to slip into the thinking that my circumstances make me happy and secure--when really it is God alone. Life is sooo fragile. If I lean to heavily on those other things...they may tip over! And that's the least of what could happen to them...

[Sidenote: Maybe one reason that David was so in tune with and close to God was because of all the struggles that he went through. He couldn't forget God--he needed Him too much!]

I also adore verse 8: "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." It's hard to elaborate on this verse without simply restating it, so if you don't see what I see in it, um, just reread it very slowly:). It's wonderful. My favorite parts are "at all times," and "pour out your hearts."

And lastly, this psalm gave me a wonderful surprise. For months last year, my personal anthem was, "Your Love is Strong" by Jon Foreman. It is entirely made out of Scripture, and I love it when people base songs in Scripture. Especially when they "make it their own," like Foreman does. Plus, a lot of it centered around the Lord's Prayer, and that's what our church was focusing on at the time. I got all the Scripture references in the song...except one: "Two things you told me/That you are strong/And you love me." Huh? Was that a Scripture? Where is that? Because he had clearly paraphrased it, I knew I wouldn't be able to find it. Until today. "One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving." Eureka! That's it! That made my day.

Proverbs 11: 18-19

More wicked v. righteous.

1 comment:

  1. Numbers:

    Okay, Ms. Geeky Let's-Add-Up-The-Numbers Girl. For a minute there, I thought I must have been reading Larry's blog. :) (That is a compliment.) Yeah, it is amazing all the slaughtering that had to be done. I bet they really got a sense of how it was all tied to their sin because it had to have been extremely bloody and gross. I know there are references in the OT (Hebrews, etc.) about how sin must be paid with the shedding of blood. I am SOOO thankful that now we have wine (ahem, grapejuice) as a reminder instead. I agree with your two points. I would also say that, by calling them to give up their sustainance, God wants to be the one who sustains them.


    I was also curious why Nathan is listed as the son of David through which Jesus came. I always thought it was Solomon. That would make sense, like you said, if one of the lists was for Mary, not Joseph. Maybe they put Joseph's name instead because Mary was a women, and it was unusual to list women in these lists. I don't know.

    I LOVE how it says that Adam is the son of God.


    Yes, a very good psalm. David is such a great example of trusting in God for everything. (Well, except for the whole Bathsheba thing, but, you know...)

    I notice that in his psalms David keeps bringing up the issue of his enemies lying about him. I don't really remember much of that from his history, but it occurred to me that, as the nation's leader, people probably said all sorts of untrue things about him. Think about our own presidents and politicians. People dish up whatever dirt they can scrape up about them. Much of it is probably untrue. I'm sure David wasn't immune from that kind of nonsense (even though he didn't have the media as we have it today).

    I also like verse 10: "Don't try to get rich by extortion or robbery. And if your wealth increases, don't make it the center of your life." Lately I have felt somewhat guilty about the fact that, though I think I am far from being a "rich person," I basically living like a princess compared to people in the rest of the world. But then, I think about how God gave so many riches to Solomon and I don't feel so guilty. It's not having money that's the problem. In fact, it is a blessing from God. The issue is where our trust and focus are because...


    ...earthly pleasures don't last anyway. We should be going for rewards that last forever.