Category Archives: Bible in 90 Days

Better Call Saul – Day 20 – 90 Days through the Bible – 1 Samuel 3-15

maxresdefaultSaul is a conflicted leader. He seems like the answer to the people’s demands for a strong king. God even allows Samuel to anoint him. The problems start after that. He serves as a king, but he can’t seem to trust God. He can’t leave things well enough alone. He keeps getting in the way with his own ideas about what he’s supposed to do. He sacrifices and offers worship to God when all the Lord wants is for him to be faithful.

When we bargain with God, do we do the same thing? Do we THINK God wants one thing when in reality God desires not fancy clothes, good church services and giving away a lot of money – God wants us to change our hearts, not our appearance, to give well, not necessary to give a lot. Something to think about, I guess. On to 1 Samuel!

  • “Here I am…” Is there any more powerful words of acceptance in the Bible? Samuel is eager to serve, to help, and to be the minister/prophet he was dedicated to be. The problem with that? He’s going to get a tough prophetic assignment. Careful what you wish for, I guess.
  • What a turn of events – The Israelites look like they’re going to lose, so they bring out their secret weapon: the ark of the covenant. This very presence of God will surely turn the tide…until it doesn’t. indiana-jones-ark-of-the-covenantIsrael still loses and now the ark is captured. Way to go, guys.
  • Poor Eli. He falls over from the bad news and breaks his neck?
  • Ichabod means “The glory has departed from Israel.” I never knew that one. So, why would you name your son Icahbod? Mr. and Mrs. -Ichabod-Crane-ichabod-crane-sleepy-hollow-tv-series-35844488-800-600Crane must not have thought too fondly about the good news of becoming parents.
  • Is there anyone over the age of 12 who doesn’t see this picture when they think of the power of the ark of the covenant? I’ll spare the face melting stuff but you know you remember it.
  • Everybody seems to want a king. Why? What is it about doing things your neighbors are doing that makes it so attractive? I love that Samuel warns them over and over again, but they still choose monarchy. How’s that gonna work out? Let’s go find a king!
  • Hello, Saul.
  • Qualifications for Saul as king? 1 Samuel 9:2 – “There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders about everyone else.” So, he’s good looking and really tall. That makes sense. Maybe that’s how I’ll vote in the next election.
  • “Is Saul also among the prophets?” That became a proverb…or so we are told in 1 Samuel 10:12. This march toward the throne is certainly less traditional than one would expect. Still, here comes the handsome, tall, prophesying Saul, ready to take charge.
  • 1 Samuel 13 begins with a very curious verse that is missing words. The length of Saul’s reign is unknown in this verse. Acts 13:21 notes Saul reigned for 40 years.
  • Saul loses his kingdom when he sacrifices to God, rather than trusting God would fulfill the promises made to Saul. Trust and faith…that’s more important here than right worship.post-23810-Darth-Vader-I-find-your-lack-o-7tOl
  • Much like Saul, Jonathan’s introduction includes him traveling with an unknown companion. Who are these people?
  • It seems like Saul has been at war since he first came on the scene. Rough time to be the kind, I’d say.
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Days 18-19, 90 Days Through the Bible – The Book of Judges, Ruth, and 1 Samuel

Judging YouProbably a weird thing to say, but Judges is my favorite book in the OT. It feels like the Wild West. There is a sense of law vs. lawlessness in the claiming of this new land. And much like the European visitors who tried to take the land from the Native Americans, the would-be settlers were not always behaving as though they were righteous or just. Judges gives us a picture of people vacillating between right and wrong. It feels real, gritty, and more relatable than the wanderings in the desert we’ve been dealing with the last couple of weeks. Still, this book also contains some HORRIFIC passages, and none are worse than the Jephthah’s daughter debacle. What a disaster of a promise Jephthah makes and what an awful result.

On to the notes!

  • Judges 1 – Here’s the first reference to Jerusalem (I think?). Amazing to see this important city enter through violence. It is still such a divided place today and it began as a divided place in Judges. Just a preview of what’s to come…
  • Funny how just a generation after Joshua dies, the people forget the Lord. Do we have the same problem? Do we take for granted the exploits and sacrifices of our parents? Grandparents and beyond?
  • “Then the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord…” We run into this phrase an awful lot over the next 20+ chapters, don’t we?
  • Othniel doesn’t get very much of a story, just a short paragraph in chapter 3. I wish there was more to his backstory.
  • Judges 3:12-30 – WOW that’s a lot of violence all of the sudden. Killing a guy in the bathroom? Again, best book in the OT. Wild stories.
  • I love the introduction of Deborah.resized_creepy-willy-wonka-meme-generator-can-i-call-you-deborah-debbie-c7dd8e Here we have a very strong female leader who takes up the mantle when the male general is unwilling to do so alone. If this isn’t great rationale for female leadership and ordination, then I don’t know what is. Deborah is called by God to lead the people with her gifts, talents, and faith. I want my daughter to know this story. I want my son to know this story. I want all people to read the scripture with an eye toward the whole – what is God’s ultimate message about our relationships with one another, strangers, friends, and even our enemies.
  • Judges 6 – The Sign of the Fleece – Gideon may be blessed, anointed, and touched by God, but he doesn’t have a ton of trust in God, does he? It’s funny how he test God once and when God passes, he decides to retest God. What does he think, the first time was a fluke? God got lucky?
  • And the very next chapter we get an army chosen because they drink like dogs? This stuff is hilarious, awesome, fantastic, and hopeful. I really, really enjoy this book.
  • Judges 11 – Jephthah’s vow feels like the beginning of the end for the book. Why do we make deals with God that God does not ask us to make? Why would you bargain with God when there is no need to bargain? This poor girl. What an awful story…
  • And onto the scene burst Samson! Here is yet another child of promise, born to a previously barren mother. There will be many more of these individuals in the scriptures that follow. My favorite Grateful Dead song? “Samson and Delilah” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQXv4JL0Fzg
  • The Samson chronicles are great to teach kids…until everybody starts dying…and we have to deal with the weird sexual stuff…and the genocide…and animal abuse…and blindings…and, well, I’ll take back my previous statement.
  • And after Samson comes another passage I didn’t really learn in Sunday School. Judges 19 describes the horrible rape of two women and the civil war that follows between the various tribes involved in the incident. You’ll notice that God is absent from this section. The people were without any clear leadership, faith, or hope.

Ruth

  • c3f00e52b4e59b8ff7c01a97a1f2aba9Ruth was one of the first books I preached on when I became thepastor at The Peoples church. I love the way this book provides a hope that was missing in Judges. It’s kind of a palate cleanser for the end of the last book. Now THIS is a story you can teach to all ages. After the NC-17 Judges, we have the more digestible PG Ruth…with a few scenes of adult situations (threashing room floor comes to mind).
  • Who are the people picking up the sheaves in our culture? Do we leave the sheaves out for them?
  • Names are important.
  • Everyone has the responsibility for another person. We are all called to take care of others, aren’t we?
  • Boaz and Ruth are part of the lineage of David, and a little farther down the line, the genealogy of Jesus. Makes you start to wonder about all the questionable characters in Jesus’ background.

1 Samuel

  • We’re just starting this book today.
  • We encounter yet another child of promise. Hannah prays for a child and is eventually rewarded. So what does she do with her new baby? Gives him away to the temple.

President’s Day Reading Catch-up – Days 13-17 – Numbers 33 – Joshua 24

President’s Day Reading Catch-up

Days 13-17 – Numbers 33 – Joshua 24

quote-the-best-laid-schemes-o-mice-an-men-gang-aft-agley-an-lea-e-us-nought-but-grief-an-pain-for-robert-burns-281775Nothing like a long weekend to help you catch up on some reading, eh? Or, in my case, nothing like a long weekend with your family at a waterpark to wreck havoc on your good intentions. I feel like there is some kind of parallel between this weekend and the Hebrew people’s journey in the wilderness. Hear me out – they want to do the right thing, the thing God has called them to do, but something always seems to get in their way and distract them. They assume it’s going to be easy and, predictably, it never is. We’re still reading some difficult passages and truth be told, I’m looking forward to the end of this section.

This is a big chunk of the OT and by the time we finish it we’ll be out of the Torah and onto Joshua. That’s gotta mean something, right?

  • Numbers 33 feels like a sitcom “clips” show. You know the episode I’m talking about? One of those shows that claims to be all new but it’s really just a collection of clips from the previous episodes. That’s what we’re dealing with here. A recap of what we just read in the previous 32 chapters. Actually, it’s helpful for me to reread this whole section. Nice to remind yourself how everybody got to where they are.
  • Numbers 35 – Cities of refuge for those seeking asylum. I love this concept. Where are the places of security, refuge and sanctuary in our world today? Where do we allow the accused, the frightened, and worrisome?
  • Again, I’m concerned with this approach to reading scripture. I know there are some subtle differences between the similar events that are retold in Leviticus, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, but for the life of me, I can’t pick them out while reading this much this fast. What I am discovering are the larger themes and ideas that permeate throughout the meta-narrative – God’s continual presence, call and response, the need for obedience, humanity’s shortcomings, and the ability to forgive – just to name a few.
  • Moses is again reminded that he will not enter into Canaan. What must he have felt to know that his children and grandchildren would see the land he had longed for for so long? Is that a comfort to us? To know our children will experience great joy, even if we do not?
  • Retelling the 10 commandments – Deuteronomy 5
  • Best part of Deuteronomy – 6:4-9 – SHEMA!!!TheShema I may not remember much else from my seminary Hebrew classes than these wonderful verses. This sticks and it should stick. I want to remember these verses- To keep these words. To share these words.
  • Big warning – Deut 8:19 If you forget the Lord your God and follow other gods to serve and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.
  • Hooray! More food laws! I was wondering if I should eat roebuck or roebuck-animals-2955302-600-400the buzzard. Guess not.
  • Deuteronomy 15:10 – Give liberally and ungrudging when you do so
  • And here come the sexuality laws…Deuteronomy 22…this deserves more attention…in another post…on another day…
  • Fun new law I just learned? Deuteronomy 23:24 – If you go into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, as many as you wish, but you shall not put any in a container.
  • Laws usually develop because of the actions of a community. I’d like to know the origin of this particular law and want to know how many times it occurred to warrant recording it in Deuteronomy 25:11-12 – If men get into a fight with one another, and the wife of one intervenes by reaching out and seizing his genitals, you shall cut off her hand; show her no pity.
  • Wrapping Deuteronomy up with another recap, this time set to a song. Way to go, Moses. I didn’t realize you had some music skills in addition to all the prophetic stuff!
  • Moses’ eulogy is beautiful, fitting, and a nice conclusion to the Torah.
  • It’s the turning point! We’re in Joshua!
  • And let’s also welcome Rahab onto the scene.rahab-11 Her story is a pretty fantastic one – this foreign woman is responsible for giving the Israelites what they needed to come into the land and survive. She is one of many “women of questionable backgrounds” who proves to be part of the great story of all of God’s people. God chooses the most unlikely, even you and me. Her quick thinking and wise words make all the difference.
  • Joshua 5:15 – Josh takes off his sandals in the presence of God’s holy messenger…very similar to Moses removing his shoes in front of the burning bush. Bottom line? Take off your shoes in the presence of the divine.
  • Those sneaky Gibeonites tried to pull a fast one on Joshua. Didn’t seem to work out in their favor (Joshua 9).
  • Joshua 12 is the list of kings defeated. That’s, um, a lot of war. A whole lot of war.
  • Dividing up the conquered land – give it to the tribes, give the Levites their due, and make sure you set up cities of refuge. I think I got this section. Bring on Judges.

Day 12 – February 12 – 90 Days through the Bible – Numbers 22-32

We’re on vacation for the next few days so my posts will come at odd times. It’s Great Wolf Lodge Family Picalways good to get away for short trip to reconnect, relax, and enjoy some lowkey fun.

That’s not what’s happening this trip.

We are staying at The Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, MI. It’s like an eight year old’s version of Vegas – no clocks, tons of external stimulation, lots of opportunities to spend money, and a sensory overload. We’ve got water parks, arcades, tons of junk food, and everything our kids could want. The upside is we’re spending time with great friends (hello, Hoyts and Aylworths!), great family (Joe and Rhi!) and each other. We’re exhausted and enjoying the non-relaxing time away from East Lansing.

That said, I’m still reading…just not at the same pace. The posts will come at odd times but they will come. Here’s day 12!

  • Today’s reading kick off with the best story from Numbers: Balaam, donkeythe donkey, and the angel. If you can’t teach a Sunday School lesson from this book, then there isn’t much hope for you. A talking donkey? The donkey with more sense than the prophet? I love this passage.
  • There are a few instances in scripture when the names of principle characters are so similar that it becomes quite confusing – Balaam and Balak, Elijah and Elisha, even Peter and Paul. I know, I know, the names are different and I should be able to tell the difference. I’m trying to see this through the eyes of my six and eight year olds. The Bible is already a pretty confusing. Try listening to difficult passages with similar sounding names and you just space out. I’m not advocating we change the names, just that we’d have some sensitivity when people say they are confused by the Bible. That’s a very legitimate statement for them to make. As a pastor, I already overemphasize the denominational business we celebrate at The Peoples Church – the nuanced theological distinctions that separate Methodists from Presbyterians, Congregationalists from Baptists. By throwing in muddled source material as the foundation for these theological ramblings, we seem to create an even more spiritually and biblical-ly illiterate congregation. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
  • well-that-escalated-jmg8n6Numbers 25 – That got out of hand rather quickly, I’d say? My goodness that was brutal. A spear through the belly of the man and the woman? And then, the greatest downplay of a statement in Numbers 25:9 “Nevertheless, those that died by the plague were 24,000.” These are the types of passages people read and say, “I’m done,” when it comes to reading scripture. How can you not? I know there is some rhetorical hyperbole going on here but still. The blood, death, and suffering is overwhelming! G—and K–, how are you getting through this stuff?
  • Number 26 – You have this brutally violent passage in chapter 25 and then switch to a census in chapter 26? Kind of a let down. Not that I like the violence but it seems like the census is a bit of filler.
  • I’ve always been a fan of Joshua. I like seeing him receive some recognition in chapter 27.
  • Serious observation – Numbers 28 describes the differences between daily offerings, Sabbath offerings, and monthly offerings. What do those look like in our lives? What things do we give monthly vs. daily?
  • Gender roles in the ancient world are always a bit prickly to our modern ears. The idea that vows made by men are so different from those made by women (numbers 30) speaks to the role of girls, women, wives, and mothers in the biblical world. Do we just read past these passages and say, “Different place, different times” or do we try and rationalize these verses in some other way? I don’t advocate the outright rejection of concepts, values, and passages we might disagree with on the surface. In our multi-denominational situation at The Peoples Church we struggle with the same notion of acceptance, inclusion, and exclusivity – if we are four denominations simultaneously, then how do we reconcile doctrines between the denoms that seem to contradict one another (infant baptism seems to be the easiest example I can think of)?
  • The Midianites are really taking it on the chin in Numbers.
  • The pacifist in me takes issue with all the war, genocide, and outright despicable behavior encountered in these parts of the OT. I’m ending today on a sour note. Here’s hoping tomorrow picks up a bit. Maybe?

Stop Reading the Bible – Day 10-11

Stop Reading the Bible – Day 10-11 – Feb. 10-11 – Leviticus 27 – Numbers 8 and Numbers 9-21

Forgive my extreme irreverence and borderline heresy, but is that what the book of Numbers is intended to do? To get you to stop reading scripture and give up?

I Don't Know

At the very least, I believe Numbers has been strategically placed where it is in the OT with the sole purpose of challenging your good intentions. It sits there after the narrative parts of the Torah, giving you the impression that it may have a similar narrative quality. Instead, we are presented with lists and censuses throughout. There are some good spots but this text contains far less obvious stories than the previous three books of family tales, laws, and escape. So what do we do with books, passages, and verses like this? How do we navigate through theologically challenging waters? What do we make of genealogies? Laws? Wars? Repetition? And what about repetition?

That said, I’m powering through and will not buckle in the face of a confusingly long list of names, numbers, and animals. This book does have some outstanding parts that are often overlooked because of the difficult landscape around them. Encourage me, folks. Inspire me. Motivate me. Shame me, if you have to. Just don’t let me give up and don’t let me skip anything.

G—and K–, you two can do this. Don’t give up…and don’t let me give up.

“Numerical” thoughts:

  • Numbers 1 – I like (that’s not the right word…I am interested in) the way they decide who gets counted for the census. “…everyone able to go to war…” That puts a spin of reality into the count.
  • Roll call! Who’s here? Let’s start with Reuben…
  • Having the Levites (people from Levi’s lineage) singled out for special service seems an awful lot like “Divergent.” Do you want to be a Levite? Does it matter if you would rather be a soldier? Nope. You’re a priest. Your dad was a priest. His dad was a priest. You’re going to be a priest.divergent-hunger-games
  • Numbers 2-3 – Again, I feel like dystopian teen fiction is my go-to point of reference today. This chapter in Numbers feels like “Hunger Games.” Everybody go to their district, under their flag, and wait for instructions from the Capital, i.e. Moses and the Levites. Actually, the Levites are like the tributes, offered on behalf of the whole nation. I guess being a priest isn’t nearly as bad as a blood sport, competition to the death in front of a captive national audience. Soooooo, maybe my comparison to “The Hunger Games” doesn’t really hold up.
  • Anybody else ever watch the ridiculously foul “Always Sunny in Philadelphia?” The introduction to the work of the Kohathites feels like “Charlie-work.” It seems like the kinda stuff you trick your buddy into doing because he’s a nice guy and you don’t want to do it yourself.Charlie Work
  • Numbers 5 – I like that the laws here are a welcome respite from lists of people. Everything is relative, I guess. Now then, let’s hear more about restitution…
  • My current favorite passage in this Biblical journey – Numbers 6:5 “The shall let the locks of the head grow long.” Did I mention I love Numbers?
  • Truly, the best part of Numbers is the priestly benediction – Numbers 6:22-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
  • Numbers 8:25 – Mandatory age of retirement for the Levites is 50. Not a bad deal…
  • Biblical diet? The awesome stuff listed in Numbers 11:5 – Fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. I want to cook that up now.
  • My friend, colleague, and brother in Christ, Raymond Bonwell preached from Numbers 11 at my October 20 2011 installation service at The Peoples Church. Great stuff and good memories. It’s amazing how a small piece of scripture can illicit such powerful memories of the past. Thank you, Raymond, for your biblical wisdom and pastoral knowledge. Please try not to mock my humorous attempt to work my way through the fantastic OT with snark, wit, and heresy…with a dash of faithfulness, grace, hope and Christ.
  • Funny verse – Numbers 12:3 “Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth.” I’m the most humble guy out there…God just said so. How could he not make that joke with Aaron and Joshua later in the day?
  • More rebelling and doubt by the Israelites – after all they saw and experienced, why would they doubt God’s ability and willingness to help them enter into the land? We all have such short term memories.
  • 40 years kept out of the promised land…what a punishment?! Things take a terrible turn in Numbers 14.
  • The revolt of Korah – this passage is referenced in the extremely short NT epistle of Jude (v 11). Fun Biblical fact?
  • Numbers 20 – Moses and Aaron are now destined to suffer the same fate as the other unfaithful, barred forever from entering into the Promised Land. Is their punishment because of their arrogance, implying that THEY brought the water out of the rock? It is their inability to do exactly what God asked? God says their lack of trust keeps them out. What is a true lack of trust?
  • What a way to end today’s readings – Numbers 21, the poisonous serpents among the people and the bronze serpent that keeps the alive. I’m out. That was too tough of a passage. I think that’s what I’ve learned most from this proposed 90 day adventure through the Bible. By reading it in such a shallow way, with such little discernment, no commentaries, and allowing my immediate reactions to guide my readings, I’m seeing things I didn’t before. I’m trying to read with a blank slate in front of me, hoping the passages will write the thoughts I need. I hope the Holy Spirit is with me…because I feel like I REALLY need it right now. This is a difficult journey. See you tomorrow, G—and K—.5973afde385d53fd3a7f01e903e2c18d

I’m An Absolute Failure At This – February 7 – Days 7-9 – Exodus 29-40, Leviticus 1-14, Leviticus 15-28

missed expectationsI’m An Absolute Failure At This –

February 7-9 – Days 7-9 – Exodus 29-40, Leviticus 1-14, Leviticus 15-28

It looks like I’m playing catch up for days 7-9. I’m a bit behind right now. Isn’t that the problem with doing this overly ambitious journey through the Bible? And then what do you do with that guilt? I’m pretty sure God doesn’t tell us to “read the whole Bible in this set amount of days.” In fact, there’s nothing even close to that in scripture, tradition, or divine revelation.

So why do I feel so terrible about not finishing when I’m told myself I would finish? What is it about these self-imposed deadlines that give me ulcers?

My colleague, friend, and brother in arms, Drew Filkins, told me to stop worrying about these opening paragraphs. He said, “People want to read the bulletin points. That’s what they scan down to find.”

I’ll admit, I do the same thing.

Still, I feel like I need to rationalize and explain my thoughts before I just list my quick hit, rapid fire reactions to the scripture. This is especially true for the end of Exodus and the book of Leviticus. Because, quite frankly, these books are ridiculously boring at times.

disappointmentMaybe boring is a bit sacrilegious.

How about, boring in the theologically exciting kind of a way?

I’m just not into the laws, genealogies, and building plans for tabernacles, arks, temples, and the like. I want to be. Really, I do! I just can’t muster up the enthusiasm necessary to get there.

What do we do with the passages encountered in this series of readings? How do you actualize, realize, and internalize dietary, sexual, and priestly laws?

G—and K— ? Any thoughts on this?

For those who scrolled down to the good stuff, here are my bullet points!

  • Exodus 29 – The ordination of priests here is VERY different from my own ordination. First, we had no ram, no bull (well, maybe a little bit) and no fat to offer from said ram. What did we have? Crying, Raymond Bonwell, Band of Brothers references, and a lot of people who “knew me when.”
  • Exodus 30 – Give half a shekel (or 10 gerahs) as an offering at the sanctuary. How does that compute today?
  • Exodus 30 – I love the smell of incense. I enjoy it in the house and in the sanctuary. However, we rarely burn incense in the congregation I serve. There is something to be said about worshiping with all our senses, even the sense of smell. We have hearing (music and spoken words), sight (visuals all over the place), touch (passing the peace, hand on a shoulder), and taste (communion) but not much with smell. Incense seems to meet that need. Just a thought…
  • Exodus 31 – Keep that Sabbath. Why is this so ridiculously hard for most of us to do? A day of not doing ANY work? That just sounds like a day after when I’ll be playing catch up. How could this resemble something else?
  • Exodus 32 – Aaron gives up the faith pretty easily. He starts on the golden path AS MOSES IS ON THE MOUNTAIN. What caused him to do so after all of these weeks of faith? After all the miraculous signs he saw? After serving as the spokesperson for God? Why would he bail out so easily?
  • Exodus 32 – At least Moses negotiates for the people. That’s something, right?
  • Exodus 32 – Aaron lets the people run wild? Worst babysitter ever.
  • Exodus 33:11 – GREAT, powerful line – Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
  • Exodus 34 – Start tearing down the “others’ “ idols, temples, and towers. Interesting…
  • Exodus 34 – Moses’ face is shining. When do we shine?
  • Exodus 35- 38 – Makin’ the ark. This is the rough stuff I have a trouble getting through.
  • The ending of Exodus? That’s kind of a letdown. I guess I had hoped for some more resolution.
  • Leviticus! We’re into another book! Wait, this book is about what now? Yea, I guess?!?!Leviticus Lego
  • Leviticus 1 – Kind of a short chapter. Unblemished offerings…what offerings do we make that are with flaws, conditions, and blemishes?
  • Leviticus 2-4- How do make an appropriate sacrificial offering is a very strange thing, indeed. I have absolutely no point of reference for these examples. What’s a good goat vs. a bad one? A What kind of wood to use for the fire? I just don’t sacrifice this way.
  • Sin offerings – you can’t help but think of atonement theories when you read this…if you’re a theology nerd who really likes studying atonement theories.
  • To be holy is to be set apart. Who, what, and when do we set things apart?
  • Leviticus 8 – More ordination stuff. Again, this is not what I remember from my ordination. As my friend Corey LeCureux used to say, “Ordination is just empty hands on empty heads.” I’m not that cynical but I’m closer to that than to appropriate turbans, bulls, breastplates, etc.
  • Leviticus 10 – I’d LOVE to hear some thoughts about this one. His sons burned up? What?!
  • Leviticus 11 – Insects are unclean. I can get behind this law.
  • Leviticus 12 – Let me get this straight…if I woman bears a son, she is unclean for seven days. If she has a daughter, she is unclean for two weeks and must spend sixty-six days of purification? I’m not sure how to comment appropriately.
  • Just read Leviticus 13:40-44…I want to preach on that just once before I retire. Just once, drop the mic, and walk out into the sunset with my bald head held high.
  • Leviticus 15 – And now we’re dealing with bodily discharges? Leave no stone unturned, I guess.
  • Leviticus 17 – I’m a big fan of black pudding when I’m in Scotland. I know, I know, it’s kinda gross when you really think about what it is, but it tastes delicious. I’m going to have to rethink it if I want to stick with this chapter.
  • Leviticus 18 – And now we’re into the sexual laws…more specifically, the laws about sexuality. This is one of the passages used by my sisters and brothers in Christ when discussing the merits of same-sex relationships. In context, I am comfortable recognizing how these types of relationships are different from the ones we are debating in our modern context. Still, this is a great place to start the discussion. Let’s talk about sex with an openness that the Bible does not shy away from. What is a relationship? A marriage? Physical love?Leviticus Haircuts
  • Leviticus 19:32 – Respect the elderly. Nicely put.
  • No Harry Potters in scripture? Leviticus 20:27
  • Leviticus is full of Levitical laws (laws for the priests). If you aren’t a priest, what do you think of these passages?
  • Leviticus 24:13-23 – Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth
  • The end of Leviticus? No better than the end of Exodus. I’m expecting big things, Numbers. Don’t let me down…

Is there an IKEA Tabernacle? – Day 6 – Feb. 6 – 90 Days through the Bible – Exodus 16-28

WAAAAAY More than the Just the 10 Commandments

Day 6 – Exodus 16-28

The 10 commandments? I get those. Laws about blood, animals, and a how to build a 50a73afaa57d9.preview-620tabernacle? Not so much.

We’re starting to get to the tough parts of the Torah and it will get more difficult before it gets easier. I’m not saying these aren’t important things to read, just that they are a bit drier than the narrative stuff we enjoyed in Genesis and early Exodus. I feel like the description of how to build the ark and tabernacle are meant for somebody other than me.

I’m not much of a builder. I’m not one of those guys you would call “handy.” My wife, Rachell, is the one who fixes, makes, and creates all the things in our home. She can swing a hammer, rip out a cabinet, and drywall anything that needs fixing. Me? I want simple, easy to manage instructions. I want the IKEA version of Exodus.

Could you picture that? Some guy scratching his head with all the parts of the tabernacle laid out in front of him?

Could you build an ark with just an allen wrench?

  • Exodus 16-18 have got to be my favorite chapters of the book. Hear me out – I don’t mind the stories about young Moses, the plagues, and the actual Passover. That’s great stuff as well. For me, the manna, water from the rock, and advice from Jethro are at the heart of the journey. This is a turning point for me that is full of lessons, thoughts, ideas, and concepts about humanity and God. In this, we see a God who provides, the greed of communities and individuals, the relationships we have with family, in-laws, and neighbors, and the miracles that astound us. Plus, we have lots of grumbling. Who can’t relate to that? We are a grumbling people and I don’t know if it’s a comfort or just a
  • Quail and manna? Yes, please. Sounds like a well balanced meal if I’ve ever heard it. I’d gladly have a bagel in the morning and some pheasant like dish at night. You wouldn’t hear me grumbling.
  • The first attack. From here on out, there will be a lot of fighting, warring, and destruction on the way to the promised land. This is part of my difficulty with Old Testament language, history, and story-telling. The pacifist in me struggles with the notion that in order for the chosen people to receive theirs, other non-chosen types must necessarily die. It’s so hard to balance these types of passages against the teachings of Jesus. In the meantime, we say a permanent good bye to Amalek.
  • Good advice from Jethro. Looks like Moses just needed an outsider to offer an assessment of the situation. I’m sure Moses already knew how hard it was to manage all the people but it seems like the situation had gotten out of control gradually and by the time Moses wanted to change it, it was too late. A fresh pair of eyes is always good for an organization.
  • Setting limits…I know there are reasons theologians have offered for the rules of consecration but at first glance they seem a bit arbitrary and difficult to comprehend. If I’m struggling, how do children understand the rules we offer for them? I don’t always (ever? j/k) explain to my children the rules because, well, sometimes I just don’t have the time, patience, of inclination. But I expect them to trust me and follow my leadership. This situation doesn’t always play out as smoothly as I’d like, believe it or not.
  • And here come the laws…It’s not that I don’t appreciate them. I just get so bogged down in the law that I have a hard time understanding grace, love, and hope in the midst of the (seemingly) minutia of regulations.
  • Chapter 21 of Exodus begins the idea of places/cities of sanctuary and refuge. What a curious and grace-filled idea. What is our modern equivalent?
  • Who follows these laws?!?! Wow, this is confusing and challenging.
  • Cut and dry verse that isn’t so cut and dry – Exodus 22:18, “You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live.” Glad we’ve got that cleared up.
  • On a more serious note, Exodus 22:21 warns against poorly treating immigrants in your land. We should make sure we remember these verses as closely as the easy ones that justify our already existing behavior. How we treat the foreigner in our land is a theological concept and says something about what we believe.
  • How to build an ark…something I’m not sure I’ll ever need to do, but fascinating info,02-assembly-layout nonetheless.
  • Priestly garments – again, wow. There is a ton of detail in this and I’m not sure I completely understand it all. G— and K—, I’d love to get your interpretations here. This is a tough stretch to read through. Power on, friends. You can do this.