OT: Numbers 30:1-31:54
Okay, first of all, maybe I was wrong: the amount of livestock that Israel gained from their raid on Midian would sustain the animal sacrifices for a loooong time (31: 32). If they already had those kind of numbers themselves, then they are good to go.
I'm getting ahead of myself, though. First, there are some laws about making vows--specifically, about women making vows. I'm a little torn between thinking that these regulations are demeaning and thinking they are awesome. On the one hand, they definitely reflect a patriarchal system, where a man can nullify a woman's word so easily. On the other hand, I feel like I have made several rash commitments in my life, and it would be great if my dad or husband could just say, "You know what? Let's not do that." (In fact, I think that Greg has dissuaded me or given me an "out" before, and it was very helpful.) So, it's a toss-up in my mind.
Okay, I talk and talk and talk about God's view of death and all that...but the fact is, I'm never going to be cool with genocide. I know that it's not my job to be "cool" with it; it's my job to have faith, and I do. But I sincerely hate reading about God giving orders to massacre populations. I am not looking forward to Joshua. I can't help it--I always imagine the people as individuals. I imagine the women and children watching their husbands and fathers be slaughtered and their homes destroyed. I imagine them being led away, terrified, from the only home they've ever known. I imagine the horror of then realizing that they, too, will be killed. I imagine all the little boys...and the little girls "given" to the Israelites as slaves.
Blech. Not cool.
Oh, and they killed Balaam! Boo, hiss!
I believe that everything I've rambled on so far about death is very applicable here. But it seems that my heart will never be behind it. I just hate to witness suffering and killing, even if it is only on the page.
Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 3:5-6.
Okay, time to move on:).
NT: Luke 4: 1-30
It's odd--when I feel like I don't "get" something in the OT, then for some reason, my confusion always carries over to the NT. I think it is because of my mindset. I come to the NT confused, and a little annoyed by my confusion, and feeling a tad rebellious because I am not "on board" with the Bible. And so then I read something like Jesus' temptation and am like, "I just don't get this. Why pick these temptations? And why are they temptations, exactly? Why can't Jesus turn the loaves into bread? Why can't he throw himself off the temple? And why would He be the least bit tempted by Satan's offer to 'give' him all the kingdoms? If that would really help him, then Satan wouldn't have offered it, right? And they aren't Satan's anyway."
I know, I know, I've heard about 53 sermons in my life on analyzing the temptations of Jesus, and if I had to, I could give convincing explanations for all these questions. But my annoyance with the OT genocide is making me ornery!
I do love the prophecy that Jesus reads to the people of Nazareth: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (18-19). Now, those are some words I can get behind!:) I do think that it is kind of weird that Jesus seems to then antagonize the people. They are all speaking well of him and are amazed by him (22), and Jesus really takes pains to change their opinion! It seems clear that they are not getting what He is saying, but I still think that His way of getting their attention is a little strange...
Psalm 63: 1-11
Once again, David comes through for me in a big way! After my little temper tantrum with Numbers and my hardheadedness with Luke, I read this Psalm and just melted. I'm sorry, God! I do love You and trust that Your ways are best! I do earnestly seek You and long for You and thirst for You. I have seen Your power and Your glory, and Your love is better than life. I will praise you as long as I live, and You do satisfy my soul, as with the richest of foods! (You are even better than that delicious salsa I ate today at Molly's:)).
God is my help, and I sing in the shadow of His wings. My soul clings to Him, and His right hand upholds me.
David went through a lot that he didn't understand, and he still trusted unconditionally. I'm not even going through anything--I'm just reading about it. Is it too much for me to trust, too?
Still more righteous v. wicked.